Big Blue Bus pilots predictive crowding levels for all lines in Transit app
March 15, 2021 9:01 AM
Santa Monica, CA – Big Blue Bus announces a three month pilot of historical crowding information for all lines – available in its official app, Transit.
This feature uses recent passenger count data to share crowding predictions for buses, which will help riders make informed decisions about trip planning and physical distancing. Crowding predictions are calculated by Transit’s engineers using regularly-updated ridership trend data from Big Blue Bus. Previously available on a few select buses, historical crowding predictions are now available for all Big Blue Bus lines in this pilot.
Thousands of Big Blue Bus riders regularly use Transit to plan their trips. Several global studies have found that when masks are mandatory, as they are for Big Blue Bus and all transit services nationwide, riding public transit carries a relatively low risk for COVID-19 transmission. That risk is further reduced when physical distancing between riders is possible.
Big Blue Bus is committed to providing an informative and easy-to-use service, and its partnership with Transit provides passengers with the tools they need to practice safe physical distancing.
When users tap their line in Transit, they see a map showing the real-time locations of buses along their route. Now, the vehicle icon shows not just the last update of the vehicle's location, but also its predicted crowding level. Big Blue Bus regularly shares stop-by-stop ridership stats with Transit, whose team processes the data to make predictions in the app showing each vehicle’s capacity level over the course of its route, depending on the time of day.
Riders also have the ability to report the current passenger bus loads for their trip in real time, providing another useful data set for sharing crowding information. Updates from riders using the “GO” step-by-step navigator appear for 10 minutes in the app and temporarily replace crowding predictions based on ridership trends. These crowdsourced reports, when taken together, are used to validate Transit’s capacity predictions based on automated passenger counter (APC) data from Big Blue Bus.
Big Blue Bus is among the first of Transit’s 75 agency partners to integrate data-driven crowding predictions. The feature was originally developed in partnership with LA Metro, which launched the feature with Transit in August 2020. For Big Blue Bus, four of every five capacity predictions in Transit have proven accurate when compared with actual ridership data.
“We are excited to offer this new feature as a pilot to our customers, to help limit crowding and ensure to a safe return of riders back to our system,” says Ed King, Director of Transit Services at Big Blue Bus. “We have reimagined our service to further protect customers and staff during the pandemic, and providing crowding information through Transit is yet another resource that customers can leverage to make informed decisions about when to ride transit safely.”
“This kind of information is a huge step in helping riders feel confident getting on the bus. And not just during the pandemic: it also makes a big difference if you use a wheelchair, you’re carrying big luggage or you just want to feel more comfortable,” says David Block-Schachter, Chief Business Officer at Transit. “Even after the pandemic, this new feature will benefit Big Blue Bus riders. It’s been great to partner with an agency that’s taking the lead on improving the rider experience.”
For a press kit, including additional visuals, visit www.transitapp.com/press.
Customer Experience Manager
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About BBB: Big Blue Bus operates a fleet of 189 vehicles transporting passengers daily across a 58-square mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, the agency added its first zero-emissions bus in 2019. The rest of the fleet operates on other alternative fuels, including renewable natural gas (RNG), a form of liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), which helps cut emissions by up to 90 percent. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its marketing, customer service, safety, and efficiency.
About Transit: Transit solves the urban commute in more than 200 cities worldwide. Users can easily navigate public transit with accurate real-time predictions, simple trip planning, step-by-step navigation and quick, easy payments. The app also integrates additional transport modes — bikesharing, scooters, carsharing and ridehail — so users can mix-and-match their options with public transit to determine the best way to get from A to B. The company is based in Montréal, QC. Learn more by visiting www.transitapp.com.