When is the Bus Coming and How Does that Relate to Innovation?

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

When is the Bus Coming and How Does that Relate to Innovation?

When I travel into New York City, I typically take the bus.  Since I don’t memorize the schedule, I go online to get it and show up around the time it’s scheduled to come to my stop.  The last time I went to New York though, the bus was late.  And I was getting nervous I was going to miss my meeting.  And it was freezing and snow and ice was on the ground (yes, I know it was like that for seemingly the entire winter in the Northeast US) so it just wasn’t a great experience.   I was wondering if I missed the bus since I cut it kind of close due to the cold.  I thought, “there must be smartphone apps for tracking busses.”  After all, I know there are companies that do truck tracking. 

I’ve finally gotten around to checking this out.  There are indeed plenty of worldwide GPS bus tracking systems.  I noticed many of them talk about a brand called NextBus but there are others, and as I suspected, they seem to have truck/vehicle tracking backgrounds.  This makes sense.

And these kind of value-added services, like the 511 service I talked about a few weeks ago, make sense to be coming to the public sector.  They marry the wireless technology capability with your technology and a need, and hence, a new value-added service is born.

But here in the New York area, they are just coming, and it seems first to the private bus companies that serve New York.  In just a couple of minutes of searching, I saw one for lower Manhattan, and there is one for the New York Waterway, which is a ferry that connects people from New Jersey to New York that I use sometimes.  They offer a bus to take you around parts of Manhattan once you get to Manhattan.  Here is a screenshot I took of what you’d see on your smartphone.  I did this for my iPad and laptop and it all looked the same.  It would be nice if there was an app though!


Anyway, to complete my story, no I didn’t miss the bus. It was late due to the conditions that day.  Alas, there is no mention of this technology for the bus company that services my town into New York.  There aren’t too many other options without getting into my car, so I guess they don’t feel the need to do so.  A perfect example of why competition spurs innovation!  The New York Waterway is one of the options I mentioned relating to getting in my car.  And they know that.  So they need to offer better service since it’s not as convenient.  And maybe now I will use their services more often!

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