What started off as a project for a computer networking class turned into a free, downloadable iOS application for students and faculty who use the Bronco Express shuttle service.

Matthew Harris, a third-year computer information systems major, dedicated time during his winter break to design the Bronco Express App. As a transfer student, he said he used to ride the shuttle a lot when he first started at Cal Poly Pomona.

“I just wanted to make something for students,” Harris said. 

Harris used to use the school’s shuttle website to track the shuttle, but eventually saw potential for an app containing all the information students needed to track the shuttle in one spot rather than clicking through several links to find a desired shuttle schedule.

The Bronco Express Shuttle website is notorious for being inaccurate, so a student decided to create an improved app. (Elizabeth Hernandez / The Poly Post)

The current shuttle website’s format is outdated and has caused some frustration among students.

“I used the [CPP] app and it was [kind of] annoying,” said Aileen Mendez, a third-year sociology major. “It doesn’t load completely.” 

Shuttle users depend on the accuracy of the school’s app or the new Bronco Express App to get to class or work on time.

Using the information provided on the school’s shuttle website, Harris was able to retrieve the coding involved to make his app.

He also has a background in design, which facilitated the design aspect of the app as well.

Although his app may have a simple layout right now, he is currently working on adding decorative visuals, such as the Classroom Laboratory Administration (CLA) building and horses running out of the stables.

According to App Store Connect, an Apple program used to manage apps,  on the first day the app was launched, it was downloaded 109 times and within the first week of being launched, it was downloaded twice as much. 

Before launching it on Jan. 23, Harris connected with students through the unofficial CPP Reddit page, and asked for volunteers to act as testers for the app.

A handful of students downloaded the app and provided feedback for Harris.

“The way I would like to see it improved is with the live map,” said Ihor Tuk, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major. “By seeing the location, I can make a better estimate when [the shuttle] will get to my stop than the times provided.”

Harris took the suggestions very seriously and returned to the drawing board.

His goal is to create an Android-friendly version of the app and to incorporate an interactive map to track the shuttle, along with adding more visuals. 

He also wants to add a feature where the capacity of a parking lot can be calculated and updated and he hopes to contact Parking and Transportation Services to do this.

Harris is interested in enabling Proactive Intelligence for Siri in which iPhone users could ask, “Hey Siri, how many spots are open in overflow?” and his app would provide the answer.

The Bronco Express App is available in the Apple App Store and requires iOS 12 software. The icon is green with an image of a shuttle as it appears at the shuttle stops on campus and shows Matthew Harris’ name.

“This has all been a learning experience,” Harris said. “[The] idea moving forward is to improve the design and fix the bugs.”

 

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