Transit Now Provides Crowding Info

Date:August 24, 2020
Transit Now Provides Crowding Info

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know how crowded a bus is before you go to catch it? If a bus was super crowded, you might decide to postpone a trip to the store or walk instead. Or, a nearly empty bus might mean you can rest assured you’ll get to work on time.

Earlier this year, Transit became the official app of RideKC. Now we’re adding real-time crowding data to the information available in the app.

Transit lets riders easily find nearby transit options and departure times, track buses in real-time, and plan trips with step-by-step navigation using Transit’s GO feature.

On more than half of RideKC buses operated by KCATA, you can now see just how crowded a bus is.  With concerns about COVID and social distancing recommendations, it’s even more important to know if a bus is full and make an informed decision.

How do I know how crowded a bus is?

When you view a bus’s location on the map in Transit, look for the image on the bus icon that looks like three little people. If you see those, that means crowding data is available for the bus. If crowding info is not available, the people icons won’t be shown. 

The number of people that are shown reflect how crowded the bus is. Tap on the bus, and a label displaying “Not crowded,” “Some crowding” or “Crowded” will appear. Crowding levels reflect current capacity under COVID guidelines. So a 40-foot bus, which has has approximately 40 seats, with 18 customers would show as “Crowded” under current guidelines.

Three images showing crowding information available in the app Transit.
(Image courtesy of Transit)

How does it work? 

More than half of KCATA’s vehicles have automatic passenger counters (APCs) on the back and front doors. APCs are used by our planning and finance departments to track and report ridership. Historically, counts from the APCs were only downloaded when buses were back in RideKC’s bus garage. Thanks to this newly developed feature from Transit and quicker, more robust data connections from our new partner Swiftly, RideKC is providing more accurate location information, as well as sharing how many people are on the bus.

Part of a national trend 

In a survey conducted by Transit earlier this year, public transportation riders across North America said they wanted to know how crowded their vehicles are.  Now, RideKC is one of more than 30 transit agencies putting real-time or predictive crowding information in the hands of riders.

Armed with this real-time crowding information, riders can decide if they want to postpone a trip that’s not urgent. If heading out on a shopping trip, a passenger can decide between bus routes.

Download Transit 

iOS App Link    Android App Link 

Transit also offers first- and last-mile connections to RideKC with its Transit+ feature. Transit may suggest taking a ride-hailing service as part of the trip and connecting RideKC service. This feature allows you to plan, book, and pay for a ridehail trip, while getting real-time updates on your RideKC connection in a single app.

This real-time crowding information upgrade is part of RideKC’s response to COVID-19. To learn more about what RideKC is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and what you can do to keep yourself safe, visit our COVID Updates page.                                                                                               

Example of crowding information shown in Transit App. Also includes the icons and words