Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CTA Bus Tracker Amazes

The CTA gets a lot of bad press and some of it's warranted, but in our opinion it's usually not. So when they do something right, we feel it's our job to applaud. The CTA Bus Tracker deserves this recognition and praise.

One of our oldest gripes with public transportation is the unreliability of their so called 'schedules'. In the past trains were the most reliable since they operate on tracks solely devoted for their purpose. Bus schedules obviously depend on traffic and as most Chicagoans know...good luck figuring that conundrum out.

However, the new bus tracker system helps to alleviate this problem. The system has been rolled out slowly, starting with a couple test routes, but seems to be well received by all parties involved. Recently, many routes that service the South Loop have been added to the system and upon our tests, it's truly a great and useful technology.

Below is the web based version which shows you a variety of features (ranging from the route of each bus, where it is on the route, when it will get to your desired stop, and so on):
So great, that's helpful if you're on a computer at home or at work, but what if you're out and about enjoying the Chi. Don't fret because there is a mobile version which isn't quite as simple or user friendly, but after some practice just as convenient.

Although we've only been using the bus tracker for a couple of weeks, it's honestly improved our commuting experience. You probably don't hear that from CTA commuters very often!

However, one question remains, why can't they do the same thing for the El trains? It seems like it should be easy if they've been able to roll this technology out to hundreds of buses, right?

Regardless, congrats to the CTA for a useful and consumer centric improvement to the system!

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