Long Beach Transit (LBT) officials last week announced a partnership with Moovit — a free, global public transportation app for iPhone and Android.
With the app, users can track their bus or train in real time, nearly eliminating the guessing game of, “Is my bus late or did I miss it?”
“It makes planning travel on Long Beach Transit easier, and it includes enhanced tools not only to plan your trip, but that allow us to make the trip easier from start to finish,” said Michael Gold, LBT’s vice president of customer relations and communication.
The partnership means that LBT pays nothing for the app. Instead the app will be promoted by the city as the “official app” of Long Beach Transit, according to Gold.
Moovit is available throughout Los Angeles County. Users can enter their current and desired destinations into the app and choose from a number of available routes to their destination. The app even counts down the minutes to departure, providing users a clear understanding of when their bus or train is arriving, Gold said.
LBT has a trip planner function on its website, but live updates are not available. Instead, users see assigned bus arrival times. But without live updates, a bus or train can be late, and patrons might be left wondering why.
“The app takes out the guessing game,” Gold said. “If your train is late, you’ll know, so at least people can rest easy knowing that they haven’t missed their ride.”
The app’s tracking function uses the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) — a scheduling algorithm designed by Google that’s used to organize routes, times and other transit data at transit agencies around the world. Moovit programmers use that information to design scheduling aggregators that can be easily updated when LBT alters or adds new buses or routes.
For real time reporting, each bus is equipped with a reader that reports back to LBT with the speed and location of the transit vehicle. The app uses this information to provide minute-by-minute updates for its users.
Gold said additions to the app are already in the works, including live alerts and the ability to pay for bus fare through the app, but it’s going to be at least a month before those changes are made live.
In the meantime, LBT is able to provide push notifications in the event that something is impeding traffic, like a car accident or construction. If a bus breaks down or is delayed, users can expect to see updates on that, too.
“We have members who will be updating the app regularly if needed, so when we say ‘real time’ updates, that’s what you can expect to get,” Gold added.
For more information about the Moovit app, or to plan a trip online, go to moovit.com. For more information about Long Beach Transit, go to ridelbt.com.
The Moovit application is available for free through the Apple Store and Google Play.