By Wayne Allen
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) received a federal grant of $6.8 million to fund a Transit Tech Ohio Project. Through this project Access Scioto County could receive $120,297 to better their service.
According to ODOT, the $6.8 million will be used to help rural transit agencies purchase hardware and software that allows them to schedule and dispatch transit vehicles.
“The lack of these upgrades is leading to inefficiencies – inefficiencies that cost time and money and ultimately under serve the people who rely on the vital services of rural transit,” said ODOT Assistant Director Jim Barna in a released statement.
Larry Mullins, Transit Coordinator, Access Scioto County Public Transit said if approved the funding would be used to, install tablets in vehicles.
Mullins said once installed the tablets could push information to drivers about scheduled trips, additional trips, cancellations and other information could be transmitted more efficiently.
“Currently our dispatch takes down the information about a trip and then calls the driver on a two-way radio to pass along the information. The driver then has to pull over or wait until the bus is at a stop to pick up or drop off a passengers to write down the information. With the tablet system all the information would appear on the driver’s tablet, thus speeding up the process,” Mullins said. “Also the tablet could be used to provide electronic signatures of passengers that are currently required to sign a piece of paper for their trips.”
Mullins believes the tablets could improve the service of Access Scioto County by getting information to drivers. He said the tablets could lead to quicker pickup times and fewer forgotten trips.
The federal funding will equip vehicles with GPS, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems, tablets, and mobile data terminals around the state.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT