Worcester Regional Transit Authority

508-791-WRTA

WRTA Bustracker FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Bustracker

  1. What is Bustracker?
  2. How does Bustracker work?
  3. How accurate are the predictions?
  4. What are the benefits of the system?
  5. Are there fees for using Bustracker?
  6. How do I use the Bustracker service?
  7. How do I look up a Bus Stop Number?
  8. How many arrival times can I see or hear for a particular route and stop?
  9. How many bus stops are there?
  10. How many bus routes and lines are there?
  11. What could happen to cause a prediction to be wrong?
  12. What will happen on holidays?
  13. Can I bookmark my bus stop?
  14. Does the site offer access for the visually impaired?
  15. How does the system remember the last stop I specified?
  16. Do I need to have cookies enabled?
  17. Where do I find schedules?
  18. Is my privacy protected?

What is Bustracker?

Bustracker is a service designed to help take the guesswork out of bus arrival and help you to get to your stop at the same time as your bus. Bustracker uses satellite technology to find the specific location of a bus; then sends the estimated arrival time to a central server which broadcasts predicted arrival times to cell phones, websites or other mobile device. [TOP]


How does Bustracker work?

Bustracker uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology and predictive arrival algorithms to track buses on their routes. Taking into account the actual position of the transit vehicles, their intended stops, and the typical traffic patterns, Bustracker predicts bus arrivals with a high degree of accuracy. Estimates are updated constantly as vehicles are tracked. [TOP]


How accurate are the predictions?

Bustracker technology tracks buses on their routes every 30 seconds and the information sent via the Internet is updated every minute. The accuracy of predictions varies depending upon many factors, including changes in traffic patterns, accidents, etc. Therefore, Bustracker cannot specify an exact overall accuracy. In general though, the margin of error is less than one minute for predictions of five minutes away or less. For ten-minute predictions, the margin of error is less than two minutes. Predictions are biased slightly early to avoid people missing buses. [TOP]


What are the benefits of the system?

The Bustracker system puts riders in control. Even when you know what the schedule is, there are a number of reasons that vehicles may not arrive when expected. Heavy traffic, breakdowns, and other unforeseen problems can delay or completely interrupt service. By using Bustracker to determine when the next vehicle is going to arrive, you can minimize time spent waiting for a bus. Specifically, you can determine exactly when to leave home or the office in order to meet the bus. [TOP]

Are there fees for using Bustracker?

WRTA charges no fees for using Bustracker. But you may be assessed data or air-time charges from your cell phone or Internet provider if you exceed your monthly limits. [TOP]

How do I use Bustracker service?

  • By Text: Text “WRTA” and your stop ID to 41411. Leave a space between the word “WRTA” and your stop number when entering text.
  • By Mobile Web: Point your mobile device or smart phone to m.metro.net and click Bustracker. If GPS is enabled, your phone will automatically find the nearest stop or you can enter a new stop number. Bookmark your stop for future easy access.
  • By Phone: Call 508.296.TRAK (8725) .  Enter your bus stop number and route number when asked and you’ll hear the estimated arrival time of the next bus at your stop.
  • Online: Go to www.therta.com/stopid  (for example for City Hall, Stop ID 621 – www.therta.com/621) Enter your bus stop number and select your route from the drop down menu. Choose the direction you’re traveling and select your bus stop from the list.

How do I look up a Bus Stop Number?

Remember that your stop number is NOT the same as your bus route number. Find your stop number online here.  [TOP]


How many arrival times can I see or hear for a particular route and stop?

Up to three for the primary selected route. Other routes servicing the stop can also appear for up to two hours from the buses’ scheduled arrival times. [TOP]


How many bus stops are there?

There are about 1,300 bus stops in the WRTA Bus System. [TOP]


How many bus routes and lines are there?

46 buses on 23 bus routes. [TOP]


What could happen to cause a prediction to be wrong?

Unexpected detours, accidents, traffic slowdowns and severe weather can cause predictions to be less accurate. Broken bus equipment also can cause predictions to not be available for that bus. [TOP]


What will happen on holidays?

Depending upon the holiday, WRTA will run a Saturday, Sunday or weekday schedule. Predicted bus arrival times will be affected by the unusual traffic patterns and other factors unique to a holiday or special event. The predicted arrival times will not be as accurate on detoured routes during special events, such as the 4th of July. For a complete holiday schedule list, please click here. [TOP]


Can I bookmark my bus stop?

Yes, on a smart phone or on the web you can bookmark the arrival predictions page for the bus stops you use. This will save you having to select your route and stop each time you use Bustracker. You can also print and keep a wallet card to help you remember which stop ID numbers you commonly use. [TOP]


Does the site offer access for the visually impaired?

Yes, the accessible version has an especially streamlined interface optimized for accessibility and performance for visually impaired customers and mobile-device users. Select the ADA Website option. [TOP]


How does the system remember the last stop I specified?

The Bustracker system uses a browser cookie to keep track of the last stop for which real-time arrival information was obtained on your computer or mobile device. [TOP]


Do I need to have cookies enabled?

You can obtain real-time predictions even if cookies are disabled. Cookies are only used to remember the last stop for which you wanted predictions and to support animated bus locations on the live map. So while this feature is not necessary, it can make it quicker for you to get your desired information. [TOP]


Where do I find schedules?

Schedules for all 23 Fixed Route Services can be found here. [TOP]


Is my privacy protected?

Bustracker does not track your identity. The system only keeps track of the last stop selected on your computer. If you choose, you can even eliminate this record by turning off the cookies for your browser. You will still be able to obtain predictions. For cell phone, PDA, and SMS sites Bustracker will only use any collected information for providing passenger information like snow delay notices, route detours, and other updates to you. Alerts, bulletins, and notices are infrequent. Bustracker will NOT use this information for any other purpose nor sell or distribute this information to any other organization. [TOP]

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