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Santa Monica Big Blue Bus System Offers Free Wi-Fi, Improved Stops
By Lookout Staff
February 15, 2019 -- Passengers aboard 19 Santa Monica buses can now access free Wi-Fi service that will soon be available on all of the fleet's newest 40-foot buses, agency officials announced Thursday.
The Big Blue Bus (BBB) system also is retrofitting 190 "high-volume" bus stops with solar-powered real-time signs and LED lights, officials said. The project is expected to be completed by mid-year.
“Through our community engagement efforts, our customers helped us prioritize investments, which included Wi-Fi, improved bus stop safety through lighting and the addition of real-time information," said Ed King, BBB's director of transit services.
Once completed, the revamped stops -- combined with existing real-time signs -- will allow 76 percent of the agency's customers to access bus arrival information, King said
"We aim to enhance the customer experience by taking the guesswork out of riding," he said.
The solar-powered real-time signs, which are activated by pushing a button, will be installed at 10 large bus shelters in Santa Monica and 166 bus stops in LA, agency officials said.
Solar-powered LED lights will also be added to 14 small bus shelters in Santa Monica.
The bus arrival information can be easily read in daylight or heard by activating a text-to-speech audio announcement, officials said.
The signs are also programmed to display timely information about detours and bus stop closures. All the signs are made in the U.S.
The 190 retrofitted stops average 26,908 daily pick-ups each weekday, or 61 percent of all BBB customers, officials said.
The features and stops were chosen with the help of the more than 500 BBB customers who participated in an online survey that "enabled them to vote for upgrades at their preferred bus stop locations," BBB officials said.
"Customers provided substantial feedback on safety and performance," officials said. The upgrades address "an essential need for improved safety, reliability of information and convenience in BBB’s service area."
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