Sweeping Muni app prediction upgrade could wipe out ‘ghost bus’ problem

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Tens of thousands of San Francisco bus riders rely on NextMuni to time their trips, but The City has acknowledged the system can suffer from inaccuracies and what some call “ghost buses.”

That’s when the stated bus arrival time on a smartphone or on one of The City’s 867 NextMuni signs, says perhaps “5 minutes” away, for instance, and then suddenly disappears — no bus, no prediction — leaving riders stranded and confused.
Now, however, Muni’s “ghost buses” are about to get ghost-busted.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is planning a $127 million overhaul of its radio systems and a new computer dispatch system, which the agency revealed in a recent small community meeting may also vastly improve its bus prediction system, known as NextMuni.

And perhaps — if NextBus is again chosen to partner with Muni in a public process — that new communication system may be coupled with an anticipated overhaul of the core NextBus service itself, which is sold by a third-party company, Cubic, to cities across the country…

The Save Muni group, including members Bob Feinbaum, Joan Wood and Gerald Cauthen, continued to pepper Walton and Stevenson with questions, revealing an intimate picture of how NextMuni would improve months before any formal announcement of such changes…(more)

Thanks to SaveMuni for uncovering the details of how Muni plans to fix the ghost bus problem. And thanks to Joe for bringing this to our attention. We hope all the “mays” will turn into “wills” at some point. Until then, we shall have to wait and see.