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New Baton Rouge bus system fails to impress


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - More than a month after the Capital Area Transit System launched its GPS software system, some bus riders complain the system is inaccurate and not user-friendly.

The Advocate reports the transit system, known as CATS, rolled out a website and smartphone app provided by RouteMatch Software at the end of January. It is supposed to show riders in real time when a bus will arrive at their stop.

CATS management has said the technology will improve rider experiences, and that its implementation fulfills promises from a tax election in April 2012.
Riders say the system has shortcomings.

"Just like any other new technology project, there are some bugs in the system and we are working to iron out all those issues," said Kiran Vemuri, CATS planning manager who oversees the GPS project.

RouteMatch declined to comment on criticism of the app.

The $1.4 million contract with Route Match, in addition to GPS tracking, includes digital passenger counters and automated speakers that announce approaching destinations on the buses.

Computer engineer and Baton Rouge native Logan Leger rode his first CATS bus March 1, using the new RouteShout smart phone app to guide his travels from the corner of Highland Road and Raphael Semmes Road to a Walgreens on Jefferson Highway.

He evaluated the app on three different versions of an iPhone and one Android phone.

"I think the fact that the CATS app exists is a positive," Leger said.

But the positives for him ended there.

Leger said he'd hoped the app would provide instructions on what buses and transfers he would need to take to get to his desired location.

Instead, he said, he had to navigate through several pages on the app to figure it out.

"It was all very confusing. The navigation was not very effective," he said.

Worse, he said, the times listed on his smart phone for bus arrivals were wrong. For example, he said, it was off by at least 15 minutes for one stop on the Jefferson Highway route he traveled.

"If I had been waiting for the bus at Jefferson and watching the app, I would have missed the bus," he said.
CEO Brian Marshall said at the software's launch that it would be accurate up to 15 seconds.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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