Winona State University is offering a program that allows students to check where the student transportation buses are around town, which organizers say should reduce the amount of time students have to stand at bus stops.
The bus-tracking program will be a top level university application, said Eric Busch, a senior student developer working on the program.
The bus-tracking program allows students to check a map that displays the location of the buses in town on their mobile device. The program is updated every second and a half to two seconds, said Busch.
“I’ve really only seen these programs offered at Ivy League schools,” said Busch. “[WSU] is a blip on the radar compared to those schools and we can offer the same service.”
According to Bush, students who live off campus will be able to manage their time more efficiently.
“The bus tracking will benefit students who are specifically looking to get from one campus to another,” said Busch.
Students living on WSU’s west campus or in the East Lake apartments will be able to see where the buses are from inside their rooms. They can head to the bus stop when the bus is near, instead of sitting and waiting at the bus stop.
According to Kaley Evenson, a WSU freshman, she often sits for 15 to 20 minutes waiting for the bus in the afternoon.
“[Waiting] is fine, but not so much fun when it’s raining and/or cold,” said Evenson.
Evenson said some of the buses are on time but other bus drivers tend to wait until his/her bus is full before leaving. This causes the buses to be anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes off of the schedule posted online.
According to Robin Honken, development and web support services director and also Busch’s adviser, the program should be ready for student use by the end of the fall semester in December. The application is up and running but the programmers are waiting for delivery of five Global Positioning System transmitters that will be installed in the buses.
“[It has been difficult] getting the outside companies to get the transmitters to us,” said Honken.
The program was relatively inexpensive to create, said Honken. Other than time put in by Busch, the only thing to pay for was the Global Positioning Systems that cost $200 each.
The program is free for students to use and costs will not be reflected in their technology fees.
Honken said more projects that are geared toward mobile applications are under way.
“This is just a start for us,” said Honken.