Tri States Public Radio Staff
Sun December 6, 2009
MCPT Launches GPS Bus Tracking
Macomb, IL – McDonough County Public Transportation is leaping into the 21st century Monday. Passengers are now able to track busses via GPS in real-time. They're also able to send text messages to get bus schedule information.
Go West Director Jude Kiah says customers are able to download an application for home computers that tracks the busses as they move along their routes in real time. Each bus is represented by a colored dot corresponding to the route color.
Users can also access a web-based application on internet-ready cell phones. The colored dots won't travel in real time, but the maps can be refreshed frequently.
Go West is also soft-launching "Route-Shout." This allows passengers to text message a code to the program to find out when the next three busses are scheduled to arrive at the stop. Codes will be assigned to every bus stop in Macomb and placed on each sign.
Kiah says Monday's introduction is a soft launch, designed to work out the kinks and allow users to become acclimated to the system. It will allow Go West to develop program instructions. The systems will be fully launched when Western students return from winter break in January.
Kiah says these types of programs are common in metropolitan areas, but almost unheard of in rural areas.
He says it's only going to cost about $5,000 to operate this year, money which will come from Go West's operating budget. Kiah expects it to remain as fiscally solvent, if not more so, in the coming years.
To listen to the full interview with Go West director Jude Kiah, click play on the audio button above.