COTA to Roll Out Real-time Tracking Next Week
COTA plans to roll out real-time tracking at the end of next week, a feature that will allow riders to use a smart phone to see where their bus is for the first time.
“On Friday, May 6, COTA will begin providing real-time information to customers through Transit App,” said COTA Public and Media Relations Manager Lisa Myers. “The same day, we plan to make the COTA real-time data package available on our website for developers who want to integrate real-time in to their own app or program.”
Myers added that work to integrate the real-time data into COTA’s website is ongoing, and that the hope is to launch an online real-time feature by early summer.
That would actually mark the second time that information was available to the public — in 2006 riders could track buses on cota.com, but the feature was abandoned because of concerns about reliability.
Since then, COTA has struggled to implement any type of real-time service. A plan that was announced in 2013 was delayed after a long string of setbacks and issues with the accuracy of the product provided by the vendor, Trapeze Group.
JM Rayburn, of advocacy group Forge Columbus, expressed excitement that the long-awaited service is now being rolled out.
“Real-time tracking for COTA is a much-welcomed addition to service, which elevates transit as a travel option,” he said. “We must continue to support COTA’s efforts to expand and improve the rider experience as such opportunities present themselves.”
Forge Columbus recently published a framework plan that lays out a multitude of ideas – including real-time tracking – for improving transit and transportation in the region.