Since HART launched its OneBusAway Tampa app just 15 months ago, HART riders are using the app in record numbers and they are showing overwhelming support for the convenient scheduling app, which puts real-time bus arrival information right in the palm of the user's hand. HART first rolled out the app in August 2013 for Web-enabled devices such as computers, tablets, and smart phones, and then this past September, the agency added the SMS texting feature that enables anyone with any kind of cell phone - not just a smartphone - to use the app.
The number of hits on OneBusAway Tampa has skyrocketed. HART now averages about 250 hits per minute on the OneBusAway Tampa system during rush hour, and more than 162,000 hits per weekday. That robust level of user activity shattered first-year expectations.
"We're excited to offer tools that our riders and the community can benefit from and this is just another example of our great tech focus," said HART Chief Executive Officer Katharine Eagan. "That level of use demonstrates that our customers actively support our ongoing initiatives to make riding the HART system easier, more user-friendly, and more convenient."
Most recently, results from the OneBusAway Tampa study conducted last spring were published in the journal "Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice", also revealed high levels of customer use and satisfaction:
- 68 percent feel more relaxed when waiting for buses.
- 64 percent report that using the OneBusAway Tampa app has reduced their waiting time.
- The majority of users find that OneBusAway Tampa bus arrival time information is accurate.
Not only did wait times decrease for those who took part in the study, but so did their levels of anxiety and frustration.
Nolasco Mercado has used HART to commute back and forth to work and to run errands since 2011 and says that now he does all of his planning with the OneBusAway Tampa app. "I confirm with the app every time I use HART," Mercado explains. "I feel more confident about arriving to my destination on time, with no hassle of missing the bus or waiting for a long time at my stop."
Dr. Candace Brakewood, an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at City College of New York, led the team that conducted the survey. "We are very pleased by the positive response that OneBusAway has received by HART bus riders," says Brakewood, "and we hope that riders will continue to use this free tool whenever they ride transit in Tampa."
The research was a partnership between the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida and Georgia Tech, and was funded by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR), the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management (NCTSPM), and an US DOT Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship.