The Columbus Transit Department could buy a new software system for its buses that transport the disabled, which would include an online feature to make scheduling easier.
Call-A-Bus transports people who are disabled, have medical conditions or are elderly and have difficulty using the city’s four fixed-route buses. Riders call the Call-A-Bus phone number to arrange a time to be picked up. Rides cost 50 cents per person per ride.
Two department staff members receive the calls and log the requested times into a Word document in a computer, said Cindy Setser, department coordinator. She calls the system antiquated.
“I’m sure the staffing and scheduling, (the software) would have an impact,” Sester said of making scheduling easier and requiring less time of staff.
Laurence Brown, director of the Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the new software would save time, likely require less work by staff members and “improve the efficient use of buses.”
The software also can track the Call-A-Bus buses so dispatchers know where they are, Brown said.
The system costs $60,000 and would come from a New Freedom grant through the Indiana Department of Transportation. Federal money would pay for 80 percent, with the city paying the remaining $12,000. The city has approved spending the money but has only applied for the grant, Brown said.
He said Route Match is one of the companies it is considering for the software. About 450 transit systems in the U.S. use Route Match’s software. However, no decision has been made on a provider, he said.
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