Where’s My Bus? Check Your Phone

Up-to-minute arrival times to be published online

Everett Lansdale Stabbing

Starting July 1, Metrobus riders won't be left standing at the bus stop wondering when the next bus will come.  At least, that's what Metro is hoping when they relaunch their real-time bus arrival system.

NextBus technology, which uses the global positioning system and computer modeling to track buses on their routes every two minutes, will cover all 355 Metrobus routes and all of the more than 1,500 buses in the fleet -- i.e., approximately 12,000 bus stops in the Metro area, according to The Washington Post.

Riders will be able to find out where their bus is within 60 seconds of a NextBus scan by checking online, via their phone or electronic signs at various high-volume bus terminals.  (Kind of like the freeway signs in "L.A. Story" -- except these ones won't read your mind and talk back to you.)

The multi-million dollar system is supposed to factor in things such as the day of the week, whether it's rush hour, or if school is in session, but it's not expected to be 100 percent accurate.  The Wash Post reports the system could also be thrown off by snowstorms, road closures and detours. 

(That's when we turn to the Weather Channel and Google Maps, and pray that we've got a sheltered stop -- or can slug a ride to work with someone who knows every DC area road shortcut out there.)

Rob Kramer, the Metro information technology manager responsible for NextBus, told the Post that the system's rollout was delayed two years ago because of inadequate computer capacity at Metro, obsolete databases that didn't include accurate bus stop locations and buses with failing GPS antenna batteries. 

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