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NEWS | Oct. 26, 2018

There’s an app for that? JBSA designs 'Find My Ride' app for buses

By Airman Shelby Pruitt 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Serving nearly 1.6 million passengers a year, most of them being students, Joint Base San Antonio’s 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron continues innovation for the installation by designing and implementing a “JBSA Find My Ride” mobile app.

The app includes all of JBSA’s bus routes on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland and Medina Annex. Currently, there is no bus service on JBSA-Randolph.

“Basically, it’s going to track each shuttle so the students know when it arrives and how long it’s going to be before it gets to their location,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Hartley, JBSA Vehicle Operations Support supervisor, 502d Logistics Readiness Squadron. “Each shuttle will have a GPS device that sends a ping to the server every five seconds to update their location on the map.”

Additionally, the app will allow Vehicle Operations to post alerts about delays and emergencies.

“If the busses are running late, there’s a base lockdown or just weather[or]traffic delays, we can shoot information out that they’ll see on that app,” said Todd Deane, JBSA Vehicle Operations manager, 502d LRS. “If the passenger registers and indicates what route they take, it’ll send them a text message so they’ll know.”

One reason the app was created is because of the inconsistency of bus pick-up times at off-base locations, causing students who are training on JBSA to miss the bus.

“The app came about because of our medical students on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and here on JBSA-Lackland. They have clinical routes that go downtown every day and there is no set time on pick-up in the afternoon,” Hartley said. “They’ll just be standing outside for up to an hour waiting on the bus, so we thought ‘how could we help them out?’”

The app is intended to keep JBSA passengers safe and out of the elements while waiting for their bus.

Although the app will be free, and available on both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store, it is meant for Department of Defense ID Card holders who are able to ride the shuttles provided.  The app will also be open to visiting family members who have been officially invited to the installation.  

“To activate the app you will be issued a password,” Deane said. “This will be updated monthly so we can control access to the app.”

Passwords to access the app will be issued to each Basic Military Training Airmen to relay to their families, to each student in training on JBSA and will be available to other ID card holders by request.

The avenue for the app came about as a part of the Chief of Staff Air Force initiative to provide wing commanders with innovation funding. The 502nd LRS was awarded a $50,000 Squadron Innovation Funding grant for the idea.

The out-source contractors who are developing the website and managing the creation are currently  developing the website, loading up all of our routes and will integrate it with a mapping program,” Deane said.

The 502nd LRS is planning a “soft start” of the app during the week of Nov. 5. After they make sure it is functioning properly, and fix anything needed, it is slated to go “live” the week after, on Nov. 12.

“This is for the customers. It’s why we did it, to help them and provide a better experience for them,” Hartley said. “This just helps everybody; helps us and helps them.”