Web developer donates bus info service
A Charlottetown web developer is helping out the city's fledgling bus service with an automated bus schedule phone-in service.
Charlottetown Transit only began operating in 2005, and ridership has increased beyond expectations every year. But web developer Peter Rukavina, owner of the web development company Reinvented, felt he could make taking the bus easier and encourage more people to use it.
"If I have skills that I can apply to a public service project like this, I think I should. I want more people to use the bus and that's really the inspiration for everything," said Rukavina.
By calling a number printed on the side of the University Avenue bus, riders can get up-to-date information on the bus schedule from the automated service. Since the service, dubbed the "Talking Bus" by Charlottetown Transit, started about a year ago, it has handled about 2,500 calls.
While Charlottetown Transit gave the service its name and advertises it, Rukavina pays for the service. He took the time to develop it on his own and pays the cost of about $30 a month. Rukavina said he doesn't want payment. He just wants more people to use public transit.
Tobi Adesoye tried it for the first time while waiting for the bus Tuesday.
"Is cool," she said.
"It's easy. Like, most of the places there is no bus schedule, so like if you just call it, it tells you where exactly to get it and what time to get it."
Bobby Dunn, general manager of Trius Transit, which operates the Charlottetown buses, is appreciative of Rukavina's efforts. The University Avenue route is by far the busiest one in the city.
"If 60 per cent of our ridership is on University Avenue and someone can phone that number, it certainly reduces the amount of calls that we have to take," said Dunn.
Dunn said more high-tech service is coming.
The bus company now wants to expand the Talking Bus service to all its routes. It is also talking to Bell Aliant about a GPS tracking service and free Wi-Fi for riders. Charlottetown Transit intends to pay for these upgrades on its own dime.