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Husky Bus iPhone app uses GPS signals to locate buses

By Kim Wilson
On February 26, 2012

The erratic and confusing UConn bus schedule often leaves students puzzled as to where and when their desired bus line will be arriving.

The new iPhone Husky Bus app can eliminate this worry with real-time GPS signals that detect the location and arrival times of all UConn buses and the Windham Region Transit District's Storrs-Willimantic bus, which is free for all UConn students.

Launched Feb. 15, the Husky Bus app for the iPhone includes features like the ability to "favorite" bus stops and a driver-change alert. Creator of the app and UConn student Evan Kimia is currently developing an alarm feature that will give users the option to have their phones honk at them when their bus is five minutes away.

Kimia, a 7th-semester computer science major, said he created the app so UConn students can "figure out where the buses are and where they are going in a clean and organized way."

Having grown up in New York City, where subways are a major mode of transportation, Kimia said he was surprised that UConn Transportation Services did not provide an organized method for students to locate the buses and determine which one to take.

"For a school with 12 different bus lines, it's not very easy to figure out which one to take," Kimia said.

As an Apple developer, Kimia has created a free version of Husky Bus as well as a $2.99 version that is ad-free. Kimia said he plans to donate 20 percent of any profits he receives to a different UConn organization every month and encourages organizations to advertise on his app.

Since the app launched 11 days ago, more than 200 iPhone users have installed the Husky Bus app. Kimia said the app gets an average of 1,000 views per day. The Android version of the app, which is currently being updated, has more than 1,000 downloads.

Kimia was also the creator of the Husky Bus app for the Android phone, which was released last semester. Kimia said that with GPS signals update every five seconds, the Husky Bus 2 app for the iPhone has made significant improvements over the Android app.

"I used my own app today and was able to see the bus was running late," Kimia said. "I was able to have breakfast instead of waiting outside wondering when it would come."

Kimia said creating the app has been an enjoyable side-project that, unexpectedly to him, has led to job interviews with several major companies and a paid internship.

Kimia is currently seeking students with a knowledge of computer science to maintain the project after he graduates in the spring.

"I'd like the project to continue and not fizzle out," Kimia said. "I'd like it to stay in the UConn community."


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