BBB Is Upgrading Its Fleet Communications System in Early 2024

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The following is from the Big Blue Bus Newsletter

Big Blue Bus is upgrading its fleet communications system, to provide more reliable and efficient service to riders. The system allows our dispatchers to track buses and communicate with operators in real-time, through voice and text messages, to better manage disruptions that impact service delivery.

Here is what you can expect when Big Blue Bus’s communications system upgrade is completed in early 2024:

  • Better Bus Arrival Predictions: Buses will generate GPS location data approximately every 10 seconds (improved from every 45 seconds), which means more accurate bus arrival times on electronic bus stop signs, and in trip-planning apps like Transit and Google Maps.
  • Onboard Passenger Information Monitors: Buses will be equipped with at least one (1) onboard passenger information monitor that will display upcoming stops and arrival times as well as destination, detour, and weather information. The monitors will also feature public service announcements that help riders make the most of their experience on Big Blue Bus.
  • Improved Communications During Service Disruptions: Trip-planning apps will update dynamically to show route detours and stop closures in real-time, and will automatically adjust bus arrival times to reflect unplanned service adjustments so customers stay up to date.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Better communication between bus operators, dispatchers, and road supervisors means improved on-time performance, and fewer service delays and cancellations due to disruptions.

Beginning July 13, 2023, a small fleet of buses equipped with the new communications system will hit the road, as part of a rigorous four (4) week testing period. These buses will provide service on Routes 3, 7, 8, 9 & 41, and Rapids 7 & 12.

While testing is being conducted, riders may experience the following:

  • Onboard audio announcements that are mistimed or include incorrect and/or mispronounced bus stops and destinations.
  • Incorrect route or destination information displayed on electronic bus signs.
  • Missing or inaccurate real-time bus arrival predictions for select stops.

Have questions or comments about our communications system upgrade? We would love to hear from you! Share your feedback on Santa Monica 311: santamonica.gov/311

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