November 12, 2021 Getting around
Thomas Idoyaga has worked for the Regional Transit System for 11 years, and he hasn’t had as much feedback about a company change as he has in the past two months.
He’s received countless emails and calls, letting him know that the TransLoc app is down. But the app isn’t down — it’s gone, and it’s been gone. The app was recently replaced by a new one called GNV RideRTS.
RTS launched the new app in September, mainly to help clarify detours caused by construction on the University of Florida campus, but many riders haven’t switched to the new app. Out of over 25 people surveyed at the Rosa Parks Downtown Transfer Station, not one person said they had switched.
“I use Google Maps,” said frequent RTS rider Quinn Healy. “I’ve always used it and I’ve never had problems.”
Healy, a University of Florida student, rides the bus five days a week. Due to the construction and resulting detours, he now takes two buses to get home instead of (his usual) one. He said he tried the TransLoc app while it was still around, and he was frustrated with the lack of updates regarding the detours.
“I messed up my route like every time I used it,” he said. “So, I was like, ‘OK, let’s switch…back to [Google Maps].’”
Idoyaga drove buses for the Regional Transit System for four years. He’s driven Routes 21, 75, 46, 11, 17, 13 and plenty more — nearly every route RTS offers.
“I wanted to drive all of them,” he said.
After four years as a bus driver, Idoyaga became the marketing and communications specialist for the company. Now, he handles community outreach, advertising, social media and more. Recently, he’s been bombarded with emails about the app.
In an emailed statement, the Director of the Office of Communications and Engagement for the City of Gainesville Shelby Taylor said that “Anyone attempting to access the old TransLoc [app] will receive an error message.” She warned that the service was discontinued after 60 days of overlap with GNV RideRTS.
Idoyaga said he understands that with any change, it takes time for the community to adjust. He also said RTS is making every effort possible to help riders switch to the new app, which offers new features such as detailed detour routes and live updates.
According to Taylor, RTS has released in-app notifications, online ads, internal bus ads and social media campaigns to let people know of the recent changes.
With the construction on campus estimated to last over two years, Idoyaga said he hoped students and commuters would continue to adjust to changes. RTS officials are working closely with vendors to streamline the app and fix it according to riders’ feedback, he said. This means that those who have switched to the new app will soon see improvements.
“We look forward to unveiling new [features] including destination signs at our major transfer stations,” Taylor said, “and mobile fares for online bus pass purchases.”
The app is currently available on Google Play, the Apple App Store or in a desktop version.
“It’s an ongoing process,” Idoyaga said. “You’re never finished… If you look behind-the-scenes, it’s always a constant improvement.”
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