OCEAN CITY — Ocean City’s new mobile, “Where’s the Bus?” tracking system for public transportation is expected to be up and running by New Year’s Eve, one of the most popular time for the town’s municipal bus system.
Earlier this year, the Mayor and Council approved the purchase and implementation of the TransLoc auto vehicle locator (AVL) system, which will allow municipal bus riders to track the location of the next bus heading their way.
The TransLoc system will serve the dual purpose of allowing city transportation officials to track the locations of the resources, while allowing bus riders to access the information from the phones and other mobile devices. The new TransLoc tracking system is ready for an unveiling on one of the busiest days of the year for the municipal bus system.
Mayor Rick Meehan said last week the TransLoc system will reduce the amount of time riders spend waiting for the bus at their particular stops.
“We are continuously exploring ways to improve public transportation in Ocean City, making it an easier and more enjoyable experience for our residents and visitors,” he said. “What know that time is valuable and the TranLoc Rider app gives patrons the ability to know exactly what time the bus will reach them.”
The total cost of the new AVL came in at around $100,000, of which $80,000 was already included in the transportation department’s annual budget. The remaining $20,000 was moved from the town’s general fund. Increased ridership because of the more efficient bus deployments and the mobile app accessible for potential riders would likely offset the cost of purchasing and operating the new AVL system.
Ocean City Communications Director Jessica Waters last week agreed the new TransLoc system will increase efficiency and improve the experience for riders.
“Time is precious and saving time while waiting for the bus is going to be invaluable to our customers,” she said. “It is an exciting enhancement to public transportation in Ocean City.”
Waters explained how the new system offers multiple options for riders.
“While our beach bus is already very convenient to use, this adds to that easy experiences and answers the number one question people have while waiting- ‘where is the bus?’” she said. “The new system allows people to either review real-time service through their mobile device, they may also download the app to view real-time service, or they can use the text feature to view predictions to their specific location.”