Golden Empire Transit

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Golden Empire Transit Bus

Golden Empire Transit Bus

Profile appeared in our 32-1 Issue – April 2015

Bakersfield residents have always needed transportation. As early as 1874, the first public transit was carrying passengers to the train station two miles east of the city on Baker Street. Public transit was initially provided by private companies. However, in the mid-1950s when the popularity of the automobile caused a significant drop in ridership and revenues, the city took over operations of the system and in 1965 created a transit authority. In 1972, voters within the proposed transit district boundaries approved the formation of a transit district by a 2-to-1 margin. A board of directors was appointed in September, 1972. In 1973, the District started operation and was named the Golden Empire Transit District (GET).

Over the years, GET has evolved to meet the needs of riders and this year has brought with it even more change.

In 2015, GET is going stronger than ever, launching a new system that will radically change the way it communicates with customers. The first being the bus stop signs. The system includes Interactive Voice Response and Quick Response (QR) code capabilities at each bus stop which allow customers to call or use their Smart phones to access specific arrival information for that stop. Using this technology, customers will be able to arrive at the stop just prior to the bus’ arrival, confident that the bus will be there.

Early street cars in Bakersfield.

Early street cars in Bakersfield.

Through the technology of Google Maps, Google’s Transit Trip Planner integrates GET’s stop, route, and schedule information to make trip planning quick and easy, and it’s free. Customers can simply enter where they are, where they want to go, and when they want to arrive; Google does the planning and will be available from both the Internet and from mobile devices. Additionally, Apple and Android applications allow customers to access GET’s real-time stop information from anywhere. GET’s website also provides customers with real-time arrival information for routes and stops from their home, office computer, or tablet.

GET’s new system automatically produces internal and external stop announcements and destination/next stop signage for visually and hearing impaired customers. Large digital electronic signage will be placed at the Downtown Center and Valley Plaza Transit Centers to provide arrival time information. BusFinder signage will also be coming in summer, 2015 to the transit centers at Bakersfield College and CSUB.

This system also allows GET dispatchers and customers to see where vehicles are at all times utilizing a GPS system. This allows GET staff to respond to unplanned service disruptions, monitor headway adherence and on-time performance. The program has also been proven to be critical in the case of an accident or crime by allowing operators to activate a Covert Alarm.

Although the new system will provide significant improvements for GET’s customers, the new system will also enhance GET’s ability to access ridership data. In the past, GET was able to determine the number of boardings on each route. This new system will allow GET to drill down to ridership per stop. Once the data is connected and then merged with farebox data, a complete profile of the District’s riders, by route, by stop, by time of day, will emerge. This data will also be used to help determine schedule adherence and to improve service performance.

This new technology makes riding the bus fast and easy. Leave your car at home just once a week and help our air quality and congestion.

In the 42 years Golden Empire Transit District (GET) has been serving Bakersfield, it has consistently introduced many innovations and 2015 is no exception!

www.getbus.org

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