How to Track Departures on Your Transit Line
Public transit can sometimes be a guessing game. Can you trust that departure time? Will the bus show up? That’s why we’re here: open the app and you’ll see when the departure is in real-time, when you have to rely on the schedule, or even if your trip was cancelled.
Here's what this article covers:
- Check Real-time Information on the Main Screen
- Identify Real-time, Scheduled, and Cancelled Trips
- Where Real-Time Information Comes From
- Contact Us About Inaccurate Information
Check Real-time Information on the Main Screen
You can check if a departure time in the app is real-time by looking for two pulsating waves next to the countdown.
If these waves aren't present, the times in the app will be greyed out to show the posted schedule, and won't reflect any delays or service changes.
Tap any line on the main screen to see additional upcoming departures. Then you can tap "More departures" to see the line’s complete schedule.
Identify Real-time, Scheduled, and Cancelled Trips
When you see real-time waves next to a departure and a bus or train icon on the map, that indicates that you’re looking at real-time information!
When the departure time is greyed out, that means we’re showing you the scheduled departure time. We know scheduled arrivals aren’t always the most accurate, which is why we try to display real-time information whenever it’s available.
Sometimes trips are cancelled: maybe the vehicle broke down, or there isn’t a driver available. To let riders know about a cancellation, transit agencies can add this information to the app in real time. (Not all agencies do this yet, but it’s becoming more and more common!) You’ll know a trip has been cancelled by your agency when the departure has a real-time symbol but it’s turned grey and is crossed out.
If your line has real-time information for later trips but not for a trip that’s supposed to come first, we’ll analyze the data and determine if we think this scheduled trip has been cancelled. The trip will be greyed out and crossed out to let you know we don’t think it’s coming.
Where Real-time Information Comes From
Whenever possible, Transit provides real-time arrival information about your trip so you can get more accurate predictions about when it will actually arrive.
Here's how real-time works:
- Transit agencies use GPS trackers in their buses and trains to monitor the position of the vehicle.
- Then, they use the vehicle location to calculate a more precise arrival time for your stop.
- They send this new arrival time to us and we display it in the app!
Since real-time arrivals are based on the actual location of the vehicle, they'll change depending on whether it’s running early or late.
While we would love to provide perfect real-time information for all transit services, we don’t actually operate the transit system. But there are things that can help improve real-time information available in the app:
- If your transit agency doesn’t have real-time information in the app, help out your fellow riders by tapping GO to crowdsource the real-time location of your vehicle.
- We’re also working in dozens of cities to come up with our own real-time predictions that are better than what you’ll find in any other app. You’ll see a notice in the app if they’ve rolled out to your city!
We’ve begun adding a new feature to the app that automatically detects bus detours and shows them in the app. No more missed buses because your stop has moved!
Note: Currently, this feature is only available as a beta for users in our hometown of Montreal thanks to a partnership with the STM, the city’s transit agency. We hope to bring it to more cities soon!
How it works
Planning a trip? We’ll factor any active detours into your trip plan. If your line has an active service alert with closed or relocated stops, you’ll see a warning icon next to its number on the main screen.
Tap your bus line: you’ll see the new detoured route and relocated stops on the map. The old route will be shown as a dashed line with the skipped stops x-ed out. Bus stops along a detour will be labelled "Temporary stop".
Note: Real-time departure estimates are not currently available at detoured stops. If real-time countdowns are available on your line, you will still be able to see them before and after the detoured portion of the line. We’re still developing the feature, so stay tuned for this and other improvements.
Spot a problem?
This feature is in beta, so there might be some kinks to work out. If there’s a detour we haven’t detected or if we’ve routed you the wrong way, let us know.
You can help make this feature better by tapping the GO button every time you ride. GO crowdsources up-to-the-second bus locations for other riders, and helps our detour detector by providing even more precise off-track tracking.
Contact Us About Inaccurate Information
If you've encountered inaccurate real-time or cancellation information in the app, please contact us to report the problem. Please include the following to help us troubleshoot the issue:
- App screenshots
- The date and time you encountered the problem
- The transit line, direction, and stop name/location