Solid Early Data On Bus Tracking System

OCEAN CITY — An overview this week of Ocean City’s new “Where’s the Bus?” tracking system for public transportation revealed the system is generating a lot of activity.

The TransLoc Auto Vehicle Locator (AVL) system is essentially an online application for cell phones and other mobile devices that allow riders to track the location of the city’s buses as they make their way up and down Coastal Highway.

During Tuesday’s Transportation Committee meeting, Transportation Department Administrative Manager Brian Connor presented some early data for the new system, which was rolled out on New Year’s Eve. The data included a pie chart showing 1,139 total visitors to the app thus far in 2018 along with the types of devices the users were utilizing including cell phones, other mobile devices and desktop devices. What the data does not show, however, is if the number of hits equates to the number of riders actually getting on the buses.

“Around 1,100 individuals have accessed the system thus far in 2018,” said Connor. “We can look into the data and find out if that many people are using it, or if 11 people used it 100 times.”

Councilman and committee member Tony DeLuca said the data was also not clear on how many people were just checking out the new bus-tracking app out of curiosity and how many were utilizing the system.

“I think we also need to look at hits versus users,” he said. “How many people are just checking it out and how many are actually using it.”

With over 1,100 hits in the deadest months of the year, Connor said he believed the bus-tracking app would be a huge success when the season ramps up.

“I think you’ll see a tidal wave of activity on it this summer,” he said. “We’re really anticipating this being a huge benefit this summer.”

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. The system is expected to increase efficiency and improve the overall experience for riders once the summer season arrives.

Over two months in, the new TransLoc system has already had some down time, according to Connor.

“It’s been having some glitches this week and hasn’t been working correctly for the last four days,” he said. “We’ve been on them because we really need that working properly with St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.”

DeLuca accessed the TransLoc system from his mobile phone at the meeting and found it to be working fine.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.