Columbia Transit Promotes New Bus Software

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Transit is running a contest this week to promote its new DoubleMap GPS tracking system and smartphone app.

The contest runs from Monday to Friday, giving Columbia commuters the chance to win free bus passes by participating in a city-wide scavenger hunt. Each day, the city selects four random bus stops in Columbia to post sandwich boards with a picture of the DoubeMaps program. The first person to find each sign wins a four-month Columbia bus pass. The first 50 commuters to take a picture with a sign and post it to the Find N' Ride contest Facebook page win a one month pass.

Teresa White, a marketing coordinator for Columbia Public Works, said the scavenger hunt is a great way for people to become aware of the new technology available to them.

"We want to get customers engaged and excited about public transportation," White said. "The DoubleMap app will help people to use the bus more efficiently. It really puts the technology and information at their fingertips."

The GPS system, which can be accessed on a smartphone or Columbia Transit's website, gives commuters a map with real time locations and estimated arrival times for city buses. The system became available to residents in August.

The contest also utilizes Columbia Transit's social media.  Each morning White will tweet out a picture of that day's DoubleMap sign with a context clue of the where it is located. 

The use of the new software is the first phase of the city's "Como Connect" plan, a project to completely overhaul the current bus system. 

"Como Connect is a community project to improve and update the system with the focus on development and future needs of the system," White said. "We want to make it more convenient and reliable for everyone."

The contest runs all day with two signs at bus stops in the morning and two new locations in the afternoon.