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New GPS Units Intended to Keep DASH Buses On Track

By Eric Richardson with Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, October 05, 2009, at 01:57PM
IMGP3186 Ed Fuentes

One of the new DASH GPS displays, photographed on a DASH A bus last week.

DASH drivers have a new tool in the fight against bunching. GPS units now being installed in Downtown DASH buses allow drivers to see whether they are keeping the proper spacing between the buses in front and behind.

For riders, the new devices offer the promise of more predictable wait times. That should be good news to anyone who has ever waited too long at a bus stop only to finally see two or three buses pull up at once.

Last year, the City required that GPS tracking be put into the bid responses from transit providers interested in operating Downtown DASH. Veolia Transportation was chosen, and took over operation in January.

The devices now being installed give a graphic display of the distance between the driver's vehicle and those in front and behind. By slowing down or speeding up, the driver is able to keep his or her vehicle near the "Ideal" mark indicated on the display.

If buses indeed keep to that mark, wait times end up being the five to ten minutes promised by LADOT. That's better for riders, but it's also better for LADOT. When buses bunch up, more riders end up in the front bus. That leads to more stops for that bus, and slows down the service.

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