Asheville group seeks help launching “Where’s my bus?” GPS-tracking system

This Wednesday, Brett McCall, a concerned Asheville citizen, will present to the Asheville Transit Commission an idea for getting information to bus-riders about the real-time location of city buses — in other words, “Where’s my bus, and how soon will it get here?”

The system will address one of the chief complaints from potential bus riders — that the bus seldom arrives on schedule — by giving them real-time GPS information about where the next bus is, McCall says. Additionally, he notes that the system offers a significant cost savings when compared to other tracking services. Coupled with the route improvements detailed in the Asheville Downtown Master Plan, this system should help to improve bus ridership, he says.

The initial test phase of the proposed program is $1,000 for one month on Route 9.

“We are hoping to be able to fund all or most of this test phase with private funds, demonstrating to the Transit Commission that there is public support for such a plan,” says Stephen Eggett, one of the project’s volunteers. “Since Route 9 has a direct impact on West Asheville and its businesses, we hope we can count on the West Asheville Business Association for support. In exchange for this support, we propose to advertise, on the buses, the businesses and associations that made this test possible,” he explains.

This plan has yet to be approved by the Transit Commission, so at this point what the group is seeking is a commitment of support from citizens and area businesses. “We will happily accept whatever you can offer,” Eggett says.

McCall will present the proposed project to the Transit Commission this Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The commission meets in the 4th floor training room of the city municipal building (above the Asheville Police Department), 100 Court Plaza.

For more information about Glympse, the real-time location-tracking platform, please visit www.glympse.com. If you have any questions please contact Eggett via email at saeggett@gmail.com or by phone at 828.335.4599

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

2 thoughts on “Asheville group seeks help launching “Where’s my bus?” GPS-tracking system

  1. MissEmmaLee

    Call me silly, but..
    If you have a GPS on your iPhone, are you really that serious a bus rider? I’m sure the iPhone crowd hops on the bus now and then, but let’s get real.

  2. Piffy!

    well, actually, emmalee, i bet a good majority of UNCA students have an iphone with all the necessary apps.

    But i agree, it seems a foolish idea. but then again, i am not a hip techie.

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