TTC to share real-time passenger counts on buses through Rocket Man, Transit apps
A TTC worker wears a mask in a bus while on shift in Toronto on Thursday, April 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO -- The Toronto Transit Commission says starting tomorrow, customers who use the Rocket Man or Transit mobile apps will be able to see real-time passenger counts on TTC buses.
Despite measures to reduce the number of passengers on TTC vehicles, many transit riders have expressed concerns about overcrowding on TTC vehicles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new partnership, the TTC says, will allow customers to better plan their trips around the city.
"You’ll be able to see the volume of passengers on vehicles approaching your stop to help you choose which vehicle you’re most comfortable boarding," the TTC said in a news release.
The TTC says the vast majority of buses, about 1,966 of the service's 2,000 vehicles, are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) devices that use infrared light at doors to determine how many people board and exit a bus.
"This data is now being shared with Rocketman and Transit to inform customers of the passenger volume on the next few buses, indicated by one, two or three icons," the news release read.
When one icon is displayed, that indicates that a bus is "not busy" (0 to 30 per cent capacity). Two icons suggests that a bus is "busy," or at 30 to 80 per cent capacity. When a bus is "very busy" at 80 per cent capacity or greater, three icons are displayed. Standard buses hold about 51 people and articulated buses hold 77.
"Information will be available for the next two or three buses approaching a stop; routes with more frequent bus service will have occupancy information for more vehicles," the TTC said.
"The TTC uses this same passenger information to deploy extra service where practical to reduce the number of customers on each bus."
The transit agency said while rare, the information provided to the apps may be delayed, resulting in inaccurate readings.
"The TTC reminds customers that actual bus loads can change quickly as passengers board and exit vehicles, particularly at busy stops," the news release read. "Customers are advised to continue to use their own discretion and comfort level when deciding to board a vehicle."
The feature is currently only available on TTC buses.