October 22, 2012

Mentor Engineering to equip Calif. paratransit

Serving communities in Butte County, Calif., the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG), provides urban and rural fixed-route and paratransit service through the B-Line (Butte Regional Transit). Looking to improve efficiency and customer experience in their large service area, the B-Line chose to implement a technology system from Mentor Engineering to help them achieve their goals.

For the paratransit operation, Mentor Ranger in-vehicle computers are installed on the buses. Electronic manifests have allowed the B-Line to significantly reduce the amount of paper they use, and with accurate status and location information now available, on-time performance is easier to track and analyze.

Mentor Streets (Streets), an all-in-one transit technology solution, runs the fixed route side of the B-Line. Streets provides computer aided-dispatch and automatic vehicle location, scheduling and reporting software in the office.

On the bus, Rangers keep drivers on-time and collect bus location information. Mentor’s T-Box annunciator provides automated stop announcements and controls onboard signs to make the B-Line user friendly for both hearing and visually impaired passengers.

Streets comes equipped with powerful analytics and reporting tools to help transit agencies improve operations. One of these, the Schedule Adherence report, has been instrumental in helping the B-Line meet their efficiency goals.

The B-Line has been able to achieve better on-time performance with this technology, and as a result, have experienced unprecedented ridership growth.

“This past year, which is the first full year of service with the changes we made based on Streets-provided data, we saw an 11% increase in ridership. We also had our highest ever ridership rate,” said Robin Van Valkenburgh, transit manager, B-Line.

Going forward, the B-Line is planning to use the real-time data generated by Streets to provide their ridership with up-to-the minute ETAs via wayside signs at transfer centers, and ultimately make trip and travel planning with accurate data available to passengers.

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