Oakville Transit introduces bus-tracking app


Gone are the days of wondering when the bus will arrive thanks to a new smartphone app from Oakville Transit.

Real-time bus tracking is a unique, GPS data-based feature of the Oakville Transit app, which tells users an estimated arrival time for their location and bus route.

Using location services on their smartphones, users are provided with arrival predictions, route maps, stop locations, and schedules for all Oakville Transit buses.

Screenshot of the Oakville Transit app displaying estimated arrival times for bus routes 1 and 24 to Sheridan College. (Photo by Jessica Roveda/The Sheridan Sun)

Screenshot of the Oakville Transit app displaying estimated arrival times for bus routes 1 and 24 to Sheridan College. (Photo by Jessica Roveda/The Sheridan Sun)

In addition to the app, Oakville Transit has installed large digital signs at four transit stops — Oakville GO, Bronte GO, Sheridan College and Uptown Core, all of which display route-tracking information via text on a screen.

Using the app allows for anyone not taking a bus from any of those stops to receive the same information.

“I think it’s pretty handy if [the app and sign] works,” said Sheridan student James Whiteman, while waiting for his bus to arrive. “I don’t know yet if it actually works, but we’ll have to see when the bus comes.”

The Bachelor of Film and Television student put the digital sign to the test for the first time while waiting for the 1 Uptown Core, which came while the sign listed it to arrive in two minutes.

Whiteman has not downloaded the app, but said it was something he would consider downloading, especially after the sign’s prediction proved to be accurate.

Whiteman believes the app and signs are useful, but he also says that printed schedules should be kept in the display case in case of technical difficulties.

Oakville is leading the way as the only municipality in Halton Region to have its own bus-tracking service.

“Transit customers are going to love the convenience of having real-time tracking information at their fingertips,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton in a press release. “This new technology will help you get to where you need to go without wasting time or wondering when your bus will arrive.”

Possible delays have also been taken into consideration when it comes to the app’s prediction accuracy, as times will automatically adjust depending on the buses’ location to inform users of any additional wait times.

Users can also sign up to receive personalized bus information alerts in the form of emails or text message notifications.

For those without smartphones, or those who prefer a minimal experience, Oakville Transit also has a “Track By Text” feature that allows users to text their bus stop number to a special phone number to receive an estimated arrival time.

The app, Track By Text and digital signs are part of Oakville Transit’s Intelligent Transportation Services, which aims to provide riders an easier and accessible experience.

Plans to develop the app for accessibility purposes was first mentioned in the Town of Oakville Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2012-2017.

“The accessibility features offered by this new system put us well ahead of meeting the compliance dates for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,” said director of Oakville Transit Barry Cole in a press release. “We’re very excited to offer new tools and service enhancements that will benefit all our customers.”

The app can be downloaded through the App store on Apple devices, and Google Play for Android devices.

More information on the app and real-time bus tracking can be found on Oakville Transit’s website.