For Immediate Release - September 09, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES REAL-TIME MBTA BUS LOCATION INFORMATION FOR ALL BUS ROUTES

Bus Data plus launch of website, apps latest in series of customer service enhancements under Patrick-Murray Administration

As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's proven commitment to transportation reform and focus on customer service, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the availability of real-time bus location and arrival information for all 187 MBTA bus routes serving 47 Massachusetts cities and towns.

(Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office). View additional photos.

BOSTON - Thursday, September 9, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's proven commitment to transportation reform and focus on customer service, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the availability of real-time bus location and arrival information for all 187 MBTA bus routes serving 47 Massachusetts cities and towns and launched www.mbta.com/apps, a resource for customers seeking applications and services that provide real-time bus arrival information. The Governor made the announcement at Ruggles Station, where he used the new service before boarding an MBTA bus.

"We are taking the guesswork out of the daily commute for thousands of people who rely on T service across the region," said Governor Patrick. "By creating innovative and practical customer solutions, we are ensuring transportation reform is working for the commuter - exactly who we intended it to work for."

"As we focus on improving customer service, a critical component of our administration's transportation reform, this new feature will assist commuters in their daily travels when they depend on any of the MBTA buses," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

"This is an important milestone in improving customer service at the MBTA," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeff Mullan. "The Patrick/Murray Administration's award-winning open data initiative is allowing software developers to build applications, websites, and other services that are putting this real-time information in the hands of MBTA riders."

Following a project to equip more than a thousand MBTA buses with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology in 2009, dispatchers in the MBTA's Bus Operations Control Center were able for the first time to pinpoint the location of every MBTA bus in real-time. As of today, that same information is available to T bus riders, regardless of route.

Less than ten months ago, MassDOT launched the first phase of its open data initiative by releasing real-time information for five bus routes. The data released to software developers included real-time GPS locations of buses and arrival countdown information for every bus route. Within just one hour of releasing this data, a developer built an application showing real-time bus positions. Within two months, more than a dozen applications had been created including websites, smart phone applications, SMS text message services, and 617-phone numbers. All of these applications were created at no cost to MassDOT or the MBTA.

In his first week on the job, MassDOT Transit Division Administrator and MBTA General Manager Richard Davey announced that real-time data would be provided for all routes throughout the entire bus system. The expanded rollout began in June and was completed yesterday.

"Real-time countdown information is an opportunity to revolutionize riding the bus in Boston and one of my top priorities, said General Manager Davey. "As an everyday MBTA rider, I know the value of real-time information to take the guesswork out of riding the T."

"I know from personal experience that people are more likely to take the bus if we know what time it is actually coming. This technology will make taking the bus much more predictable and useful for commuters," said Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Senate Chair of the MBTA Caucus.

"This program announced today will make a huge difference for the transit riders of Boston. I applaud the Governor and the MBTA. By putting this technology in the hands of bus-riders we can save people time and provide more reliable and efficient transit service at virtually no cost to the state," said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz.

"I always support initiatives that improve the quality of life for the people of Boston, and I am proud that this is also cost-effective," said Representative Gloria Fox. "Technology partnered with the MBTA at no cost to the state and the people, and we no longer have to guess when the bus is coming, only to check our phones? I support that."

"The announcement and efforts made by Governor Patrick and MBTA General Manager Davey today concerning the full implementation of "Real-Time" MBTA bus location information is a victory for all riders of the MBTA and further demonstrates the efforts we are making to create more efficiencies and finding better ways to serve the people of the Commonwealth," said Representative Sean Garballey, House Chair of the MBTA Caucus.

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