New service lets commuters track buses through GPS
Saskatoon transit riders have been given a new website to enhance their riding experience.
The new mobile friendly website saskatoontransit.ca gives its users new and updated technologies, including ideas inspired by transit users.
“Our customers have told us that mobile devices are the preferred technology when connecting to information about our services” said Colleen McKee, communications and marketing manager for Saskatoon transportation and utilities in a news release.
Included with the website is a brand new Twitter account that lets users communicate with the Saskatoon Transit customer service team, who will be ready to tweet back-and-forth with riders weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A part of the new technologies that have been added to the upgrade is a real-time bus locator that is refreshed every 15 seconds, which McKee said could be a revolutionary step for Saskatoon commuters.
“Having access to real-time information has the potential to transform the ridership experience,” said McKee.
The addition of live-updating information is mobile friendly and has a Google Maps interface.
Other user support includes video tutorials on how to access the website’s features. Approximately 85 per cent of buses currently on the road contain this global positioning system hardware, and it will be be installed fully with the new fleet as they are made available for transit services.
“We’re really proud of it,” said Alysha Hille, a marketing manager for Saskatoon Transit, during a Feb. 27 press conference, about the updated technology.
Student reactions to the real-time bus locator section for mobile have been mixed.
“The mobile section wouldn’t load,” said University of Saskatchewan student Konur Erkan, adding that he did not use the Twitter customer service option but that the other mobile sections did work.
Issues with the previous site have been answered despite mobile complications. When asked, students found the old site slow and unreliable.
“I want more efficiency,” said Heba Al-Edreesi, a U of S student who used the website on her cellphone.
“I found the website through the CBC,” said Erkan when discussing general awareness of the site. When interviewing students at the university bus station, most had not heard about the website at all or had yet to visit it.
Alongside the new addition, Saskatoon Transit will be running a promotional offer for residents who use the new site and its trip planner. Prizes include a one-month transit pass and a custom designed t-shirt.
Photo: Kayle Neis