Visalia unveils high-tech bus tracking system

VISALIA, Calif.

Now a new alert system in Visalia is helping passengers know exactly where their bus is and what time it will arrive at their bus stop.

The program allows people to receive an alert on their computer or smart phone when their bus is 5, 15 or even 30 minutes away. The alerts are based on real time information, not when the bus is scheduled to arrive.

"However long it takes you to walk to your bus stop it will set that alarm for you and you can have it just pop up," Visalia Transit Director Monty Cox explained.

Transit riders in Visalia were excited to hear about the new feature, which relies on GPS tracking. City officials also use GPS system to help them locate buses and determine what percentage of them are on time.

The launching of the new alert system comes when bus ridership in Visalia is at an all-time high. The number of bus passengers has increased nearly 18-percent since last September.

Last month Visalia had the most-ever bus riders in one month since the city first started running buses- more than 155-thousand.

In the last three years the city has doubled the size of its transit center and is offering more routes than ever before.

Cox says riding the bus isn't just for people who don't have access to a car.

"These we call our choice riders, where people who are actually choosing to ride the bus, and we think we're attracting them more by offering them more options of how to get the information," Cox said.

In addition to the new alert system, people can also depend on electronic signs at each bus stop telling people, in real time, how far away their bus is, or find the latest information by calling a toll-free number.

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