A new feature on Transit — Metro’s official smartphone app — will use recent ridership numbers to predict the crowding levels on Metro buses. Just tap on the bus icon and crowding levels will show up.
With coronavirus still spreading in our region, the predictions will help riders decide whether they want to ride Metro, wait for another bus or seek another way to reach their destination.
The estimated number of riders is shown using three levels and is based on the size of the vehicle. In the app, riders will see these three designations:
•”Usually many seats available” means that 0-33% of seated capacity is being used.
•”Usually seats available” means that 34-85% of seated capacity is being used.
•”Usually standing room only” means that 85% or more of seated capacity is being used.
The predictions are based on regularly updated data collected in the prior two weeks from automated passenger counters on Metro buses. That allows the Transit app to predict the number of riders on any Metro bus at a particular time, location and and direction of travel, following the most recent ridership trends.
Nearly one in three LA-area app users told Transit in a June survey that having this type of crowding information would get them riding the bus more often. Over the past couple weeks, Metro has been testing the feature and has found it to be very reliable. In spot checks that compare Transit’s prediction to actual conditions aboard buses, Metro found the estimates from Transit to be accurate more than four out of five times that Metro spot checked it.
At present, Metro is running about 78 percent of its pre-pandemic service for about 40 percent of its pre-pandemic ridership. That means that most of our buses and trains have room for social distancing at most hours of the day.
We also know that some lines have become more crowded in recent weeks as more people are out and about and returning to work. In late July we added more trips to several bus lines.
And, equally important, we’re also emphasizing the requirement that all LA Metro riders wear face coverings. Metro has also been doing enhanced cleaning on buses and trains since March and we’re looking at ways to improve air flow, too.
New bus crowding predictions in the Transit app are the first result of collaboration between data teams at Metro and Transit since the app partnership was announced in May, when Transit became Metro’s official app. Transit replaced the agency’s old app, which has been phased out.
If the Transit app sounds familiar, there’s a good reason why. Many of Metro’s riders already used it prior to our partnership and, in fact, the Transit app is already widely used in more than 200 cities around the world. It’s proven to be popular with high customer ratings in both Google Play and the Apple App Store.
•More accurate real-time arrival information for buses and trains.
•Step-by-step navigation with the app’s GO feature.
•Comprehensive trip planning, including trips with transfers to Metro and other agencies, as well as info for Metro Bike Share and private ridehail services.
•Personalized service alerts, so you can easily find the info you need about your bus and trains without having to wade through a sea of alerts.
•Offline functionality including trip planning, route maps and schedules.
•Tools to help visually impaired riders navigate the system and a commitment to accessibility.
•Improved reliability that will also provide more consistent information across the Transit app, Metro.net and our digital signage at stops and stations.