Where's the Dang Bus?!

Metro re-launching Next Bus system

Come July, Metro is moving past those ridiculous "schedules" posted at bus stops, and they are as excited about it as you should be.

To celebrate the July 1 re-launch of the Next Bus system, Metro is posting Next Bus signs at more than 12,000 stops in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The round red, white and blue signs include the bus stop's number and the phone number to call to find out when the next bus should be arriving.

So how in the world does this little psychic friend track down those delinquent vehicles? With that tarot of technology, of course: global positioning satellites! Computer modeling and GPS combine to track buses every two minutes and make an estimate based on the position of the bus, the stops it has to make and typical traffic patterns, Metro said. Pretty soon we won't even need bus drivers.

Predictions should be accurate to within several minutes due to traffic and weather conditions. Compared to those schedules printed God knows when, we'll be much happier waiting 35 minutes as long as we KNOW we're not going to see a bus for at least a half hour.

You don't have to have a phone to use Next Bus. You can also go to Metro's website to get the estimates. And some very special bus stops will have electronic signs to tell you just how very long you have to wait.

Just like a Metrorail station.

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