Augusta, Ga., Transit System Upgrades Data-Gathering Software

The new $500,000 software will allow the Augusta Public Transit system to keep better track of passengers and provide ridership data to continually improve the service.

by Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. / August 10, 2016
Stitched Panorama

(TNS) -- New real-time tracking technology will keep Augusta Public Transit riders better informed and better served, the city transit director said.

Hardware and software upgrades going for Augusta Commission committee approval today will enable transit staffers to collect data on bus locations and ridership while communicating precise location information to passengers, through onboard signs and annunciators in addition to a mobile app, Director Patrick Stephens said.

For the visually impaired, stops will be announced through the system, and the app will inform riders precisely when to expect the next bus, Stephens said.

The $587,084 cost of the upgrades is 80 percent federally funded, he said.

For the system, “probably the key to all those benefits is it will give transit access to some greatly needed data so that we will be able to make better management decisions for our routes,” Stephens said.

“For example, we know how many riders are riding our buses on a daily basis, based on an analysis of fare boxes,” he said. “What we don’t know is where folks are getting on on a portion of a route.”

Fixed-route ridership is about 2,600 a day and 800,000 per year, he said.

It’s up from six years ago but down from 1999, when about 1.3 million rode the buses, he said.

The tech upgrades could also help the system coordinate with the Uber ride-sharing service to reach the starting point or end of a bus route to extend the trip, he said.

A bus fare costs $1.25. A transfer adds 50 cents. The system also offers rural transit and paratransit service.

The purchase is one of just a handful of items on today’s commission committee agendas. Other items include:

A $106,046 change order for renovations, primarily utility and information technology work, on the new Augusta public defender offices being created in the former Augusta main library. The change brings the total contract for the project with R.W. Allen LLC to $4.7 million.

Awarding up to $1 million in on-call concrete repair and construction work funded by the stormwater utility fee to eight firms.

Awarding a $3.2 million bid for renovations at 452 Walker St. for new Augusta Utilities and Engineering customer service and administration to Allen Batchelor Construction.

©2016 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.