The Ride 2.0: Blirp-It

Photo credit: TheArgusOnline

So, a couple days ago the WSA sent out a mass email hailing the arrival of a new feature that hopes to revolutionize the campus shuttle experience.

It’s called Blirp-it, a name which, though provocative in certain unfortunate ways for those inclined to make such provocative paradigmatic shifts in perception, stands for “Bus Line Information Retrieval Program.” (I assume the “-it” portion is for stylistic purposes intended to exert a sense of dynamism akin to Nike adverts). You can find out more about its creation here.

More info and some meditations on the addition after the jump.

The introduction of this new feature ostensibly comes as part of a marked initiative to address the severe discontents that have plagued the Ride service for a while now. You might recall the Facebook group “The Ride: Something Needs to Change” that emerged last year, which curried more fervor when a student posted on the event page citing the Ride’s inefficiency as a contributing factor to his assault in front of President  Roth’s house (see here and here). The WSA announcement came out a day before this Argus article was published, which was a behind-the-scenes look at the Ride operators. Sympathetic in tone, the article gives a warm and friendly face to the folks often vilified in the debates regarding the service’s problems (and it does a good job of it, too!). Observing these things in tandem, I’m compelled to wonder: is this a deliberate image-repairing enterprise we’re seeing? Who knows? But I believe in aliens and that we live in the Matrix, so my conspiracy theories should be taken with a pinch of salt.

But a pinch of salt should also be taken with this Blirp-it business. Being a person who’s been assaulted once and Wes-tipped twice in my three years here due to traveling choices made in spite of the Ride’s unreliability, I’m not ready to simply take this new feature as the panacea that’s gonna solve the problem. The problem, I think, is systemic: it’s in the logistics, the route planning, the number of operating vehicles, the labor-capacity—things that are difficult and costly to deal with but things that will solve it nonetheless. Now, I’m not one to trust the WSA or the administration in general (see Beta-gate), so I’m keen on suspecting that they’ll slack off this Ride issue once Blirp-it becomes ubiquitous.

But I’m just a kid, what do I know?

Anyway, here’s how it works, according to the e-mail:

To access Blirp-It online visit wes.blirpit.com. The online service includes a map of the route, a list of the stops in order, and a tracking system (the van symbols) that shows the exact location of both vans.
There are three ways to utilize Blirp-It through text messaging. First, you can text DOTCOM (368266) with the words “Blirpit Wes Ride,” to see the RIDE’s proximity to Exley Parking Lot, Weshop, Butterfield Lot, Usdan, and 230 Washington St. Second, you can text DOTCOM (368266) with the words “Blirpit Wes Ride Stops,” to get a scroll down menu of all the stops with numbers you can text to obtain the corresponding arrival time. Third, you can text DOTCOM (368266) with the words “Blirpit Wes Ride {stopcode}” and for the stopcode type the appropriate code for your stop. For example, to know the amount of time it will take for the RIDE to reach Fisk Hall, text DOTCOM (368266) with the words “BlirpIt Wes Ride Fisk”. The text messaging service indicates exactly how far the RIDE is from a given stop.
Note: The stop codes are in the attachment that comes with the email.
Hope it works for you guys!

2 thoughts on “The Ride 2.0: Blirp-It

  1. Anon

    I totally disagree– it worked great! The texting thing was awesome— just texted and it was like the Ride will be outside Wesshop in 3 minutes and there it was!

  2. Youknowit

    IT DOESN’T WORK! IT SUCKS! IT TELLS ME I HAVE TO WAIT 35 MIN FOR A RIDE! WHAT? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RIDE MAKING STOPS EVERY 15 MIN, HUH? WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?!?

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