Live departure, arrival times coming to Caltrain

Caltrain passengers soon will have access to up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times — something BART and Muni riders already enjoy — at stations and potentially on hand-held devices.

Starting in spring 2011, the regional transit agency will feature on all platforms visual message signs connected to a GPS device that will alert passengers to when trains are arriving and departing. Caltrain currently lacks the technology.

“We’ve found that even when a train is arriving on time, people are much more comfortable when they have that information available,” Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. “The predictive-arrival technology is a real benefit to our passengers.”

The new feature is part of an $8.7 million contract the Caltrain board of directors is expected to approve today.

The technology — which will be provided by ARINC, a Southern California-based manufacturer — features a GPS tracking device that alerts a central control center to the movements of each train. Caltrain vehicles’ arrival and departure times also will be posted on www.511.org.

Passengers also may be able to receive transit information on their cell phones and other hand-held devices, Dunn said, although that program is still being worked out.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

 

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