TAPS Public Transit is a “data intensive” business. Each day TAPS publishes in print and on the Internet, dozens of rates, routes and schedules. Less than a year after turning on an entirely redesigned website to accommodate that flow of information on the Internet, TAPS has launched an Internet service that targets mobile device users exclusively.
TAPS now offers mobile device users a website, just for them.
According to Dan Acree, Manager of Public Information at TAPS Public Transit, the goal has always been to make it easy to search for, and read, all of the data a consumer might need to plan a trip using public transportation. “As an agency that services the public, getting current and correct information to our riders is a primary mission,” said Acree. “Rates, routes and schedules are always changing and printed materials don’t always keep pace with those changes. The Internet has been a perfect solution to offering the latest information.”
However, after eight months of testing how the TAPSbus.com website is used and how many consumers are using mobile devices to access that site, Acree’s team decided that only a “mobile device-centric” site would get the job done.
“If you are a regular visitor to the TAPSbus.com website using your home or work computer, you can find everything you want with lots of menus, large graphics and schedules that can be scrolled across a typical larger monitor,” said Acree. “But we soon realized that we could not adapt the content of our website to view easily on mobile devices. Six months ago we began work on developing a site exclusively for users of smart phones, pads and tablets.”
For mobile device users the transition to more compact, “lean” pages, with fewer graphics and more text will be transparent. All devices that connect to the Internet begin by “notifying” the target website what kind of mobile device is being used to access the information. Those users are then seamlessly redirected to the custom mobile website pages.
TAPSbus.com webmaster Ronald Fuquay said the consolidated mobile site uses few graphics – that increase clutter and download times – and presents schedules in simple, easy-to-read, layouts. “We also provide a downloadable, printable PDF file of each schedule that can be viewed at large sizes,” said Fuquay.
Keeping any website updated and viewable by the host of new devices coming into the market is a challenge. “We are always tweaking the pages to make sure they deliver the information needed in a readable format,” said Fuquay.
TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit System) Public Transit is a private, non-profit corporation. Serving Collin, Fannin, Grayson, Cooke, Wise, Clay and Montague Counties, it was created to provide safe, dependable and affordable transportation for persons who depend on public transportation, or who desire to avoid the ever rising cost of fuel and the increasing stress of driving in extreme traffic conditions. TAPS is open to the entire public and serves individuals of all ages and income groups, and it is equipped to fully service the elderly and disabled. Visit tapsbus.com.