Buenos Aires, a city full of surprises, and most of them, good – at least until you’ve waited half an hour for your bus or, as we like to call it, bondi. The bus then arrives full of people, doesn’t stop, and another twenty minutes must pass before three buses arrive all at once… smh.
Buses here are notoriously random and unreliable but, if you’re like us (impoverished journalists), you can count on them for
going to work your daily adventures a lot (we can’t all afford Uber). Which means some days you’ll turn up to your date an unfashionably thirty minutes early and be pacing around the block trying to look cool, and other days you’ll be running the last couple of blocks to work so you don’t have to explain that your bus has personality issues. It’s a hard life, we know.
Fear not, as this might all be about to be in the past. Life changing updates are being made to the Como Llego app (the one where you actually find out how to get to your destination in the first place), which by the end of 2018 should, according to the local government, contain predictive arrival information for all 137 bondi lines operating in the central metropolitan area.
In addition to this, at some point during 2019 we should also expect to see predictive arrival times for the bondis operating in areas within the Buenos Aires Province too. The updates to the app are set to benefit around ten million people who commute everyday using public transport, and City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta stressed the importance of knowing the schedule of each line, as well as where the bus will be going and stopping, so that journeys are optimized and the experience is more enjoyable (something that we, as daily bondi users, wouldn’t have ever guessed unless he told us, of course).
The new system will count on the installation of GPS technology in ten thousand buses in the city which when eventually linked to the app will give Smartphone users real time updates of when and where the bondi is arriving. So when those pesky road works rear their ugly heads, you needn’t worry, as the app will be able to give you updated information so you can quickly re route and save yourself the pain. Of course GPS technology is not earth shatteringly new in any way, but it’s the first time we’ll see the benefits across the bus network, so that sounds earth shattering to us. Updates are already being rolled out, with six lines (7, 23, 44, 76, 135 and 150) currently up to date with real time data and another four (42, 50, 70 and 101) to follow shortly.
Conocé la nueva versión de #CómoLlego: nuevo diseño y nuevas funcionalidades: conocé en tiempo real el arribo del próximo subte, tren o colectivo, descargá el recorrido y compartirlo por las redes sociales. pic.twitter.com/49YI96nE6V
— Andy Freire (@andyfreire) December 5, 2017
The development and priority of the updates to the existing app come as part of the promises the government made to the people of Buenos Aires to improve the city’s infrastructure. Special priority has been given to the app and development of a reliable digital schedule after official data revealed that eighty percent of Porteños rely on public transport to take them from place to place with around sixty percent of the eight million daily public transport journeys made exclusively on the old and faithful bondis.
We can also expect to see improvements made to bus stops with Metrobus stations offering real time information about current journeys as well as ‘smart’ bus stops.
In any case, though, welcome to 2018, people: the future is bright.