New express bus routes will be first to get GPS

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Saskatoon’s two new express bus routes from southeastern suburban neighbourhoods to the downtown and University of Saskatchewan will be the first to have GPS locators.

City council’s administration and finance committee voted Monday to install the GPS tracking devices on 120 buses in the city.

“You can see exactly where that bus is, if it is late — all that,” Jamie Robison, the city’s access transit manager, told the committee.

The new GPS system was installed on a pilot basis last year, but even with city council’s approval, smartphone apps that provide real-time data and the location of the city’s bus fleet are still a year away.

The locations of all buses currently outfitted with the GPS system for the pilot program show up on a map of Saskatoon. The program tells operations staff at transit headquarters, and the driver, if a bus is running behind or ahead of schedule. Transit operators have touch screens on their consoles that give them access to a route map and a timer.