Many people rely on the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) for their daily commute and getting around Louisville. Riding TARC saves commuters money, stress and wear-and-tear on their personal vehicles as well as helping the environment. Current regular adult fares are $1.75 and include a two-hour transfer. With recent high gas prices, it is easy to see why many people take advantage of Louisville’s public transit system (check out the gas savings calculator). Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks about the transit system is the schedule. TARC schedules are available online and posted at many stops around town. Buses, however, do not always show up at their scheduled time.
There are many reasons a bus is late throughout the day: heavy traffic, accidents, breaks downs, etc. Waiting for a late bus when you are on a schedule can be quite frustrating when you have no idea when, or if, it will show up. In the past, finding out where a late bus was meant calling the TARC phone number, which is posted on all bus stop signs, waiting for someone to answer and asking about your bus. I personally have waited up to 45 minutes for a bus that was running late (on a route that is supposed to run every 15 minutes!) and have been on hold with customer service for upwards of 15 minutes trying to find a “missing” bus.
The good news? TARC has being catching up with technology. TARC announced in January that real-time bus information will be available through Google Maps and their own Trip Planner. The press release says that it is viewed best on a desktop computer and that they are challenging local mobile app developers to design a program that is phone friendly. When a user loads their current location and destination into Google Maps, there is, in small print underneath the directions, that says “Live Transit Time”.
Even more helpful for commuters on the go is the mobile integration. If you have a smartphone with Google Now, which is available on Android and iOS systems, you can get schedule information sent directly to your phone. Google Now has a setting to receive nearby bus stop information. It uses your phone’s GPS function to locate you, then it brings up the information for the nearest bus stop. This information includes all of the buses scheduled to stop there in the next 30 minutes as well as how far behind schedule they may be.
Now riders can spend less time standing around the bus stop and more time doing what they need to do.