Freedom Transit celebrates the New Year with new amenities | News

Freedom Transit reflects on the mantra “New Year, New You”.

The transportation company, which connects greater Washington County with the Mon Valley and Pittsburgh, recently completed upgrades to five area bus stops and rolled out a mobile app that provides passengers with bus information. in real time.

“This is something that has been in the works for about … last year,” said Alexandra Sakalik, director of outreach and marketing for Freedom Transit. “Dark hits at 4:30 am, 4:30 am now. We wanted something safer for our runners.

To ensure passenger safety and make waiting for the bus more comfortable, Freedom has installed new shelters, equipped with benches and lights, at five locations in Washington and Canonsburg.

Upgraded sites with shelters, seating, and solar-powered lighting are stops at Beau Street Park and Ride, Crumrine Tower, Jefferson Avenue outside Pathways, Valleyview Terrace, and Southpointe Park and Ride.

“They are just safer places for our runners, especially now that we have the benches,” said Sakalik. “We have already identified a few locations for our next phase. “

Sakalik said user feedback and traffic patterns have been factored into stops that have received upgrades, and the next phase of upgrades is expected to be completed in fall 2022.

While some passengers wait for seats and lights to be installed at additional stops, the wait for a real-time bus ride app is over for all Freedom Transit commuters.

In early December, the company launched a mobile app that offers a variety of data on commuters. Created in collaboration with developer Modeshift, the app uses Google Maps so passengers can track their bus in real time and locate the closest bus stop to them.

“Let’s just say you’re closest to Local A,” Sakalik said. “(The app) will tell you how many extra minutes, will tell you how to get to the bus stop.”

Passengers can also link their smart cards to the app, meaning the app can be used in place of physical bus passes. Commuters can also pay for their rides through the app.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sakalik said more than 70 Freedom Transit passengers had the app installed on their smartphones – a number well above the company’s expectations, given that the app launched only two years ago. weeks.

“We think that’s a pretty good number,” Sakalik said, noting that the first pass sold through the app was a Prexie pass (Freedom Transit offers Washington School District students discounted rides).

Freedom Transit, like several transit companies in the region, is looking for ways to welcome commuters back on buses after the number of transit riders drops during the global pandemic. The company hopes new amenities, including free onboard Wi-Fi, which rolled out over the summer, and improved stops will encourage people to board.

“Last year has really been a promising year for us,” said Sakalik. “I think a lot of public transport agencies are doing everything they can to bring users back. We have a lot to do. We’re just happy to be a part of this change and happy to have new runners and bring back old runners.

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