TransLink partners with popular Transit app to show empty bus seat predictions

Aug 4 2021, 7:13 pm

A relatively small change on the existing Transit app could make a huge difference for Metro Vancouver bus passengers moving forward.

TransLink has partnered with the app company to add a new feature that shows how many seats are likely to be available onboard. The app already provides the real-time location of a bus, but passengers will now see three people-shaped symbols that indicate whether there are many seats available, some seats, or standing room only on the bus at that time.

Bus capacity predictions are shown on the app after clicking on the route you would like to view. A one-person icon shows over 50% of the seats are available, the two-person icon shows 10% to 50%, and a three-person icon shows less than 10% or standing room only.

While other app features are real-time, this passenger load indicator is an estimate based on historic ridership data.

transit app translink

Real-time info for TransLink’s Route 319 showing bus capacity estimates. (TransLink/Transit)

“As our customers continue returning to transit, this new feature will help them confidently know if they’ll get a seat before leaving home,” said TransLink’s new CEO, Kevin Quinn, in a statement.

“This is one more initiative we are offering to help enhance the customer experience and make transit an even more attractive option.”

David Block-Schachter, the chief business officer of the Transit app, says the new capacity predictions will help TransLink passengers feel confident when they get on board and provide useful information for anyone in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, or carrying luggage.

“The key to this partnership between TransLink and Transit is that both teams are focused on figuring out how technology can improve the everyday rider experience,” said Block-Schachter.

The transit app is available for free on both iPhone and Android smartphones. It provides real-time transit info for the public transit systems of hundreds of cities in 16 countries.

This feature was added to the company’s app interface in Metro Vancouver as a result of TransLink’s 2020 Open Call for Innovation, which sought proposals from businesses, academia, and other organizations on ways cleanliness and health safety on public transit could be improved.

TransLink also launched the 2021 Open Call for Innovation today, calling for ideas on how the public transit system can be easier to use for diverse rider groups as travel patterns change this year and beyond.

This includes ideas to simplify passengers’ experience when boarding vehicles, ways to measure and predict passenger flow through stations, and other ideas to help ease their experience on transit.

The 2021 Open Call for Innovation submission period ends on September 7, 2021.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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