The Capital Area Transit system’s new texting system should help riders better track when buses are headed their way.

The system, which launched this week, will allow riders to text a code that’s posted at bus stops to a bus tracking system. They will then receive a text back that shows every bus scheduled to arrive at their stop within the next hour.

One of the bus system’s promises during the tax election in 2012 was to use GPS tracking so riders would not be left waiting around on buses to arrive without knowing their status. But the tracking has been unreliable.

CATS has a cellphone app and a website that are supposed to allow CATS riders to see where buses are moving in real-time. But riders have complained that the timing of the app is off, and that the technology will show a bus is arriving at one point in time and it won’t actually arrive until many minutes later.

The newly unveiled texting feature is more geared toward riders who do not have smart phones and cannot use an app to check up on their bus route, according to CATS. The other tracking apps will still be available.

Riders will get their codes from placards that are currently being installed along the routes on Florida Boulevard. CATS is planning to place 300 placards with text codes along their routes by March.


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