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UNT offers bus-tracking app for students, considers app for e-ride service

UNT offers bus-tracking app for students, considers app for e-ride service

November 02
10:00 2017

A new bus-tracking app launched in late August aims to help UNT students track their bus along its route. The university has also been considering a new tracking app for the e-ride shuttle service, a UNT spokesperson said.

The app, called UNT Transit, is available for Android and iPhone, said Leigh Anne Gullett, UNT News media manager. The application was in testing during this past summer and went live on Aug. 28, the first day of fall semester. The app is free and tracks buses throughout the day.

“It started as an idea to have regular tracking on the night buses so that students waiting for the buses could see the expected arrival time and track the bus along its route,” Gullet said. “This would allow the student to wait in his/her car or a building on campus until the bus drew near or just to give them information so they weren’t waiting and wondering when it would arrive.”

There are talks about having an app that follows the late night e-ride shuttles as well. These “call-ahead shuttles” don’t take students on a fixed route. Rather, it takes riders directly to the designated destination on campus, Gullett said.

“That would operate similar to the way Lyft or Uber do – you schedule a ride and you can see the shuttle en route,” Gullett said. “Plans on this have not yet been finalized. It’s too soon to say when this may be put into effect.”

Gullet said the purpose of the e-ride service is to have a transportation option for students toward the end of regular bus route service or during times when bus routes don’t run.

“This provides students with secure transit between various points on the UNT campus,” Gullett said.

The Mean Green Night Rider bus runs a regular route overnight until 7 a.m. as well. 

E-ride is for student riders only and is free. Students must show their UNT ID to the driver to verify they are a current student. Each UNT student pays a transportation fee as part of their tuition and this fee pays for transit services such as e-ride and the Mean Green Night Rider bus. 

The difference between the two transit services is e-ride is an on-demand service that transports students wherever they need to go on campus. The Mean Green Night Rider Route is a fixed route. 

The on-demand service runs Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. To schedule a ride, students should call 940-565-3014, the e-ride on-demand phone number. 

UNT I-transit Director Christopher Phelps said from 2002 to 2006, the police department operated a van that circulated on campus and performed the same function as e-ride does. Phelps called it a program that provided a secure, safe ride home.

“The e-ride program, as it currently exists, has expanded from that humble beginning to address the needs of the increased student population on campus,” Phelps said. “However, e-ride is still operated as a safe ride program to get students around campus safely.” 

Criminal justice junior Josselyn Jimenez thinks an e-ride app is a great idea, saying being able to know the location of the bus would help students at night.

“This app would help students not stand around waiting forever for the bus to come,” Jimenez said. “They will know exactly where it is and when to be at the bus stop. The [Mean Green] Night Rider would also help students when they have to stay on campus late and maybe not want to walk all the way to the parking lot, they can get a lift to the parking lot.”

Featured Image: A UNT student uses the transportation services app. The app was launched to help on campus students be picked up by on demand drivers at various points on campus. Kelsey Shoemaker

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Jacqueline Guerrero

Jacqueline Guerrero

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