Steamboat Springs When Steamboat Springs Transit launches its new winter bus service next month, a technical support team will be standing by.
The launch of the new daytime winter schedule Dec. 7 will coincide with the launch of a new GPS tracking service that will allow riders to use their smartphones to track buses in real time and see exactly when a bus is due to arrive at any of the bus stops in the city.
If a bus is delayed, riders can see its new estimated arrival time.
The app should be especially handy for some riders this season because the Transit Service happens to be rolling out the most significant changes to its routes and schedules in several years.
Riders who plan to use their smartphones to track buses and plan their trips can download RouteShout, a tracking app that it is being utilized by more than 57 transit agencies across the country.
Steamboat residents and visitors can take the app for a test spin by visiting www.routeshout.com and taking a look at how it works for transit agencies in places like Breckenridge or Greeley.
Steamboat Springs will appear on the app's list Dec. 7.
Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said the tablet computers that will support the GPS service on the buses are due to arrive any day now.
Staff from RouteMatch, which offers the tracking technology and uses the smartphone app, will travel from Atlanta and Denver to Steamboat to test the system and also make sure it's going smoothly when it launches next month.
The new GPS technology isn't the only reason preparing for the busy winter bus season has been more involved this year than in previous years.
New bus shelters are going up now across the city.
And residents and visitors will have to adapt to a significantly different winter schedule that was adopted in an effort to reduce the operating and personnel costs of running the bus service by $100,000.
Anyone still wondering what the Cinnamon Line is, which stops have been eliminated or moved and what lines now require transferring buses can view the new winter schedule below.
The biggest changes to the upcoming bus schedule include the longer wait times west of the Stock Bridge Transit Center, new transfers on a variety of bus routes, the elimination of the on-call service of the Yellow Line and a reduction in the time the Purple and Orange lines will run during the day.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10