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City’s Dial-A-Ride transit service now offering real-time arrival alerts

Busses leaving the McBean Reagional Transit Center on the corner of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in Valencia. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Santa Clarita public transit commuters can now receive trip reminders and alerts in real time when one’s bus will arrive, thanks to a newly launched program.

Ripple is designed for the city’s Dial-A-Ride and Access services, which offers curb-to-curb paratransit for the elderly or special needs customers, and works by notifying riders when their vehicle will arrive via text, email or phone call.

“If you have a 2 p.m. pickup, for example, and the bus will be there in five minutes, a text will be sent to the rider and they will be able to make their way out,” said Transit Manager Adrian Aguilar. “Riders had to engage with the system by sending a text to find out when their vehicle was arriving. With the Dial-A-Ride and Access services, the system will automatically notify you, so we’re excited about that.”

Next time those interested would like to schedule a trip, patrons need only sign up with Ripple by mentioning it to a customer service representative. Patrons can also  select a combination of notifications, including automated voice call, text or email, according to a news release issued by the city.

Patrons can receive reminders such as the pickup and drop-off locations, times and status the day before a trip. On the day of the ride, the person will be notified of the vehicle’s time of arrival.

Aguilar said Santa Clarita Transit has received multiple comments from riders about the system’s judgment on arrival times being off, which concerned some about waiting periods, “especially waiting outside in the summertime.”

Ripple aims to provide a more efficient service by reducing wait times and preventing missed trips.

Aguilar added that Transit is working on bringing Santa Clarita commuters an app that will show smartphone users where on a map is their bus in real time, “much like an Uber or Lyft map shows you,” he said. The app will be for Dial-A-Ride and Access services and is estimated to be released sometime this month, after testing is complete.

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