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Escambia County Transit Busses Get Connected

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There was more activity than usual at the Escambia County Area Transit terminal Wednesday morning as they celebrated the completion of a project that upgraded the bus fleet. Tonya Ellis is the Marketing Director for Escambia County Area Transit. She says the fleet is now connected to the internet. "(We now) have WiFi on all of our busses, all of our vehicles, this includes our UWF trolleys as well. We also have a bus locater app on all of our vehicles. So you can go to our web site, download the app, and you can actually see when your bus is coming within a few minutes."

The upgrade project has been going on for a little over a month, but has been in the works for over a year. Ellis says that wi-fi is an upgrade that riders have been requesting both here and across the state. "We are a member of the Florida Public Transportation Association and we do reach out to our other transit partners in the state to find out ways that they're reaching out to their passengers as well. So we do like to...share ideas on ways to improve the passenger experience." 

"I like the fact that they have the internet on the bus and off the bus" said Shantivia Williams, a Pensacola resident who rides the bus every day. She says the upgrades have been very helpful. You are also able to look up what time the bus comes if you're not familiar with the route you're riding on. You can go on line and look it up so you know before you get off the bus how you want to map (out) your plans for your day."

To celebrate the added connectivity on the busses, ECAT was having a Connect 4 tournament at their terminal. Riders were playing and taking home prizes and learning about the upgrades to the busses. ECAT’s Tonya Ellis says you can go pretty far for your money on the county’s transit system. "To ride the bus is $1.75. Our transfers are free. So you can get to and from the University of West Florida to Century. You can go as far as Myrtle Grove, NAS Pensacola, Downtown, Pensacola Beach on a bus. We have over 20 routes and last year we had over 1.5 million trips."

You can learn more about the technology upgrades and bus routes on their web site, go ECAT.com

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.