July 18, 2013 3:52 pm
Updated: July 18, 2013 7:42 pm

Edmonton Transit going more high-tech

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EDMONTON – If you’ve ever had to wait for a bus in the freezing cold, not knowing if or when it’ll finally arrive, you may appreciate some new technology being introduced by Edmonton Transit.

The Smart Bus technology allows the ETS Control Centre to see where a bus is in real-time – something that, until now, has not been the case in Edmonton.

Not only will the tool allow workers to detour a bus if a situation on the street warrants it, but commuters will also be able to track the bus they’re waiting for.

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“Through their smartphones or their computers at home, they’ll be able to link into that system and go ‘you know what, my bus is running 11 minutes late, it’s 25 below out there, I’m not going to go out there stand waiting for that bus…because I can see it on the system, explains Malcolm Hodgson, superintendant of Edmonton Transit.

Unfortunately, of the 900 buses in Edmonton’s fleet, only 45 have been equipped with the technology as part of the $3.4 million phase one of what is a three-phase project.

That will cover two of Edmonton bus routes: route 111, which runs between West Edmonton Mall, Jasper Place and Downtown as well as route 128, which goes from University to Westmount, Calder and Castle Downs.

According to ETS, “the objective was to target ridership that is tech-savvy initially. The routes both serve post-secondary institutions. Route 111 serves MacEwan University and Route 128 serves the University of Alberta.”

The real-time technology is being rolled out this summer, with the goal of commuters being able to access it by September.

Nine more buses are scheduled to get the Smart Bus technology by the end of this year. Hodgson’s ultimate goal is to see the city’s entire fleet using Smart Bus technology in three years.

“It’s all budget dependent,” says Hodgson. “The more money we get towards the system, the more routes we can implement that system on.”

With files from Shane Jones, Global News

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