Fairfax Connector launches bus tracker site, text service

WASHINGTON — Fairfax Connector riders can now track their bus’s arrival in real time, the county’s transportation department said Tuesday.

The bus tracker has undergone testing for months, County Transit Service Division Chief Dwayne Pelfrey said in a presentation to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee.

Riders also have the option of texting “FFX” followed by the identification number on their bus stop to 41411 to receive estimated arrival times. Riders can also subscribe online for text or email alerts for regular trips.

Also with the launch, Fairfax Connector routes will appear in Google’s trip planner results within the next 90 days, Pelfrey said. Google’s trip planner is a key way to encourage infrequent or new riders to try a bus system.

Fairfax Connector describes Tuesday’s start of the program as a “soft launch,” with a full launch set for next month that will include a marketing campaign. Later, the county plans to add digital message signs at some bus stops and video technology for closed circuit security feeds.

The first phase of the technology has already been in use by Fairfax County’s dispatchers and to help count the number of riders on buses.

The tracking system is based on the same platform as Metro’s busETA.

Many other bus systems across the region have similar tracking systems that are intended to make taking the bus simpler and more convenient. A number of apps combine the information from multiple agencies for riders who want to avoid checking multiple websites on their phones or computers.

Fairfax Connector buses carry about 40,000 riders each weekday.


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