Bus GPS makes stops predictable

By Kelsi Borntraeger

Sometimes it can be hard to get across campus in a reasonable amount of time. But with Cat Tracker for the CATS bus system, riders can see when a bus will arrive.

Cat Tracker is a real-time, GPS-based device, said Chrissie Tune, senior marketing specialist for UK Parkin­­g and Transportion Services. The device allows riders to locate CATS buses.

Anyone with a smartphone, iPhone or Android, can download the app, known as “transloc.”

Those without smartphones can log onto the UK website and track the route or text “UKY” then the bus stop number, which is located on the bus stop sign.

Sarah Perkins, a dietetics senior and Android user, began using the CATS bus because of this tracking program.

“I like the new program because it’s right at my fingertips and can be used at any time,” she said. “Providing the app is one of the best ideas to students because of our technological generation.”

Since Perkins has class at opposite ends of campus on a daily basis, she is able to time exactly when she needs to be somewhere, she said.

The tracking program began this summer and reached up to 3,800 users, Tune said. Just in the month of August, it reached 8,000 users.

Agricultural economics senior Sarah Askin does not have a smartphone but has used the routing system on the website.

“It would be easier to use the program on my phone, but having the ability to use it through the UK website is also nice,” Askin said. “My classes are far from my house so knowing where the bus will be in 10 minutes is crucial and helps me a lot.”

Since there has already been such a large increase in users, PTS hopes that as the first year for the program goes on, there will be an even bigger increase, Tune said.

“Several folks have commented that it will come in handy on rainy and cold days,” Tune said.

The initial installation and service start up was $89,000 and there is also a monthly fee of $2,115 for tech support and data, Tune said.

Tune and PTS believe this program will last.

“The number of hits so far is very encouraging,” Tune said. “PTS views Cat Tracker as an important tool for our bus system. The benefits for using this program include increased communications to our existing riders as well as making the bus system easier to understand for the UK community.”