Durham-based company developing on-demand bus app

TransLoc says it's working on an Uber-like on-demand service that would make riding the bus appealing to more commuters.

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DURHAM, N.C. — It wasn't that long ago that taking the bus meant printing out a schedule, waiting at the stop and hoping the bus was running on time.

In 2015, riders just check the Internet.

GoTransit, a partnership of public transportation agencies, has been using a real-time bus-tracking app for years,

“It takes away the anxiety of ‘did I miss the bus?’ or ‘how many minutes until the bus is going to be here?’” said John Tallmadge, director of regional services development for GoTransit. “I’ve used it myself a lot, and it’s just indispensable once you start using it.”

The technology was developed by Durham-based TransLoc, a company launched 11 years ago by computer science majors from North Carolina State University.

“I actually often say we’re the best company that nobody knows about in the area,” said Doug Kaufman, CEO of TransLoc.

“We started off by being the first company to show you where all the buses are in real time,” Kaufman said.

About 125 transit agencies across the country now use TransLoc’s technology, and the company is looking toward the future.

The company is working on “a really intelligent-type service that allows an Uber-like on-demand service to be layered on top of fixed routes that’s going to be provided by the transit agency,” Kaufman said.

He said the company hopes to have an on-demand option available for transit agencies to use by early 2016.

Kaufman said the next generation of TransLoc's technology could move public transit from being a last resort for many people to the first choice.


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