Director’s Corner

We Are Technology

GWTA DirectorMost of us are familiar with the children’s song about the wheels on the bus going round and round. While that is very true, there is much more involved than just the wheels rotating. GWTA has made many technology improvements in the past couple of years. All of them have been focused on safety, security, and customer service.

Most visible are the cameras on the buses and at the Transfer Center. The cameras can be viewed by management at any time and from any location to investigate any suspicious activity on the vehicles or inside and outside the Transfer Center. The four onboard cameras are also used in the event of an accident to investigate the situation. In most cases the cameras have vindicated the actions of the driver. In addition, we use the camera for refresher training as drivers are evaluated annually and shown what areas, if any, need improvement.

All vehicles are also equipped with computer tablets. For the rural service, the tablets provide information for the driver about their schedule, whom to pick up next, any special assistance needed for the passenger, and how the trip is to be paid. Time and mileage is entered automatically for all pick-ups and drop-offs. Previously, this information was entered manually, in a much more time-consuming manner.

The tablets have GPS features that provide the drivers with directions to locations that may be new to them. The GPS, which is available on all vehicles, allows the dispatcher to track the location of all the vehicles on a monitor, enabling the dispatcher to provide immediate and accurate information to callers. This information also reveals how fast any vehicle is travelling and what path the vehicle has taken throughout the day.

GWTA has recently purchased an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Soon, van passengers will receive phone calls the evening prior to their scheduled trip. This call will serve as a reminder of the scheduled trip and give the passenger the opportunity to cancel the trip, if necessary. It will be a great tool to eliminate costly no shows. The IVR system will also be able to call the passenger 15 minutes prior to their scheduled pick up time and allow GWTA to notify all riders of any service changes due to adverse weather.

The wheels on the bus are indeed going round and round. Hopefully, these technology advances will keep the passengers from bouncing up and down.

Thank you.

Fred Fontana
Director, GWTA