Riders will be able to track RTA buses via smartphones

Waiting too long at a bus stop for your ride to show up — or missing a ride — could soon become a forgotten annoyance around Dayton.

A new GPS technology upgrade will allow Greater Dayton RTA bus riders to track exact arrival times via smartphones. The service is on target to start in the fall, some time before December.

RTA said the real-time system will let customers log on to an RTA Ride Time smartphone app to see what time the next three buses will arrive.

Before the system is up and ready, all 3,300 bus stops will have to be numbered in the RTA’s service area. That will take time, said Tracey Hanlin Rohr of RTA. Testing for the system is being done now.

Installation and more testing will take place this summer. RTA is posting updates about the system on its Facebook page.

“As you can imagine, it will take a long time to put four-digit numbers on 3,300 bus stops,” Hanlin Rohr said. “We are trying to focus on the customers here.”

There’s a texting option, too. By texting RTA, a rider can get the status of when the next bus will arrive. RTA said that through RTA RideTime, customers also will be able to locate RTA buses on an interactive map.

Agency dispatchers and supervisors will be able to see where a bus is located and communicate with the driver to relay sudden detours or necessary re-routes.

Another RTA upgrade — high-definition cameras aboard the buses — is in operation. The $3.1 million system allows dispatch and security personnel to observe bus activity in real time. The cameras were installed on all 181 fixed route and 75 para-transit buses.

The public will be able to get a look at the new systems Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dayton’s Courthouse Square.

RTA is inviting people who don’t use the buses to give them a try. The agency is offering a limited number of seven-day passes to visitors who pledge to try transit for a week and then take a survey about their experience.

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