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An increasingly common tool in urban areas, a real-time transit app has come to the Upper Valley. You can now use an iPhone or Android to see where Advance Transit’s buses are located in real time and when a bus will stop near you. Want to plan farther ahead? Once you click on a stop, you can also scroll through the schedule to see when boardings occur throughout the day. Just tap on the estimated arrival time to see a full schedule.

I recently tested the app for a short trip through White River Junction. It was a slightly cold day – perhaps 25 degrees with the wind chill – so I pulled up the app from the comfort of my heated office. I saw I had about fifteen minutes before an Orange Line bus arrived at the closest stop, Bugbee Senior Center, so I waited at my desk. Once I had only six minutes left, I headed to the stop across the street.

A man in his early 20s was already waiting there. I glanced down at my phone and saw an orange bus icon on a map, which showed me that the real bus had made its way to the end of Sykes Mountain Avenue.  I waited and the bus icon sat there. Another man walked up to the stop for the Orange Line. The three of us each stood there and messed around with our smartphones. I started to wonder if the bus got stuck at a long light, but then the estimated time of arrival changed to give the bus two extra minutes and the bus icon moved ahead.

The bus arrived right at the updated time. I showed the driver the app and asked if he was stuck at the light on Sykes. He said he had a stop there connecting to Greyhound. That explained the slight delay. “It works,” I told him. As I rode the bus, I continued to watch my location pin and the bus icon. The blue dot showing my location moved faster than the bus icon, but the two came together when I got off at my stop.

Now that the real-time app is available, Advance Transit is looking for people like you and me to test it and provide feedback. It’s easy to do! Visit the App Store or Google Play for the free download. Search “Advance Transit” (and make sure you filter for iPhone only apps if you’re using an iPad). Use it on a trip. Submit feedback through the main menu.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find yourself realizing that this app could make it quite easy to use Advance Transit for mid-day trips, like a lunchtime run to King Arthur Flour or an afternoon meeting in Lebanon.