Octa's transportation blog

Real-time Info Helps Riders with OC Bus Capacity

This article originally appeared in Forward Motion, the Mobility 21 newsletter

Passengers on OC Bus can now see in real time from the convenience of their mobile device whether their bus has enough available seats for them to ride, another important safety measure during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) launched this innovative real-time occupancy data feature in partnership with the Transit app at the start of September. OCTA is one of 38 agencies worldwide offering bus capacity information via the Transit app.

OC Bus riders can download the free Transit app to help plan their bus trip, to see where their bus is currently running on the route, and – for the first time – receive information on how full the bus is.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, OCTA is limiting the number of passengers on buses to allow for physical distancing of at least six feet, when possible. The guideline is for a regular 40-foot bus to carry no more than 15 passengers, and a 60-foot bus up to 20 passengers.

With the Transit app, those waiting for a bus can get information showing that a particular bus has “many seats (less than one-third full), “some seats” (less than two-thirds full), or “very limited seats” (more than two-thirds full), as the bus approaches their location.

“The health of our passengers and employees has always been our priority and the addition of information about bus capacity gives our OC Bus riders another important tool to help them travel intelligently and safely, especially during these difficult times,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.

OCTA’s automated passenger counting (APC) system, for years the tool to track ridership numbers throughout the bus system, is being used to communicate current capacity information through the Transit app.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating public health crisis that has been a catalyst for OCTA to examine all of our operations closely from a health and safety perspective,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “Exploring and implementing technology solutions is one more way to improve the travel experience for essential workers and others who depend upon transit.”

The addition of real-time capacity data is the latest safety measure OCTA is taking during the ongoing public health crisis. Other measures have included, enhanced bus cleanings, temporary rear-door boardings, onboard hand sanitizers, requiring passengers to wear face coverings, and a pilot program that has helped distribute more than 17,000 free face coverings to riders who need them.

The real-time information is only available via the Transit app for now. It can be downloaded for free at the App Store or on Google Play. Once downloaded, riders can tap on a specific route for a “route detail view,” then tap on the bus icon itself for current capacity information for a particular bus on the route. More information is available at www.transitapp.com.

For more information on OCTA’s bus system, visit www.OCBus.com

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