GA: Macon bus riders can soon see bus locations & plan routes in new app. How it works.

June 3, 2024
The Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority is set to release two apps later this summer: MyRide for city bus passengers, and RidesOnDemand for paratransit passengers.

May 30—For Macon bus riders who have previously been frustrated by off-schedule buses or unclear routes, some relief is coming soon.

The Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority is set to release two apps later this summer: MyRide for city bus passengers, and RidesOnDemand for paratransit passengers. The apps will provide users with real-time updates on bus locations, bus departure notifications and route planning. Additionally, users will be able to text a code from their stop to MTA's system to receive an estimated arrival time.

"It will revolutionize our transit system," said Jami Gaudet, a spokesperson for MTA.

The update will help Macon passengers such as political scientist and sustainable mobility advocate Laura Gomez. Gomez is from Bogotá, Colombia, where she said the bus system was more frequent and reliable.

"In Macon bus frequencies are lower... sometimes I've had to arrive to an appointment an hour earlier because otherwise the next bus would drop me off late," said Gomez.

MTA's fixed bus routes only run once every hour and 15 minutes. When the bus is late, there is no way of knowing when it will arrive. Gomez has waited 20 minutes to be picked up in the past.

"During hot days it would be wonderful not having to wait under the sun," said Gomez.

Gomez hopes the apps will motivate other Macon residents to use the bus. Understanding the bus schedule on MTA's website was challenging for her at first, and an app could decrease that barrier to transit for others in the community. Gomez thinks the apps will be a positive change for Macon's transit system.

When will the apps be available?

Some boxes need to be checked before MyRide and RidesOnDemand can reach Macon residents. MTA must submit routing and timetable information to Google, which will enable Google to provide real-time travel planning and relevant information about transit systems to riders. Once Google approves, MTA can begin working on MyRide and RidesOnDemand, which will be released later this summer, according to MTA.

The applications will use TripSpark's software, which Gaudet said was "way ahead of the curve" compared to other options they explored.

Beyond the apps, MTA Transit Planner Mark Strozier is working to create a new website featuring real-time bus mapping, trip planning, the ability to purchase fares, and tutorials on how to use MTA's service. For users without cell phones, Macon-Bibb IT has worked with MTA to provide an electronic kiosk at the terminal station.

Strozier said he's happy to be making a positive difference for Macon transit.

"We're really excited, we've been working on this project for quite a while," said Strozier.

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