How to Obtain Real-Time Route Information:
What is NextBus?
The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation (HDPT) uses a bus service called NextBus. Passengers are able to use their touch tone telephones, mobile devices, and Web enabled computers to see exactly where their bus is and its predicted time of arrival.
Based on GPS and cellular technology, HDPT buses communicate directly with several secure servers and databases. Information uploaded includes the bus' current location and its rate of progression through its route. Based upon historical averages, day of the week, and time of day, the databases make an algorithmic calculation that feeds arrival predictions to any passengers requesting the information.
The most visible change to the public will be the installation of 281 new bus stop signs throughout the City. The signs will provide passengers with the necessary information to access the NextBus system. Each stop will have its own unique identification number, a local telephone number, a text message number, and a QR code.
The benefits of this service span further than the end user. Information gathered aids HDPT's dispatchers when monitoring routing activity. Two way radio traffic has already been greatly reduced with dispatchers no longer having to request location information from drivers. Dispatchers now have the ability to scan a live map and monitoring application from the web that alerts them to any abnormalities such as tardiness or route deviations. Historical reports can also be called upon from the system to aid management in route planning.
The system's official release date was January 9, 2012. It is HDPT's hope that the NextBus system will further enhance passenger's experiences with public transportation.
Third Party Apps for Smartphones
At this point in time, HDPT does not currently endorse or support any third party apps available outside of HDPT, Nextbus, Google Transit, or http://www.jmu.edu/navigatejmu/busfinder/. Information provided in third party apps may not be accurate and will not provide real-time data.