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Passio GO! generates mixed signals from U. students

Passio GO!, the new Rutgers bus tracking application, has been challenging to use for some students during the first week of classes.  – Photo by Rutgers bus enthusiast / Wikimedia

Passio GO!, the new bus tracking application for the Rutgers community, has posed challenges for students during the first week of classes.

Last month, Rutgers switched from the app TransLoc to Passio GO!, and some students were surprised by the change when they came to campus.

On the Apple and Google app stores, Passio GO! has 1.5- and 1.6-star ratings, respectively. Meanwhile, TransLoc has ratings of 2.7 and 2.9 stars out of 5, respectively.

During the first day of classes, students could not access Passio GO!'s services due to a connection outage that made the app inoperable. Dory Devlin, a University spokesperson, said the issue was caused by the app struggling to handle increased user traffic.

The outage impacted other bus systems tracked on Passio GO!, including at the University of Connecticut.   

Passio Technologies, the app's parent company, is aware of the issues and has taken steps to fix the error, Devlin said. Transdev, the operator of the University bus system, is responsible for the tracking app.

Emmalee Dacus, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she had friends who told her about the TransLoc app at Rutgers and was surprised to learn that a new, different app was needed when she got to campus.

She said she did not hear about Passio GO! during any of her first-year orientations. She did hear about the app outage on Tuesday but did not use the buses then. 

Evan Rae, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, said he found out about the new app from an email. He said the new app is more confusing than TransLoc, but over time, he thinks it will get easier as he gets used to the new app. 

"I've used it twice. It's been confusing compared to the other app. But I think with time, you'll be able to figure it out," Rae said.

Sara Ayad, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she learned about the new app on the first day of classes when someone told her about the switch. She said the app is confusing, overwhelming and not helpful for students. 

"(Passio GO!) is really hard to navigate … It's just too many colors, it's not straightforward, it does not tell you what stop is what (or) where the bus is stopping," Ayad said.

The biggest issue Ayad said she has with Passio GO! is that you can only see one arrival at a time for the buses arriving at a stop.

She said Transloc was easier to navigate but had its own issues as well. Ayad said she paid $1.99 for an alternative app, unaffiliated with the University, called RU There Yet. She said this app is easier to use than Passio GO!

Jeremy Moskowitz, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior, said he learned about Passio GO! while helping new students move in. He said he thought Rutgers was still using the TransLoc app until a parent informed him that the tracking system changed.

After using the app throughout the first day of classes, he said the app was down and questioned whether it was still malfunctioning afterward. In light of this, he said he found other solutions to getting to class.

"I walked to (the Cook and Douglass campuses) all the way down George Street because I didn't trust the bus," Moskowitz said. "(My class was) plant genetics … in the greenhouse right by the Passion Puddle bus stop."

Farruh Turgunov, a School of Arts and Science junior, said he also walked to his class at Campbell Hall on the College Avenue campus from his off-campus apartment in downtown New Brunswick.

He said the previous TransLoc was easier to use and that the University changed the bus tracking app without advertising the change to the students.

Neftali Rodriguez, a Rutgers Business School junior, said he also did not know about the app change until a friend told him. He said he experienced issues on his first day of classes, waiting for approximately an hour on Livingston campus for a bus.

"I could tell you there was probably, at least, 300 people waiting for an LX in that 90-degree (weather)," Rodriguez said. "That was at the (Plaza Bus stop), and then I moved over to the Livingston Student Center (and experienced the) same problem. There were like 200 people waiting there. It was bad."

Moskowitz said first-year students may not know what campus to travel to and may attend classes more regularly than others. He said later in the semester, the bus system and general traffic may be more efficient. Moskowitz, Rodriguez and Turgunov said they want the University to return to using the TransLoc app.

"After two weeks, your lecture halls are half the size because people just don't show up (to classes). So I think that's part of the traffic on the buses. But overall, the app just sucking … is not helping the situation," Moskowitz said.

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