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Disney World Doesn’t Have the Happiest Drivers on Earth

April 22, 2010

Walt Disney World installed GPS-equipped computers in each of its nearly 300 buses, with a goal to reroute buses in real time to handle the heaviest crowds. But critics of the program say the initiative has been a hindrance, with drivers complaining that working with a computer while they operate their vehicles has proven to be a distraction, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The program, called Magic in Motion, has led to more-efficient bus scheduling and lower wait times for guests, according to Disney. Features such as prerecorded passenger announcements broadcast automatically rather than by the drivers has made it easier for drivers to concentrate on the road in front of them, Disney contends.

Under the new program, whenever a Disney World bus completes a round trip, it is issued a new destination based on which stops currently have guests waiting. As soon as a bus finishes one route, a new one is calculated and then displayed on a small computer monitor to the driver's right.

But some drivers say the system can be distracting. Each time a bus is nearing the end of its route, the driver must radio to a dispatcher to get a five-digit code that the driver then enters into the computer. The computer then displays the new route, updates the bus' marquee and even changes the music.

Adding to the complaining drivers' argument was the fact that Disney's bus system recently recorded three crashes in two weeks.

To help solve the problem of driver distraction, the resort is developing software to automate the process entirely. Disney hopes to roll that out within a year.

Disney also puts all of its drivers through a four-week training program that ensures they are comfortable with the system and that they have driven all of Disney World's bus routes, during the day and at night.

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