A new service provided by Topper Transit plans to “take the guesswork out” of getting to class on time.
NEXTbus, a system that tracks the location of each campus bus using geo-positioning software, was implemented Monday to improve customer service, visibility and ridership, according to the Parking and Transportation Services website.
Students waiting to catch a ride on the bus to their next class can find out the arrival time by simply calling (270) 392-3193 and entering the bus stop code, or by going to www.wku.edu/nextbus.
Steve Rowland, transit manager for Parking and Transportation, said research has shown that students can really benefit from NEXTbus.
“Studies bring up that people have a hard time reading schedules and get anxious if they don’t see the bus,” he said. “With our system they can simply check in and find out.”
Madisonville freshman Kelsey Luttrell has already made use of the new system.
“I woke up on the first day of classes and didn’t know how much time I had,” she said. “I was trying to decide whether I had time to get coffee or not, and I remembered seeing flyers for NEXTbus.”
Luttrell said when she called the service, she was informed that the bus would be there in 45 seconds.
“It was really helpful, because I would have missed the bus and had to wait a lot longer in the cold,” she said. “I think it was a really cool system for Western to implement.”
The bus stop codes are found at each campus stop on four routes: the White Line, the Blue Line, the Red Line, and the Green Line (Shopping Shuttle). The codes can also be found in Parking and Transportation brochures around campus and in each bus. NEXTbus also offers an automatic alerts service that sends text or e-mail updates informing users of when the bus will arrive to their location or if the transit service has been interrupted. To subscribe to this service, visit www.nextbus.com/myNextBus.
This service is especially useful when weather conditions are unpredictable and a route may be canceled, or when students are in their dorms preparing for class, Rowland said.
Rowland said they are always looking for new technological approaches to use on campus. He believes NEXTbus, which is used at many college campuses and public transit systems, is one of the biggest and most useful changes they’ve made.
“We feel like this is a good start,” he said.