Hallelujah: RTD Launches Real Time Data on Local Bus Routes

transit app rtd
Image: Screenshot

It’s been a long, long time coming. We’re talking years. But today RTD announced that transit riders can finally track their buses in real time.

Before you get too excited, there are some caveats. The real-time data only works on local buses; RTD will launch the service for express and regional routes later this year, said RTD spokesperson Scott Reed. Same with RTD’s rail lines.

Transit App is the first third-party company to have live bus information in Denver. It allows users to see when the next three buses are coming, and the best way to get from A to B (including B-Cycle). Users can still see when trains and non-local buses are supposed to arrive and depart, but that information is based on static schedules. Reed said that Google Maps and other apps will tap into the data in the coming weeks.

“We’re excited to be rolling out the full service in the next year,” Reed said. Further work on the system’s back end is holding up comprehensive real-time transit information, which will take a back seat to bigger projects this year, like readying four new rail lines, according to Reed.

Still, this announcement is huge. If Denver is going to become a less car-oriented city, using transit has to be easy.

Static schedule information is undependable and inconvenient, which scares people off. (There’s nothing worse than watching your bus fly by because you’re running late, except maybe watching your bus fly by because its early.) Real-time information allows people more flexibility, saves time, and makes riding a bus in Denver less of a gamble.

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