Beginning tomorrow, TTC customers using the Rocketman and Transit mobile apps will have access to real-time bus passenger count information to help them better plan trips.
Working in partnership with those app developers, the TTC will provide them with secure data streams from NextBus that will then be translated into an easy-to-read, three-tier notification system using one, two or three 'person' icons.
Customers will see the following measurements in the app:
- Not Busy: One icon, 0-30% of capacity (up to 15 people on a standard bus, 23 on an articulated bus)
- Busy: Two icons, 30-80% of capacity (15 to 40 customers on a standard bus, 23-54 on an articulated bus)
- Very Busy: Three icons, Greater than 80% of capacity (more than 40 customers on a standard bus, more than 54 on an articulated bus)
Standard buses hold approximately 51 people while articulated buses hold 77.
"This new feature will go a long way to helping customers feel safe on our bus network and helping riders feel comfortable when riding the TTC," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. "By providing volume data, the TTC is giving our riders an extremely useful tool to use when planning their trips on our bus system."
For the time being, the feature is only available for TTC buses as it is the only fleet fully equipped with the passenger count technology.
"We know our bus network is unique in the challenges it faces at this time," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "The vehicles are smaller than our other modes and serve high density parts of the City where many people are working in essential front-line jobs. These apps will give customers valuable information to assess their own comfort while planning and taking trips."
This information feature will be available for the next two or three buses approaching a stop depending on scheduled headways between vehicles. Routes with more frequent bus service will have capacity information for more vehicles.
The information offered through these apps is intended only as a guideline and relies on data outside the TTC's control that, while rare, can be delayed getting to the apps potentially causing inaccurate readings. The TTC reminds customers that actual bus loads can change quickly as passengers board and exit vehicles, particularly at busy stops. Customers are advised to continue to use their own discretion when deciding to board a vehicle.
The TTC has endeavoured to deploy extra service on routes where buses are more than half full. Currently, more than 90 per cent of all bus trips are less than half full but actual volumes will vary by route. The TTC is currently deploying all available resources to its bus network and in 2021 has increased scheduled service beyond 2020 levels.
The TTC is also looking to partner with other app developers, bringing the feature to more customers in the future. The Rocketman and Transit apps are available for iOS on the Apple App Store and for Android devices on Google Play Store.