The partnership will make available real-time updates on the status of the region’s 447 transit vehicles through GPS tracking tied into Google Maps.
The GPS will let riders access status updates, taking into account traffic and weather, as well as informing riders of any delays.
“We want to bring YRT/Viva a lot closer and make sure the integration is the best,” said town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson.
Emmerson, who is Chair of York Region’s Transportation Services Committee, said the partnership had been at the forefront of their plans for months.
With nearly 73,000 passengers a week, according to YRT/Viva’s website, the hope is that allowing passengers to track the status of the buses will create a more streamlined travel experience, getting riders from one place to the next with less hassle.
Simon South, a software developer and the blogger behind York Transit website RideYork.ca, said YRT/Viva has many opportunities to make the system more simple and effective.
“One simple thing that YRT hasn’t really done yet is give riders an easy way to get transit information on a mobile phone,” said South.
Because the software Google uses is “open data,” it will allow for development of applications, something South thinks would be a simple and effective improvement for the transit service.
South is developing the software himself, and has completed most of the work already.
“My hope is to have a basic version of the web application launched by the end of October,” he said.
Dillon Clarence, 20, a third-year business administration student, takes transit to and from school each day, and said that his transit experience would be improved by the integration of a similar system into the TTC.
“You could plan when to leave school, you could get extra sleep, instead of just standing here,” said Clarence, adding that he experiences transit delays all the time.
Clarence also said an app like the one South is developing for the YRT/Viva would make riding the TTC much more efficient.