The Drive: Weather, detours can throw off NexTrip

  • Article by: Tim Harlow , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 5:36 AM

When a 6-inch snowstorm hit the Twin Cities during the morning rush hour Jan. 30 and brought traffic to a crawl, Mary Hirsch turned to NexTrip to find out the status of her Metro Transit bus.

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A440Feb. 16, 14 8:53 PM

The paid transit app is lame. It's only useful for stops in your immediate vicinity. Terrible for trip planning, and doesn't link to stored routes in My Metro Transit.

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computerdudeFeb. 16, 14 9:01 PM

I love riding the bus, but NexTrip is extremely frustrating and inaccurate. It is the exception rather than the norm when the signs display accurate times. For example, I have one bus that, without fail, arrives 3 minutes early every day. The signs never accurately reflect this (the bus is at the station, and it still says 3 minutes). Even after the bus has left, it still counts down and displays "due" three minutes later when the bus is gone (I know because I've missed it). I'm fairly convinced that the GPS location of the bus has almost nothing to do with what is displayed on the sign (system relies more on scheduled time than GPS location). On occasion, if a bus is running late, it will pop back onto the board, but again, the times are never really accurate. I can see a bus one stoplight away, and it will still say 5 minutes. I understand there are a lot of busses and a lot of unexpected variables, but it doesn't seem like it should be that hard to get semi-accurate times on these signs! From what I overhear, everybody on the Marq2 corridor completely ignores the times on the signs.

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steve89Feb. 16, 14 9:30 PM

"In cases where buses are 20 minutes or more behind, NexTrip doesn’t show an actual departure time, said John Siqveland, a Metro Transit spokesman." In other words, it's worthless. C'mon, Metro Transit, this is not rocket science. Seattle has had real-time bus information for years and years. Get with it.

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Cindyr73Feb. 17, 14 6:17 AM

If the bus arrives and then departs three minutes ahead of schedule without fail, every day, the bus company should be called and alerted to this. I know a friend that missed a bus - she saw it arrive and then leave from her stop and she was one block away from the stop - 5 minutes early; she called the bus company and the bus was forced to swing back and pick her up, because it was early.

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jenyukiFeb. 17, 14 9:14 AM

I agree with Steve89 - I used nextrip, and if the bus if 5 mins late - fine it works ok. But it's pretty much worthless if the busses are running later than that.

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mustang07Feb. 17, 14 1:16 PM

It is absolutely astounding the inaccuracy of NexTrip. I understand that predicting the exact arrival of a bus is difficult, but the frequency of woefully inaccurate information is unacceptable.

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Vaughn7Feb. 17, 14 6:52 PM

As a daily bus rider, I'm grateful for this article, because it finally explains in technical terms NexTrip's epic fail during this especially harsh winter. But it's >frustrating< to get this information from the media instead of MTC directly. I overheard numerous fellow riders on their cellphones complaining to MTC about busses' lateness and NexTrip's inaccuracy on those very subzero and snowy days when accuracy was most needed. One standard line was to refer riders to the stops' individual ID numbers, which was a total diversion. I don't blame the bus phone representatives who have to face an angry public. I do certainly fault MTC, the Met Council, and our city and state representatives who have let transit mediocrity in Minnesota persist long after competitor cities have surpassed us -- and who seem oblivious to how unnecessarily arduous bus transit is here.

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