Valley Metro goes with NextRide
Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ, has taken the guess work out of arrival times for its buses and light rail. The agency is installing new NextRide signs at each of its 7,465 bus stops and light rail stations through January 2012. The Valley Metro Customer Service says its call center receives more than 8,000 calls per day, with 55 percent of those questions on next bus or train arrival times.
Using GPS technology, NextRide is simple to use for anyone at a stop with a cell phone or Internet access. Texting or calling, the passenger enters the unique stop identification number and receives the next arrival time at that stop. A web page dedicated to this passenger feature provides stop locator information at www.valleymetro.org/nextride.
Funding for this service enhancement was provided by a federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant and regional public transportation funds from the countywide half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2004.
Installation began in early August with signs installed for stops on Route 3 beginning at the Phoenix Zoo and traveling westward. Installation should be complete by January. Valley Metro says passengers are currently using the system by going to the website and using the stop ID locator on the NextRide page or the Valley Metro trip planner page.
Other transit systems having this type of automated communication system include San Francisco Muni, Washington, D.C. Metro, Los Angeles Metro, New Jersey Transit, Denver RTD and Tri-Met in Portland.