BC Transit is preparing to roll-out its NextRide technology across the Fraser Valley. File photo

New real-time location technology coming soon to Fraser Valley buses

Waiting riders will be able to see location of their bus using their phones

The frustrating experience of wondering when – or if – your bus will show up may soon be a thing of the past in the Fraser Valley.

Within the next year, BC Transit hopes to roll out new technology that will allow riders to check the location of their bus on their phones. The “NextRide” technology will also automatically call out stops, a feature that will address recent audits that found drivers aren’t regularly doing so, despite a human rights order requiring such notifications.

RELATED: Audits find Abbotsford bus drivers breaching human rights agreement by not calling out stops

BC Transit has already implemented the technology in seven different communities, including Victoria. Now, the agency hopes to roll out the technology across Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley, a BC Transit official told Abbotsford’s transportation advisory committee Monday morning.

Lisa Trotter said the technology would be implemented not just in the Central Fraser Valley bus area, but also in Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope, which connect to Abbotsford’s transit system via the Fraser Valley Express.

The technology allows users of several different apps to see the location of their buses and how full they are. Riders can also set up alerts to notify them when a bus is running behind.

The technology will also aid visually impaired riders and others who rely on audible notifications.

BC’s human rights code has been found to require bus passengers to receive audible bus stop notices, but BC Transit audits the past two years have found that most drivers aren’t regularly calling out stops. Although many drivers do so upon request, advocates for the blind and the code itself say stops need to always be called out.

“It’s very difficult to get around, especially when a person is dropped off at a random place,” Shoko Kitano, with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, told The News this spring. “Drivers are human too. They forget, and we understand that.”

The CNIB has 776 clients in Abbotsford.

BC Transit recently agreed to pay more than $11,000 to a Kamloops woman for a pair of incidents, including one involving a driver who didn’t call out stops.

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