The best and brightest were honored at BusCon’s Breakfast Awards Ceremony on Wednesday in Indianapolis, including the inaugural winners of METRO’s Innovative Solutions Awards.
In all, METRO honored four transit agencies for implementing a new initiative that helped them save money, run more efficiently, streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction and safety, or increase ridership.
- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) and Lytx
The GCRTA implemented the Lytx DriveCam system and designed a plan to effectively utilize event data from the solution by identifying risky behaviors that have the highest impact on the authority and focusing coaching efforts on those behaviors. Since implementation, all four of GCRTA’s riskiest behaviors have seen an improvement. The authority has also seen a decrease in events captured by the video event recorders for those risky behaviors. GCRTA has also seen a decrease in near collisions by 20%.
- The Jacksonville (Fla.) Transportation Authority (JTA)
As part of its long-term vision to transform transportation in Northeast Florida, JTA’s Route Optimization Initiative redesigned its 30-year old route structure to make transit more appealing to current and potential riders. Without increasing annual operating costs, the JTA was able to add extended weekend service, improve frequencies on busy corridors and increase service hours.
- The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, Texas
Capital Metro launched the availability of real-time vehicle location data for all bus and rail vehicles and made it available to its customer applications, the open data community and via mobile app-to-app collaboration. The program has also helped customers better plan their trips by knowing bus and rail departure times based upon GPS real-time vehicle locations, instead of relying solely on static schedules. In addition, the use of its mobile app has increased to the highest levels to date and its data is the most highly used of all the open datasets that are available on the Texas Open Data Portal.
- Minnesota’s St. Cloud Metro Bus
Evolving from a successful Community Outreach and Travel Training program, St. Cloud Metro’s Mobility Training Center is a unique facility that combines the elements of paratransit eligibility screening/ability assessments, travel training and community outreach into a single customer-friendly location. Since launching in July 2014, Metro Bus has developed mutually beneficial relationships within the network of care providers, senior living sites, social service agencies and organizations that support people with disabilities and seniors. The agency has also experienced financial savings, since the cost to provide service through fixed-route services is significantly cheaper than the cost to provide service through Dial-A-Ride.
In addition, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) honored the five top fleets for their use of clean, domestic propane autogas. The award recognizes public transportation fleets for their commitment to improving the environment and health of their communities by adopting the nation’s leading alternative fuel, propane autogas.
- Groome Transportation
Groome Transportation operates in six states and has been using propane autogas since 2010. The fleet has converted more than 150 buses and shuttles to propane autogas, including its fleet of over 100 propane vans in the Atlanta area. The company’s customers appreciate the value that they place on sustainable practices and Groome reports achieving a greener fuel initiative while saving on costs.
- Historic Tours of America
Historic Tours of America operates 165 of its 251 total vehicles on propane autogas. These include trolleys, buses, and Conch Tour Trains that give tours in six major cities across the U.S. Cleaner propane autogas has led to longer engine life and lower total cost of ownership for the fleet. In addition, the fleet’s passengers are no longer exposed to harmful emissions found in diesel exhaust.
- Inter-County Public Transportation Authority
The Inter-County Public Transportation Authority converted 15 vehicles to propane last December and plans to convert three more in the near future. To date, the fleet has saved more than $30,000 and anticipates reaching its ROI within 12 months of its conversion date. The fleet’s onsite propane refueling infrastructure allows it to track costs more easily and effectively.
- LeeTran (Lee County Transit)
LeeTran, based in southwest Florida, operates five dedicated propane paratransit shuttle buses and has 15 more on order. With today’s fuel prices, the county estimates that it will save $14,000 in fuel costs with propane autogas when compared to diesel and $25,000 when compared to gasoline over the life of each vehicle. The county also reports reduced repairs and maintenance costs per mile and the ability to extend time between oil changes.
- VIA Metropolitan Transit
VIA Metropolitan Transit has been utilizing propane-autogas-powered vehicles in San Antonio since 1992. The fleet currently operates more than 100 dedicated propane-autogas-powered vehicles, including 14 trolleys and 124 vans. The company’s drivers have remarked that the quiet engines are a safety advantage, most notably while passengers board paratransit vans.
Finally, the Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers (MSBMA) honored transit systems for their continued support of the medium-sized bus industry. Winners included B.C., Canada’s Coast Mountain Bus Co.; Las Vegas’ Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Seattle’s King County Metro and Md.’s Montgomery County Transit.
BusCon wraps up on Wednesday with more sessions and more than 70 buses on the exhibit hall show floor.