May 21, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

My Experience: Big Blue Bus’ Real-Time Updates Inaccurate:

As of only a couple of weeks ago, Santa Monicans can now use an application called Transit to track the movement of their Big Blue Bus through real-time GPS updates. In addition to using the schedules posted at stops or looking online – which at best only gives a 30-minute window of when a bus could possibly be arriving – bus users can now see whether or not their bus is behind schedule.

This would have been useful when I was commuting four miles to UCLA from Santa Monica for my junior and senior year, naïvely thinking, before I moved, that the commute wasn’t going to be a big deal.

I was wrong. Really wrong.

That four-mile commute from where I lived in Santa Monica to UCLA would on average take about 30-40 minutes – and that was only on those very rare occasions when the bus was on schedule and would arrive at the bus stop right when I came walking (sometimes frantically running) up.

Most of the time, when you add in waiting for the bus, and then walking to and from the bus stop to my classroom, it would take an hour – and that was when the bus was only mildly behind schedule.

So when I heard that the Big Blue Bus got GPS trackers, I wanted to give it a try, hoping to reduce my bus waiting time around the City.

I left my apartment with the app saying that the bus would arrive in four minutes, so that if timed perfectly I would be getting to the bus stop right as it arrived.

When I got to the bus stop, it wasn’t there – something that I’ve been all too familiar with when trying to time the Big Blue Bus. I opened the app on my phone and it still read four minutes to arrival.  

On the GPS tracker it still showed that the bus was stuck about six blocks down Ocean Park Boulevard, presumably intensive traffic or a glitch in the system.

I waited for about another five minutes, still nothing.

The tracker now read two minutes away. It then went back to four minutes.

After waiting about 10 minutes for the bus while my GPS showed it stopped only six blocks down the street and estimated it being only four minutes away, the blue bus finally materialized down the street, a block away from my bus stop. The real-time GPS finally read “0 minutes until arrival.”

At heavily utilized bus stops, you will find additional seating, lighting, and/or signage that provide real-time bus arrival times, but this, too, like on the app, is not an exact science.

This project is primarily funded by the federal government and the construction costs are approximately $7 million to improve bus stops within the City of Santa Monica only. The funds were earmarked specifically for this project. In general, federal funds are awarded for specific capital projects and cannot be reallocated elsewhere.

“We’re not the first city to do this, but now Santa Monicans can know before they leave for the bus stop whether they have time for another cup of coffee or need to hustle double-time to catch the next Big Blue Bus,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said.

While much better than relying on printed schedules, the tracker is still a little inconsistent, estimating one time and then adding more time a minute later.

But maybe that’s not the GPS’ problem, but rather the nature of public transportation in L.A. and Santa Monica: it’s never going to be perfect. Users must adjust their idea of “real-time” to something more relative to L.A., allowing for the intensive and congestive traffic to slow everything down.

in News
Related Posts

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Santa Monica Travel Summit Of 2022 Returns To Take On Tomorrow

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The Event Was Held At The Jonathan Club On Santa Monica Beach By Staff Writer The 2022 Santa Monica Tourism...

City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program: Santa Monica Beat – May 16th, 2022

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program * Santa Monica High School Students...

1221 Ocean Avenue Complex Sold For Record Price

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Sold for a record price of $330 million. By Dolores Quintana The Irvine Company has sold 1221 Ocean Avenue to...

Office Construction Is Starting To Rise In Los Angeles

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

Property vacancies are still affecting growth.  By Dolores Quintana In March, the Los Angeles Metropolitan area had 3.2 million square...