Scrolling Headlines:

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

PVTA tracker allows students to find arrival times online

pvtaFor students in the Five College area, peering around the corner for PVTA buses might be a thing of the past. The University of Massachusetts computer science department is experimenting with a new program that allows students to track PVTA buses en route to their destination across campus and the Five College towns.

The tracker is connected to Google Maps and allows passengers to track the path of their bus on the UMass transit services website. If a bus is running late, the tracker can provide passengers with the exact time it will be arriving at its destination. In addition to serving the Five College area, the tracking program will be able to track over 40 bus routes that cover 150 square miles.

System Administrator of Transit Services at UMass Adam Sherson says the bus tracker is not only designed to enable students to keep track of where the buses are at all times, but also to make bus schedules run more efficiently. Sherson collaborated with UMass computer scientist Brian Levine to create the software necessary to make the program run.

Over the summer, Levine facilitated the Diverse Outdoor Mobile Entertainment (DOME) project, which provided Wi-Fi Internet access to all PVTA passengers. The bus tracker, which was introduced in the first week of this year’s fall semester, is still largely unknown by the majority of UMass students. Out of 40 passengers polled, 68 percent admitted they were unaware of the new program. Sherson says he expects students to utilize the program once word spreads around campus.

“We are planning to add posters to our buses, all major bus stops, as well as dorms, to let students know about the new system,” said Sherson. “I think people are going to find it very convenient.”

So far, those who have used the program have agreed with Sherson.

“It can really help you manage your time better if you know exactly when the bus is going to be at the stop,” says Pete Tracy, a UMass senior who lives in Sunderland, Mass., and takes the bus to class every day. “I usually check in the morning before I head out the door.”

For students who have advanced smart phones, such as the iPhone or BlackBerry, programs are available on the transit services website that send e-mail and text message updates regarding bus routes to your phone.

Despite the new program, which allegedly provides more up-to-the-minute bus schedules, students still regularly call the transit services hotline at 413-545-1633 to ask for bus times.

Eiman Mikhchi, a junior at Hampshire College, says he knows about the new tracking program but does not think it is necessary to get a bus.

“Most of the buses come every 15 minutes anyway,” said Mikhchi. “If I need to know the exact time, I can just call the hotline. The tracker is cool, but I don’t see the point.”

Operators working at the PVTA hotline said they have been receiving just as many calls concerning bus times as they did before the tracker was implemented.

Sherson says he is still working with Levine and other members of the computer science department to work out some glitches in the program.

One of the common criticisms from students is that the program is prone to freezing, and can sometimes be slow.

In the future, Sherson says PVTA plans to add an Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system to all of its buses, which he says will take time to be implemented but should make the tracking process much faster.  

As we move closer to the winter months and it becomes less tolerable to wait at the bus stop, many believe that the program is sure to increase in popularity. This new system could mean no more wondering how many minutes until the bus arrives, and no more frantic sprints after the final bus home. With the new PVTA tracking system, students can plan their daily transit accordingly, down to the last minute.  

Noah Steinberg-Di Stefano can be reached at steinber@student.umass.edu.

Comments
5 Responses to “PVTA tracker allows students to find arrival times online”
  1. Bus Tracker says:

    A link to the tracker would probably be helpful:
    http://dieselnet.cs.umass.edu/

  2. Good call, Bus Tracker. We actually have a link up there. There’s a little glitch in the site’s stylesheet that keeps links the same color as text unless you roll over them. We’re working on that.

    In the story’s lede, the phrase “new program…” links to the site.

  3. Andrew Vernon says:

    S.P. Sullivan, hate to tell ya’. There is no such list within this article. Clearly PVTA, Computer Science and Collegian editors did not review this before it went to print.

  4. I will try cclear. Thank you. I have been finding a good one.

  5. Ronald says:

    Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp so much approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with a few p.c. to pressure the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is great blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

Leave A Comment