New App Helps Riders Track Port Authority Buses
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — We hear it a lot from Port Authority riders who get stranded at stops waiting for their bus, but now there is some new technology that lets you know when your ride is coming, and it’s free.
For an app, it has an odd name.
“Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’ in Italian,” explains John Zimmerman, the developer of Tiramisu.
But when “pick me up” means getting on board a Port Authority bus, the name starts to make sense.
“When they get on the bus, they start a GPS trace from their phone,” said Zimmerman. “The app pushes real time information out to all of the riders.”
Carnegie Mellon University researchers created the free app, which is only available on iPhones for now with a version for Android soon to come.
Riders share their commutes, and Tiramisu gives them their just desserts in the way of knowing almost exactly when their bus is on the way.
“This is a Pittsburgh solution. This is using the community to gather information for the community’s benefit,” said Heather Pharo, of the Port Authority. “Port Authority will benefit too because any information riders can provide on service is always useful.”
In order for the app to succeed in providing accurate information, developers say they need more riders to use it. Today, CMU deployed students with smartphones to record data and demonstrate who the app works.
“The more people that trace, the more data they produce,” Zimmerman said. “It’s about making information for themselves and for others.”
Developers plan to work with local employers and business groups to get more riders on board.