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BC Transit rolling out big digital changes on buses in 2024

Info displays inside all heavy-duty & high-capacity buses | Use the app (desktop tool will only use Google maps starting Jan 16, 2024)

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BC Transit bus in Victoria [File photo - April 2023 | Island Social Trends]

Wednesday December 20, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

BC Transit is reminding Victoria Regional Transit System customers that starting on January 15, 2024, new Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) hardware will be installed on all buses that operate conventional transit service.

New digital full-colour passenger information displays will also be installed inside all heavy-duty and high-capacity buses.

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Route 50 serves Langford/Downtown. [Island Social Trends / file photo: Jan 2022]

These displays will offer trip information to passengers including multiple upcoming stops, current route, and service alerts. 

The NextRide technology replacement will help provide increased certainty, convenience and bus predictability for transit customers, said BC Transit in a news release today.

No service interruptions:

No service interruptions are expected during the replacement process.

Riders will continue to have the ability to use smart mobile devices and desktop services to see the real-time location of their bus along its route and its predicted arrival time at an identified stop.

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Desktop trip planning tool ends January 15:

Customers are also advised that the NextRide desktop trip planning tool will no longer be available starting January 16.

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We understand that some customers prefer to use a desktop computer to plan their trips and they can continue to do so using the trip planning tool on the BC Transit website homepage that uses Google Maps technology. 

For the most current route information, it is recommended that customers use:

  • Transit App (mobile only);
  • Google Maps (desktop and mobile);
  • BC Transit Website;
  • Umo Mobility App (mobile only);
  • Their own favorite trip planning app; or
  • Refer to the rider’s guide.

Know when your bus will arrive:

By downloading the Transit App, customers know exactly when their bus will arrive and allow them to see how full a bus is at any given time.

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This spring, BC Transit also started providing riders with free subscriptions to Transit Royale, an upgrade to the existing version of the Transit App, which now provides a wider geographical range for real-time bus tracking, a view of the full transit schedule instead of just short-term departures and fun, interactive features to make the transit journey more enjoyable.

Umo payment system:

Umo is BC Transit’s new contactless fare payment system that allows riders to pay their fare with the payment method and fare product that best suits their lifestyle and travel habits.

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The Umo electronic fare payment system is now active on BC Transit buses in Victoria. [BC Transit]

The Umo Mobility App provides riders with additional travel tools including real-time information, maps, and alerts, and is BC Transit’s recommended payment method for riders with access to a mobile device.

Federal and BC funding:

The NextRide Technology replacement is funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

This project is being cost shared with the Government of Canada contributing 50 per cent, the Province of British Columbia contributing 40 per cent and local government partners contributing the remaining 10 per cent. The cost for the entire project is $16.8 million.

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Smart Bus Program:

NextRide falls under BC Transit’s Smart Bus program, which introduces new technologies on buses that improve the customer experience, while also helping grow ridership by making transit more accessible, safer, and enjoyable.

This initiative aims to leverage recent technology advances to provide improved information for our customers and bus operators, while also providing greater flexibility, scalability, and value to BC Transit and its local government partners.



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