Ever since the Corvallis Transit System replaced individual fares with a monthly city services tax in early 2011, ridership has increased by 40% to approximately 1.1 million riders per year. While it’s wonderful that more people are taking public transportation, the result has been rampant tardiness and an apparent lack of any sort of bus schedule whatsoever. In order to remedy that, last fall the CTS launched a real-time bus schedule application.
All you need to use it is Internet access, and it also works on smartphones. Simply go to http://www.corvallistransit.com/mybus, where a drop-down menu will show a map of Corvallis’ bus stops, the app itself, timetables for every route, and that includes service alerts. Enter the number for the stop you need and the app will tell you when the next bus will get there (as well as what route it is).
According to Tim Bates, the Transit Coordinator for Public Works, ridership had remained steady since the app launched. The lack in increase is attributed to fewer people riding the bus due to the inclement weather we have had this winter. As of February, there are around 211 daily users. Feedback has been positive so far, with the usual kinks and bugs being worked out as more and more people use it.
“CTS has heard from many passengers who have come to rely on the real-time information on a daily basis,” Bates said. Advocate staff found the new CTS app straightforward and accurate as to updating arrival times.
The app cost $500,000 to build, with approximately 90% coming from a federal grant and the City providing the rest. An advertising campaign for the app inside buses and on bus shelters was funded by the CTS and another $14,000 marketing campaign, this one funded by OSU and aimed at increasing ridership within the university community, is expected to roll out soon.
According to Bates, this app is just step one of a larger project, and even more coming features, including automated onboard audio and text announcements and automatic passenger counting. So far, the City’s efforts to make riding public transportation easier seem to be working.
by Catherine Stevens