Upgraded version of city bus app provides detailed real-time tracking of buses, new alert system

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

In this file photo from Jan. 18, 2016, a Lawrence Transit System bus stops just south of Seventh and Vermont streets.

Riders of the Lawrence bus service can now use their cellphones to track the location of their bus in real time and to notify them when they need to head to their bus stop to catch it.

The city, which coordinates its bus service with the University of Kansas service, recently upgraded its bus app with an improved real-time tracking and notification system, according to a city news release. The upgraded app, My Bus Lawrence, is available for free via the app store for both Apple and Android smartphones.

Lawrence Transit Administrator Bob Nugent said, though the app’s old platform provided some real-time tracking information, new technology on the buses themselves and a different platform for the app provides riders more functionality and more detailed information.

“We have more current technology on the buses in order to do a little bit more with it,” Nugent said.

The app allows riders to select an individual route, multiple routes or all routes to track on a map of the city. Riders can zoom in on the map, which shows buses on the selected routes moving or stopped along city streets in real time. When riders tap on the bus icons or select a route from the menu, they can find out the bus number, direction of travel and how long until the bus arrives at each stop along the route. Riders can save frequently used stops under “favorite stops” and set up alerts to inform them when the bus is a certain number of minutes away from a stop.

Nugent said that, on the old version of the app, riders could not zero in on individual stops or set up arrival alerts.

“You get some more information to make a more educated decision on what you want to do,” Nugent said.

Nugent said the new app also has more functionality on the back end, allowing the bus service to update the routes and notify riders when routes or stops must change due to events such as parades or water line breaks that temporarily close streets. He said the city is also planning to add a function in the next month that will let riders know when a certain bus is at capacity, which happens regularly on some campus routes.

Those who have already downloaded the city’s existing bus service app will need to delete the app and then re-install it to use the new version, according to the release.

Riders can also get similar information via a texting function. Riders can send a text message to 41411 with their bus stop number to receive a reply with the estimated time of arrival of the next bus. Riders need to text the word “trip” and then the bus stop number (with a space in between) to receive the real-time information. Bus stop numbers are displayed on the bus stop sign or can be found on the Lawrence transit website, Lawrencetransit.org/routes.


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