Submitted by: Whatcom Transportation Authority

Bus riders will soon be able to surf, post, and tweet while they ride the bus. Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) will introduce free WiFi throughout its fleet of 61 fixed route buses on Friday, May 17.

WTA is introducing WiFi both to improve the onboard experience as well as to pave the way for major onboard technology enhancements.  Two such enhancements are on the way. The first is “TouchPass,” a new account based fare payment system. TouchPass allows riders to pay their fare either by tapping a “Smart Card,” or by presenting a mobile app.  Because TouchPass is account based, riders can purchase their passes and manage their accounts online. Free public WiFi on the bus allows them to do this as they ride.  WTA is currently completing a pilot project, with hopes to introduce TouchPass this summer.

The second onboard technology project is “SmartBus.” SmartBus will allow riders to track the location of their bus in real time, or receive an alert to let them know when their bus is coming. SmartBus will also provide automated stop announcements, to let riders on the bus know what bus stop they’re approaching. WTA hopes to introduce SmartBus in early 2020.

General Manager Pete Stark said, “Free public WiFi and ‘where’s my bus?’ technology are among the most often requested improvements to our service. We’re confident these will significantly improve the experience of existing riders, and we’re hopeful they will also help attract new people to riding the bus.”

For route and schedule information, call (360) 676-7433 or visit www.ridewta.com.

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