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City to update bus stops after launch of Google Maps tool

Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia
January 17, 2013 - 2:16 PM

A new online application allows transit users to map their routes for free, but the City is forking over $29,000 for new bus stop signs to help promote it.

Kamloops city councillors voted on Tuesday to install the new signage throughout the city.

The decision came after an announcement Jan. 7 that the Google Maps website will now include BC Transit schedules and route information for Kamloops at no cost to the user.

"We are now one of four BC Transit systems that offer free planning," said Quinn Savage, City of Kamloops marketing and communications co-ordinator.

Transit users can plan trips on the Google Maps website under the 'get directions' option. By entering in a current location, desired location and departure time, the tool provides suggested routes and the buses to board from each location, as well as expected trip durations.

In conjunction with this new tool, the City is updating bus stop signage with the universal transit symbol and a unique identifier for easy recognition on Google Maps.

Savage said the signs have not been updated since the 90s.

"A lot of our signs have faded away. It's time for an update," she said.

Two sets of signs - larger ones at major stops and smaller ones at minor stops - will include the route name in conjunction with Google Maps, whether or not the stop is wheel chair accessible, as well as a quick reference website and phone number.

"We're really excited to upgrade all of our signs throughout the city," Savage said.

Total costs amount to $30,000 for the signs and $13,000 for installation. The City will share the costs with BC Transit, with $29,000 from the City and the remaining $14,000 from BC Transit.

While Google Maps streamlines transit schedules in the online realm, Coun. Donovan Cavers showed concern over accessibility of the print schedule.

BC Transit senior regional transit manager Kevin Schubert said there has been no talks of reducing access to the print version. He said they plan on continuing to provide them based on demand.

— Jessica Wallace

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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