Minnesota State University, Mankato students are in for a treat as the university plans on creating a bus locator app.
The app has not yet been created, but there is a web hybrid for the time being. The web page can be used by students to locate where their bus is in real time. David Cowan, Facilities Services Director and Parking & Transportation Administrator, said, “If you’re not used to bus schedules, it can be quite intimidating.”
Cowan said that the locator app can be used for the purple city-wide busses, the Maverick Shuttle, and the Red Eye Shuttle. As of right now, the web page only supports the city-wide busses. Progress is being made to include the Maverick Shuttle and the Red Eye Shuttle.
It is also important to note that the web page and the app have been a collaborative project between IT Solutions and the city of Mankato. Cowan also said that many students have been involved in the development of both the web page and the app. He said, “We could go out and by this commercially for $35,000 a year- I was not prepared to do that… but the need was there.”
The inspiration for this bus app stemmed from the Student Senate, who approached Cowan and made note of our bus system, saying, “you don’t have shelters at every stop and during the winter months it would be nice to have a hope that something’s coming your way.”
This is true. As a bus rider myself, it is daunting to know that you have to completely rely on a chart with scheduled times, knowing that your bus could be late, or not even come. Accidents happen and weather is an especially big problem in Minnesota, so knowing exactly where your ride home is can be a huge relief.
One Mass Media student at MNSU said, “I used a bus locator app when I went to community college in Rochester and it saved me so much time. I didn’t have to walk anywhere or ask my friends for rides.” She also said it was a huge weight off her shoulders.
There is not an exact date as to when the locator app will be done. Although Cowan said he expects it to be “available by the summer,” it is important to know that developing apps take time. It could be a while before we reach that goal.
For now, students may rely on the web hybrid for the city-wide busses. The city-wide busses can take you to all the bus stops around campus, nearby apartments such as Live Active and Highland Hills, and even Wal-Mart.
It is exciting to know that, with the app in the making, students will no longer have to worry about missing a bus, or even being too early.
To access the web based hybrid app, go to https://secure2.mnsu.edu/bustracking/
Feature photo courtesy of mnsu.edu.