Riders can track buses with U system's new technology

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2012 - 6:05 PM

New technology on the fleet will allow riders to use computers and mobile devices to learn when buses will arrive and depart.

Starting Tuesday when classes begin at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus, students, faculty and staff members who use the Campus Connector bus system will have access to real-time information to find out when their buses will arrive and depart.

New technology on the university's bus fleet will allow riders to use their computers and mobile devices to learn when the next three buses at their stop are expected to arrive.

The Campus Connector is a free shuttle service that runs between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. The campus bus system also has smaller mini-buses that circulate within specific areas on each campus. In all, 24 buses and mini-buses are outfitted with the technology.

Signs at each bus stop will include a unique stop number and a Quick Response (QR) code that will allow riders with smartphones with free QR mobile scanning apps to get information on arrival times. Riders also can text the word "umnbus" and their stop number to 41411 to get the predicted arrival time of the next three buses, or they can call 763-567-2453., enter the two-digit stop number and listen to automated information.

The new technology will also allow riders to log on to a website (www.umn.edu/pts) to see a map that will show the location of all buses on campus. They'll be able to click on a link for any of the stops and find out when the next two buses will arrive at that stop. A few stops also will have electronic boards that list the scheduled arrival time of the next bus. The service is similar to Metro Transit's NexTrip, which allows riders to get real-time departures information.

The university's Parking and Transportation Services collaborated with the Minnesota Student Association to bring the service to campus. More than 3.7 million riders use the campus bus system each year, according to the University of Minnesota News Service.

Tim Harlow • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @timstrib

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