By Callam Rodya
Two new initiatives this year will be changing the way transit operates in the City of Greater Sudbury.
The first is a new real-time online information system for transit users. Using their computers or web-enabled mobile devices, riders will be able to go online and access up-to-the-minute information on bus arrivals and departures, as well as locations.
According to Roger Sauvé, Sudbury’s director of transit, who announced the new changes at a transit committee meeting on Feb. 14 at Tom Davies Square, the new information system goes far beyond the currently available information on bus schedules and routes.
“It’s going to be real-time,” said Sauvé. “As you refresh your web browser or your phone, it will let you know exactly to the minute what time the bus is going to get to your stop.”
The new online initiative is currently undergoing testing. Because it is a web-based service, neither taxpayers nor riders will see a rise in the cost of transit services. The transit committee hopes to have the service up and running and available to users within two months.
Sauvé believes providing transit riders instant access to real-time information about bus routes will improve the city’s service.
“It will change the way people take transit in the city,” he said. “You can be in the mall and check exactly what time your bus is going to be at your stop.”
The second initiative announced by Sauvé at the committee meeting is the addition of seven new low-riding transit buses that he said would bring the entire transit fleet to total wheelchair accessibility.
“Right now, our Handi-Transit system is busting at the seams,” said Sauvé. “There’s a lot of people on it and it’s an expensive service to run.”
He hopes the new buses will take some of the pressure off the Handi-Transit program.
“On every route we’re going to have a low floor accessible bus,” he said. “It will have a big impact on the way people can travel with accessibility.”
The Feb. 14 transit committee meeting was the first held since the 2010 Municipal Election.