New system to track bus ridership

Electronic fareboxes now installed on city buses will provide a wealth of information on local riding habits.

Electronic fareboxes now installed on city buses will provide a wealth of information on local riding habits.

One of the changes is that all bus passes are now encoded so instead of simply showing their pass to the driver as they boarded, passengers have to swipe the card.

When it comes to economy tickets, these will now be fed into a slot rather than dropped into the fare box.

And while cash paying riders will continue to drop the coins into the fare box, there is one added wrinkle: the driver hits a button recording what fare class that person represents – such as adult or student.

“It gives you an incredible amount of data,” said municipal clerk Walter McLellan, explaining that until now the city has carried out a two-year survey and then extrapolated from there.

For example, it will now be possible to track not just the number of times monthly passes are used but also the time of boarding and on which route.

The idea is that all that information will help detect ridership trends and be useful in future route and service planning.