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New App Predicts How Crowded Santa Monica Buses Will Be

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 17, 2021 -- Big Blue Bus (BBB) riders will be able to plan their trips based on accurate predictions of how crowded the bus they plan to catch will be, agency officials said this week.

The new three-month pilot program allows users on all BBB lines to access regularly-updated ridership trend data via their Transit app to help limit crowding, officials said.

Previously available on a few select buses, “this kind of information is a huge step in helping riders feel confident getting on the bus," said David Block-Schachter, Chief Business Officer at Transit.

The crowding predictions not only help keep riders safe during the coronavirus emergency, they also make a big difference "if you use a wheelchair, you’re carrying big luggage or you just want to feel more comfortable,” he said.

Crowding predictions are calculated by Transit’s engineers using regularly-updated ridership trend data from Big Blue Bus, which regularly shares stop-by-stop ridership stats with Transit.

Transit's team then processes the data to make predictions in the app showing each vehicle’s capacity level over the course of its route, depending on the time of day.

The thousands of riders who use the app "also have the ability to report the current passenger bus loads for their trip in real time, providing another useful data set for sharing crowding information," officials said.

Big Blue Bus is among the first of Transit’s 75 agency partners to integrate data-driven crowding predictions, officials said.

The feature was originally developed in partnership with LA Metro, which launched the feature with Transit in August 2020.

For Big Blue Bus, four of every five capacity predictions in Transit have proven accurate when compared with actual ridership data, agency officials said.

“We have reimagined our service to further protect customers and staff during the pandemic," said Ed King, director of Transit Services at Big Blue Bus.

"Providing crowding information through Transit is yet another resource that customers can leverage to make informed decisions about when to ride transit safely,” King said.

Transit is available to download for iPhone and Android at

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