The Breckenridge Free Ride announced the launch of a new website this week, the latest in a series of technological upgrades geared to keeping riders in the loop on the transit system's operations.
The website, BreckFreeRide.com, includes an interactive schedule, launched in November, that allows riders to determine which routes they need to use to get to their destinations, as well as route and system maps.
Breckenridge transit manager Maribeth Lewis-Baker, who designed the site, said it was created to provide the most frequently requested information up front.
"We've tried to make our website fairly intuitive and easy to use," she stated in an email to the Summit Daily. "Having the BreckFreeRide.com domain name separate from the town (website) is something we had heard from our customers on our biannual surveys as something that was needed."
Transit officials will be able to post lost-and-found notices and service and schedule information to the site and use it to interact with the public.
System operators will also begin putting up real-time service alerts on a Free Ride-specific Twitter feed.
The website is just one of a series of technological changes ushered in over the last several months.
Last year, the system introduced a new digital ridership tracking system with tablets installed on all the buses. The $35,000 system was expected to save Free Ride approximately $50,000 a year and cut back on staff time, but with the idea going national in the transit industry, it now also has the potential to produce royalty revenue for the local system.
Transit systems are required to track ridership numbers for a national transit database. The numbers affect the systems' ability to land grant funding for future projects.
The interactive schedule followed in November, and is now used by as many as 300 people daily, according to a statement from the town.
Up next is a "Where's my Bus" feature that will allow riders to track their bus while they're waiting with a system that updates itself every 30 to 60 seconds using GPS data.
Officials said they expect the feature to go live in the next few weeks.
"As one can expect with some complicated technology, it takes a lot of preparation to get systems up and running," Lewis-Baker said in a release from the town. "We are getting closer and appreciate the public's patience. The wait will most certainly be worth the final product."
The tracking feature will be available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android and will also operate from the website.