TARC improvements: Free WiFi on all buses; Free real-time bus tracking with Transit app; and new Bus Shelter
In May 2017, Louisville’s transit system, TARC (which is free to ride with UofL ID), rolled out a number of improvements to make it even sweeter to take the bus:
1. A brand new southbound bus shelter was installed on Belknap Campus on 4th Street just south of Cardinal Blvd. This shelter provides an out-of-the-elements place to wait for buses on Route 4 (with direct service from Belknap campus to south Louisville (Beechmont, Kenwood, Glengarry, and Louisville Industrial Center) on all-electric buses with bike racks for up to three bikes!)
2. All TARC buses will become free WiFi hot spots for internet access by June 1. TARC, with a fleet of 227 buses, already provides WiFi on 156 buses and worked to enable WiFi on the remaining 71 buses. TARC first made WiFi available in 2013 on 21 eTran commuter coaches that cross the river and travel on some express routes, and added WiFi to more buses as funding allowed. A 2016 survey of TARC local and express route passengers showed 80 percent of passengers have mobile devices with internet access, 20 percent more than three years ago. With buses as WiFi hot spots, passengers can now check schedules and bus arrival times, check email, do some work or homework while on the go using TARC WiFi. To connect to TARC WiFi on buses, passengers using mobile devices need to make sure WiFi is turned on, and to tap “RideTARC” as their WiFi option.
3. The Transit App, which has been endorsed by transit agencies in over a dozen cities including Boston and Dayton, integrates real-time transit information for more than 400 public transportation systems around the world. In the past 18 months, the app has been downloaded in Louisville more than 18,000 times. More than 1,500 riders are using the app on an average weekday. Relative to TARC’s ridership, usage in Louisville is among the highest across the US, without any heavy promotion to date. TARC riders have really embraced the app. TARC real-time bus information has been available on Transit since 2015 when TARC made its real-time data feed available to app developers. When opening the app, it automatically shows you nearby bus lines and departure times in big text and bright colors. Users can track TARC buses on a map, plan trips from start to finish, set alarms reminding them when to leave home to catch the next bus, and have an alert sound when their stop is approaching. Transit also integrates Uber and starting soon, when Louisville Metro launches its bike share program, LouVelo, the app will allow users to locate bike share stations and buy bike share passes. Passengers, including Mary Lou Ferrell who rides TARC to and from the Highlands and the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus, have praised the app. “It makes riding TARC so much better,” she wrote on Facebook.