NextBus: Making Public Transit Less Miserable

guelph nextbus example image

Screen shot of display; see it in real time here

TreeHugger loves public transit; next to bikes, it is the low carbon way to get around. But it is not perfect by any means, and waiting for a bus can be boring or aggravating when you are on a tight schedule. With more traffic on the road, it is difficult for buses to keep to the exact schedule, and one never quite knows when to leave home or how long you have to wait.

We learned from Worldchanging about NextBus, a system where GPS equipped buses send a signal to their computers where they calculate the time until the bus arrives, and delivers the message to riders via computer, cell phone or text message, or can be posted on an electronic sign at the stop. (See also Planet Green here)

nextbus diagram image

Noting that the system is used in Guelph, Ontario, I asked daughter Emma, who attends University there, if she had used the system. She said:

"It's wonderful. You can look at your computer to decide when you need to leave your apartment to get to the bus stop just before the bus arrives. I often forget to do this, but when you are at the bus stop there is a number to call; they ask you to enter a four-digit code and then tell you exactly how long it will be before the bus pulls up to the corner."

Time evidently goes much faster when you know how long the wait will be. Also, often the buses are really full, but you don't want to wait for the next one where you might get a seat. However, if you knew it was only two minutes behind, you might just.

This is the kind of use of technology that I love- mash GPS and cellphones with old-school public transit and you add a new level of convenience and comfort. Why isn't everyone doing it? ::NextBus via ::Worldchanging
More on Better Buses:
Stop Waiting for Public Transit by Using NextBus
Bikes + Buses in Chicago
NYC Announces Five Bus Rapid Transit Routes
Finding True Love on Public Transit: Bus Bet Leads to Marriage ...
Free Hybrid Electric Buses at Tokyo's Haneda Airport

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