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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Regional Transit System app left inaccessible to Gainesville residents for nearly a full week

UF students struggled to navigate commutes

UF students exit RTS buses at The Hub on Friday, Jan. 14, 2021.
UF students exit RTS buses at The Hub on Friday, Jan. 14, 2021.

Those who opened the GNV Ride RTS app most of this week were met with a perpetual loading screen and recurring error message.

When students called the Regional Transit System helpline, a brief, pre-recorded message addressed the app’s connectivity issues.

“We are currently experiencing difficulties with our GNV Ride RTS app,” the message said. “We are working to resolve it and hope to have it restored shortly. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

Without a working app from Sept. 2 to Thursday, UF students struggled to find transportation to accommodate their daily schedules. City staff heard about connection issues with the RTS app Sept. 2 and immediately began working with the provider to restore function, city spokesperson Rossana Passaniti said. 

The issue was addressed and resolved by Thursday afternoon, Passaniti wrote in an email. Gainesville residents have the ability to access bus schedules through the RTS website should the app malfunction again, she said. 

She said the issue was related to the app’s SSL certificate — a function that helps to ensure user data remains protected on mobile apps. 

“We are establishing additional protocols to prevent recurrence,” she wrote in an email. 

Elijah Schott, a UF mechanical engineering junior, said he relies heavily on buses arriving on time in order to get to and from campus. Left without a ride, he opted to walk.

“I was just kind of left out to dry, which sucks,” Schott said. “I got caught in the rain, actually. I walked four miles to campus.”

 Even with resources like Google Maps that share the standard bus schedules, he said there was no way to guarantee that these buses would make an appearance without access to the RTS app. 

Charlotte Hood, a UF zoology senior, said they also spent the week playing guessing games. They said it was even worse for their friends that aren’t familiar with the bus system.

“I come here and I’m like, ‘cool, I wonder when I’m getting home,’” Hood said. “It can be anywhere between waiting for 30 minutes to sometimes an hour if I miss it or it’s the wrong bus stop. It’s been a hassle.”

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Contact Rylan DiGiacomo-Rapp at Follow her on Twitter @rylan_digirapp. 

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Rylan DiGiacomo-Rapp

Rylan DiGiacomo-Rapp is a second-year journalism and environmental science major covering enterprise politics. She previously worked as a metro news assistant. Outside of the newsroom, you can usually find her haunting local music venues.

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