PennDOT Completes Implementation of Technology Improving Shared-Ride Transit Services
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has completed a project installing standardized technology at 42 shared-ride transit providers statewide, improving efficiency and service for the Pennsylvanians who use the door-to-door service in the 65 covered counties.
“Shared-ride transportation is vital to Pennsylvanians connecting to medical appointments, jobs, and their community,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “Their time is valuable, and this technology helps maximize the riders and drivers’ routes so we have the best use of time and resources possible.”
The service scheduling and dispatch software, called Ecolane, helps providers improve on-time performance, collect data, and maximize the number of trips provided. In 22 counties, the public can view available travel options as well as reserve or cancel shared-ride trips at www.FindmyridePA.com.
To further increase customer service, the partnership is rolling out interactive voice response technology which automatically calls riders the night before their service informing them of their scheduled trips, calls before the driver arrives at their location, and allows cancellation through the system without having to call transit providers.
PennDOT will soon begin formal evaluations on effectiveness and cost savings associated with the technology, but it has already facilitated efficiencies. The common software ensures that service cooperation or consolidation is seamless for riders.
One example of a consolidation facilitated by the technology is rabbittransit’s consolidation of shared-ride service for 10 counties in south central Pennsylvania by centralizing call taking, dispatching, and scheduling. Another example of operational benefits is Blair Senior Services, Inc. in Blair County. After implementing Ecolane, Blair used the data to reduce the number of vehicles it needed to provide their service while increasing the number of trips provided per service hour. Those changes help to control costs and delay fare increases.
Shared-ride service provides on-demand community transportation service and is available in all 67 counties. The Ecolane software is in use in all counties except Philadelphia and Allegheny, where the shared-ride service providers have their own software in use. Information on public transit options in Pennsylvania is available on that page at www.penndot.gov under “Travel In PA.”