A new software application, RideHop—which tracks Michigan Flyer-AirRide motorcoaches to their destinations in East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)—is now available for download by passengers.
RideHop enables passengers to track—in real time—the progress of their scheduled motorcoaches along the routes to their bus stops. The app, which is available for Apple or Android smartphones, updates tracking data every three seconds, so that users can actually see the buses moving in real time.
“We’re the first public transportation operation in the United States to roll out the superior RideHop app for customers,” said Chad Cushman, vice president of Indian Trails, the parent company of Michigan Flyer.
Detroit-based RideHop was originally developed as an in-house shuttle tracking solution at Quicken Loans Inc. In 2015, RideHop was recognized with a Mobiprize award for its unique multi-tenant platform that allows riders, operators and regional authorities to view multiple transportation systems in one place.
Adopting such innovations is par for the course for Indian Trails, Inc., a 105-year-old, family-owned, bus transportation business based in Owosso, Mich. Previously, it was the first company to install two-way radios, video monitors, stereo sound systems, WiFi, and hearing loops on a fleet of buses.
Cushman and Michigan Flyer Vice President Ody Norkin learned about RideHop at a meeting of the Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau and the American Society of Association Executives earlier this year. ASAE had partnered with Indian Trails and RideHop to provide transportation solutions to the nearly 21,000 attendees. Indian Trails, which provided 50 buses for ASAE conventioneers, used the app to assist both drivers and passengers.
“RideHop was created with a simple goal in mind – to provide accurate and reliable information to improve the ground transportation experience,” said Travis Knepper, RideHop CEO. “Unlike old-school tracking systems, RideHop functions in areas where GPS traditionally struggles, such as urban cores with large buildings or underground spaces. Our platform provides on-demand information, helping to create visibility for both the passengers and the service provider.”
“This is particularly great for our passengers in the winter, when they’re waiting for their buses at our Michigan Flyer-AirRide stops at the East Lansing Marriott, Ann Arbor’s Blake Transit Center or Kensington Court Hotel, or at Detroit Metropolitan Airport,” says Norkin. “Using this app, passengers can stay inside and keep warm until they see the bus approaching their stop.”
“It’s also helpful for friends and family members who are waiting at our bus stops to give passengers a ride home,” he adds.
Available to Michigan Flyer-AirRide passengers, the RideHop app was customized to meet their needs, as well as those of drivers and dispatchers.
“It was very important to Michigan Flyer and Indian Trails that their drivers not be distracted by the app, and that the software could be easily used off-the-shelf without being hardwired into the motorcoaches,” said Knepper. “We were able to create a solution, eliminating the need for the driver to look at the iPad screen while the vehicle is in motion.”
After downloading the RideHop app, passengers can simply type in “miflyer” as the ride code. From there, a list of all Michigan Flyer-AirRide route numbers appears from which they can pick their bus route, then tap a target-like symbol to see where their motorcoach is on the map. Green bus icons indicate eastbound coaches, while blue bus icons are westbound. Passengers can zoom in and watch their bus moving along the route in real time or paused to board passengers. Coffee cup icons indicate buses that are full, taking a break, or not in service.
Knepper sees the app as another way to help individuals better manage their time. “It’s gratifying to be able to identify a problem, solve it, and see how it changes transportation to make lives better,” he said.
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Michigan Flyer, LLC—a division of Indian Trails—offers frequent, daily motorcoach connections
between East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metro Airport. Since its launch in 2006, Michigan Flyer
has carried more than 1 million passengers and achieved an extraordinary 98 percent rate of on-time arrivals and departures. On the web at http://www.michiganflyer.com
Indian Trails, Inc., operates one of the largest and newest fleets of deluxe motorcoaches in Michigan. Its services include charters, tours, shuttles, airport transfers, casino runs and daily scheduled routes throughout Michigan and into Chicago and Milwaukee. On the web at http://www.indiantrails.com
RideHop— Detroit-based RideHop LLC gives passengers and operators alike the power to better plan and track ground transportation routes in real-time, improving rider satisfaction and operational efficiency. Different from other GPS tracking systems, RideHop defies the “urban canyon” problem by providing accurate information in areas such as underground, inside tunnels, and beneath parking structures. The 2015 Mobiprize award winning app was built as an in-house shuttle tracking solution at Quicken Loans Inc., the #1 place to work in IT for three years in a row as ranked by Computerworld. Download the RideHop app by visiting the App Store or Google Play. For more information about RideHop, please visit ridehop.com.
For RideHop, contact Travis Knepper (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 313-545-8450.