New app launched Tuesday gives Lift riders real-time info, custom updates
WINTER PARK — Any transit rider who has ever stood in the cold or snow at a bus stop praying the next Lift will come by soon will now be able to avoid the frostbite by downloading the new Lift Rider app.
The Town of Winter Park launched the Lift Rider app on Sept. 4 in an effort to offer a more user-friendly app that provides riders with features to better their experience.
“I think the new Lift app is going to improve the way people interact with the system,” said Michael Koch, transit manager for Winter Park.
The app allows users to view bus routes and schedules, track active buses, receive notifications for bus arrival times and favorite routes and stops. It also lets bus drivers and transit workers send notifications to the app, such as messages regarding weather and bus schedules.
“I think that the information pushing capabilities are going to be really helpful too because we will be able to communicate more with our riders and that was also something we had heard from our riders,” Koch said.
Winter Park previously partnered with RideHop, which provided information on routes and real-time locations to riders through an app that required users to have a rider code to get area specific information. However, RideHop went out of business at the beginning of the month.
Koch said this app is easier to use because it doesn’t require a ride code and has more features to help visitors better navigate the area, such as showing all the available routes.
“We heard from a lot of riders in the past that they could see the bus but they didn’t know when it was going to get there and having an estimated time of arrival would be really helpful,” he said.
The new Lift Rider app was created by Ride Systems LLC, which the town contracted with for an initial $59,000 and an annual fee of $19,800.
The new app also offers features that town staff can use when planning services, such as the number of riders boarding and getting off at each stop and the on-time performance of the buses. Koch said this will help the town adjust the service to better fit the town’s needs.
“We’ll be able to better understand where our demand is, both where it’s coming from and going to,” he said. “Obviously we know that the resort in wintertime is a huge attraction, (…) but I think there are some other locations that we’re missing out on that collecting this data is really going to help us with.”
Ridership increased in the summer months compared to last year and Koch believes that offering this app will contribute to a continuation of the increase in riders “based off the user-friendliness of the new app.”
Currently, the town is in talks with Granby to revive the regional commuter route year-round, so Granby residents will be able to take advantage of the improved services as well.
The town plans to replace all the bus stop signage referencing RideHop with the new Lift Rider signage by the end of November.
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