The app works on several devices including iPhones, Androids computers and tablets. Color codes indicate on-time, late or early buses in green, blue and red characters, respectively. TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO
TAMPA — Starting Monday, HART bus riders will be able to use their smartphones to answer the question: “Where’s my bus?” The free OneBusAway application will show the arrival time for the next bus at all Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority stops. It also could draw new riders, based on early studies of usage in a handful of cities that indicate some consumers appreciate the additional convenience of real-time information. Tampa will join Chicago, New York and Seattle, where University of Washington students created OneBusAway in 2008 to provide passengers the same information available to bus dispatchers through GPS data for the past decade.
Advancements in smartphone apps resolved the longstanding challenge of how to deliver the information to passengers. The University of South Florida’s Center For Urban Transportation Research and Georgia Tech University helped refine the project for use in Tampa, where HART has tested it since this spring. HART patrons on Monday can visit goHART.org for OneBusAway application access and download instructions. “Basically it will be accessible on iPhones, Androids and it seamlessly interfaces with Web-enabled devices such as computers and tablets,” HART spokeswoman Sandra Morrison said. Downloading OneBusAway Tampa begins with tapping a “My Location” icon and a map of the Tampa area appears on the screen, plus graphics that show all the active stops. A tap on the bus icon produces its estimated time of arrival, based on GPS technology that shows the bus location and speed to send near-instantaneous details on arrival information. Display features include the predicted departure time and the number of minutes until departure for a selected stop. Color codes indicate on-time, late or early buses in green, blue and red characters, respectively, while black numbers indicate no real-time information is available and the scheduled arrival time is shown instead. A HART survey earlier this year found that more than half of 400 respondents indicated real-time information about bus locations and arrival times could increase the number of trips people might take. Other research has found that transit riders with access to such information perceive their wait time to be about 30 percent shorter than riders who do not have access to that information, a report by USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research indicated. firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7817