Hele-On schedule to be available via app

Google Maps will soon offer transit directions for the Hawaii County’s bus system, Hele-On Bus, as part of a new community project.

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Google Maps will soon offer transit directions for the Hawaii County’s bus system, Hele-On Bus, as part of a new community project.

For the past year, student Tiger Oakes has been working to provide the schedule information for the Hele-On Bus in an easily accessible Web app. Now, the schedule data will also be found in Google Maps, where it can be accessed easily to find directions for a wide range of users. Users of Google Maps will be able to find directions for the Hele-On Bus through Google’s existing websites and mobile apps. Hele-On Bus directions in Google Maps will be available in a few weeks.

Accompanying Google Maps integration is the online app “Big Island Buses.” The app can be used from the website at goride.io, and allows users to easily find the schedule information for the bus through the Internet browser on their computer, phone or other electronic device.

Hele-On Bus riders won’t need to use the paper schedules currently offered by the county, as the app is designed to make the schedules much easier to browse and read. Using the GPS inside smartphones, the website will locate bus stops nearest to the user and inform him which routes service the bus stop. Users can use their current location or even search for other places on the island. Unlike many websites, the app can even be used without an Internet connection. After using the website once, users can retrieve this information in the future without access to Wi-Fi or mobile data.

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The Web app, Google Maps integration, and digitized schedule data are part of a yearlong student project by Oakes. Thousands of hours and more than 100,000 lines of code have been contributed to the application, as he manually digitized the existing paper schedules and developed the software.

“Big Island Buses” has already received an award from the state House of Representatives, as the best application submitted to the House App Challenge. The app has been featured by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and local tech community Hawaii TechWorks, and is available to the public at goride.io.

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