Christy Ridout, vice president of business development at BC Transit, shows off the new NextRide interface, tracking the bus she’s on. (Nicole Crescenzi/Black Press)

Christy Ridout, vice president of business development at BC Transit, shows off the new NextRide interface, tracking the bus she’s on. (Nicole Crescenzi/Black Press)

NextRide launched in central Fraser Valley and Chilliwack transit systems

Transit users can now track buses from their cell phones, computers

BC Transit’s automatic vehicle location technology has expanded into the eastern reaches of the Fraser Valley.

NextRide is now available in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope, including the Fraser Valley Express. NextRide is being launched in the Agassiz-Harrison transit system in May.

BC Transit says that NextRide allows their customers to see real-time bus locations along routes and identify what predicted arrival times are at any selected stop. Onboard, automated stop announcements call out stops to customers riding the bus, which increases comfort and convenience, while also improving the overall accessibility.

Bus location data is provided to mobility providers like Transit App, so customers in the Fraser Valley can track and monitor bus routes using the app of their choice. (Google Maps users will experience a short delay in the real time data showing up as it takes several weeks for Google to start sharing this information.)

Two installation teams are now working closely together in neighbouring or nearby communities as they move through the province to install the new technology on buses. In all, NextRide will be installed on approximately 315 buses operating on all conventional, fixed routes in B.C.

NextRide falls under BC Transit’s Smart Bus program, which introduces new technologies on buses that improve the customer experience, while also helping grow ridership by making transit more accessible, safer and enjoyable.

The new service comes at an important time in the Fraser Valley, where the labour shortage is affecting the transportation industry.

“Customers will continue to see altered schedules on short notice to reflect changing conditions and this new NextRide technology should be able to assist customers tracking buses in real-time,” BC Transit said in a press release regarding the technology rollout.

“The City of Abbotsford welcomes the introduction of NextRide for riders in the Central Fraser Valley and Chilliwack Transit System,” said Abbotsford mayor Henry Braun. “As the largest city in the province geographically, knowing where your bus is in real time is essential for transit users in our community. Having real-time updates and service notifications will allow riders to plan their trips with greater accuracy and the additional onboard improvement of automated bus stop announcements will help all riders, including the visually impaired, to navigate our transit system with greater confidence and ease.”

NextRide will also be used as a planning tool, says Alison Stewart, manager of strategic planning for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“NextRide will allow the public to plan trips more easily and the technology also provides valuable data to local governments,” she said. “As an example, the system will provide information on what stops are used most, which will assist in future planning for bus shelters and new stops.”

READ MORE: Masks no longer required on TransLink, BC Transit or BC Ferries trips


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