News / Halifax

Dalhousie student turns transit troubles into technological triumph for Halifax

A Dalhousie University student has come up with a solution to cut down on one of the most common problems plaguing Metro Transit users.

Madeleine Martin, 19, has landed in hot water a few times in her two years in Halifax for being late to work because of misjudging her bus arrival.

So when the second-year commerce student got an opportunity for a co-op placement with Dartmouth-based SimplyCast, she didn’t waste it.

“You basically text your stop number and route number...and it'll send you back the next two buses that will be at that stop,” said Martin Wednesday.

The program uses SimplyCast’s communication platform to return a text message with the next two scheduled arrival times at the stop in question.

The information is based on Metro Transit’s schedule information, because GPS data isn’t available yet – but Martin said the program works.

“It just is good because you can gauge how long you have to catch the bus,” she said. “I haven't been late since.”

Martin said she opted for a text-messaging system, which is less of a “hassle” than calling GoTime, and more widely available than an app.

The program will be piloted in Halifax and then made available in most Canadian and a few U.S. cities.

SimplyCast CEO Saeed El-Darahali said Martin’s success in finding a straightforward solution to a common problem – given the right resources and support – shows the importance of local companies investing in young people.

“One of the main reasons we wanted this project to go out is to show that Halifax has some of the smartest young people in the world,” he said, noting that although SimplyCast operates in 175 countries, he’s insisted on it remaining in Dartmouth.

“What I'm really working towards, personally, is to…create a really great environment so that when my kids grow up, they can stay in Halifax.”

The number to text for the SimplyCast Ride On program is 778-383-7446.

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