New technology coming to Nashville bus fleet
Includes Wi-Fi, new fare boxes, and GPS-enabled hybrid modes

Nashville MTA, now WeGo Public Transit is rolling out new, smarter buses.

As Nashville changes and grows, so does its bus system. Since the rebranding of Nashville MTA as WeGo Public Transit this year, the Nashville bus system has seen improvements with the central bus station, shelter innovations, and updated bus routes that include tracking services on a mobile app.

Additionally, as part of the rebranding process, WeGo Public Transit has been replacing its articulated bus fleet with bright purple repainted vehicles with tech upgrades like USB chargers and free Wi-Fi.

The first of the buses can be seen on the major corridors like Gallatin, Charlotte, Murfreesboro, and Nolensville Pk.

“Wi-Fi on our buses is a long-time request of customers and comes on the heels of a WeGo partnership with Metro Nashville ITS last year to make free Wi-Fi available at both Riverfront Station and WeGo Central bus station downtown,” WeGo Public Transit CEO Steve Bland said. “Wi-Fi is an amenity which will allow customers to work while commuting, providing another source of convenience and comfort while using transit.”

The data-connectivity from having onboard Wi-Fi will also benefit bus operations along Murfreesboro Pike, where the transit signal priority project construction is wrapping up. It will enable bus operators to begin using green-light extenders, queue jumps, and bus-only lanes to improve on-time performance in 2019.

Customers will also notice WeGo’s buses have new fare boxes, bringing the agency one step closer to implementing its new fare collection system in 2019.The new fare system will allow users to use a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or a bankcard to travel on transit and commuter rail systems.

Select newly branded buses also feature an exclusive pilot GPS-based technology, allowing WeGo’s newest hybrid buses to switch from diesel emissions to a battery-only mode. Spearheaded by BAE Systems, three of the new buses will test out the program, which aims to go into a quiet, electric vehicle mode around certain hospitals, schools, universities, and inside WeGo Central.

“We want to be an innovator in the industry, and we want to be able to offer a cleaner, more efficient ride with fewer emissions for the city,” WeGo Chief Operating Officer India Birdsong said. “The pilot partnership with BAE Systems will allow us to roll out the technology slowly and to make tweaks and fine-tune where necessary. This will help us provide the best product we can to improve the air quality in the communities we serve when we are ready to roll it out system-wide.”

The goal of the pilot program is to expand the GPS-tech throughout the fleet as well as expand the zones so that Davidson County’s more populated areas can enjoy reduced carbon-emissions and less noise pollution while public transit can be found.