The City of St. John's, Newfoundland MVT Canadian Bus and RouteMatch Software have partnered to improve the City's GoBus Accessible Transit operations through expanded advanced intelligent transportation (ITS) technologies.
GoBus Accessible Transit is operated by MVT Canadian Bus and serves the City of St. John's and the City of Mount Pearl, providing door-to-door accessible transit services to persons with disabilities and those unable to use public transit. MVT Canadian Bus assumed operations in 2012 with 18 new vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art technology by RouteMatch.
Technology enhancements include a recently launched customer web portal and Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
The City of St. John's launched a customer web portal for GoBus to complement the system's existing RouteMatch scheduling, dispatching and automatic vehicle tracking technologies. The customer web portal is designed to allow riders to conveniently book, view, edit and cancel their own trips online, reducing incoming call volumes and also enable easier scheduling of trips for the hearing impaired. The City of St. John's will also be releasing an IVR system, which utilizes advanced speech recognition to deliver automated phone reservations.
"Our riders asked for this technology in a public meeting," says Cecil Whitten, the City of St. John's Chair of the Paratransit Advisory Committee. "They utilize e-mail and text messages in their day-to-day lives; we want to accommodate them by providing their preferred communication channels. RouteMatch helps us provide better customer support to our growing number of riders."
In 2012 alone, GoBus has seen their trips per day increase from 325 to 450. By embracing the new relationships and technology, the City of St. John's has seen enhancements across the board for the GoBus Accessible Transit operation which includes 18 buses, 12 dispatchers and 40 drivers.
Before utilizing ITS technologies, all scheduling had been completed manually and two-way radio devices were used for communication between drivers and dispatchers. Now, each bus is equipped with a mix of traditional mobile data computers and tablet mobile data devices, decreasing the need for radio communications. Dispatchers are able to process and address cancellations quickly allowing more flexibility in processing same day requests and thus increasing ridership.