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Real-time Information

Real-time information refers to schedules that have been updated with the latest trip information. Predicting when your bus or train will depart relies on data from sources such as routing and the Global Positioning System (GPS). These predictions are used by our customer information systems and shared with app developers. Real-time travel tools can help you plan and adjust your trips for the best travel experience.

Travel tools and data sources

OC Transpo has a variety of real-time travel tools to help you plan trips reliably:

All travel tools look for and indicate the best prediction for departures based on data sources, such as:

When reliable real-time data is available, our travel tools indicate real-time departures. On screens, this is usually marked by an asterisk. On the OC Transpo app, the time is marked in green. When a trip departs exactly at its scheduled time, it will appear as a scheduled departure.

When there is no real-time data available for a route, trip, or stop, the travel tools will provide the scheduled departure time. (Example: When a request has been made before the trip has started).

Limitations

There are a number of other scenarios in which providing real-time information is limited:

  • First stop on the trip: To allow time for route changeover once the bus arrives at the station, real-time information is not provided.
  • Trips scheduled to start in the future: Real-time data only becomes available when the route begins its trip. Real-time schedules for the first few stops will only become available at that time.
    • Example: Real-time departures at Hurdman Station Stop E for a Route 44 Billings Bridge trip will not be available because that is the first stop of the trip. Customers waiting for Route 44 Billings Bridge at other stops along the route will not see real-time departures for that trip until that trip has started.
  • Emergency detours: Detours that occur last minute or that are not formally entered into the schedule, may not provide real-time information. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for alerts or check the Alerts page. Users of the OC Transpo app and some third-party apps will see this detour information in the Alert feed, but the real-time and schedule data will not be updated.
  • Traffic patterns: If a vehicle is completely stuck in traffic and has not moved for several minutes, the initial real-time predictions may not be updated. Such significant delays are communicated as customer alerts.
  • O-Train Line 1: Real-time information is only displayed on transit information screens on the train platforms (not those in lobbies or entrances of stations).
  • Cancelled trips: We recognize that when trips are not delivered or arrive late, this can impact your travel. We also acknowledge that not every cancellation has been shared via the OC Transpo Live Twitter feed. When time or resources are limited, we prioritize notifying customers travelling on trips such as the Connexion routes, infrequent trips, school trips, or trips with higher ridership.
  • Technical difficulties: If a vehicle loses GPS connection, real-time information goes offline.

Improvements

OC Transpo is committed to ensuring that you receive accurate, relevant, and timely information regarding service disruptions for all parts of the system.

We are working to fill vacant bus operator positions and increase training sessions throughout the year. Our priority is to reduce any effects on service as we aim to reduce the number of trips that are not delivered or arrive late. We expect service reliability to increase as new bus operator trainees graduate and are booked to work.

There has also been a recent investment in a generational update to our control/dispatch system for operations. All of our buses are equipped with a system that indicates the status and real-time location of in-service buses. This updated system will ultimately lead to more reliable information for customers.

Future plans

OC Transpo continues to consider new methods of publishing data to expand options to customers:

  • Exploring various ways of publishing real-time information.
  • Assessing developer preferences.
  • Reviewing customer feedback.
  • Reaching out to peer agencies across the world.  

The solutions will need to bring together all published data in a way that all customers can easily understand and access via their preferred channels.