Bus riders in the Quad Cities are likely getting better service as the line is now using a new scheduling system that’ll eventually be adopted by bus lines in all of Iowa’s larger cities. River Bend Transit executive director Randy Zobrist says the first phase of the new system involves an upgrade of the software used by schedulers. He says River Bend is the first of what will probably be 14 regional transit systems to take part in the program that’s designed to make them “more technically adept.” Zobrist says the new specialized software automates scheduling, dispatching, trip verification, invoicing, and reporting of trips. He says a lot of systems now rely a lot on “human clocks and maps in their heads to schedule trips,” so he says this should help dramatically improve the scheduling efficiency. Zobrist says riders should be able to notice the difference. He says the average rider will hopefully see new and different faces on the buses as they are able to get trips more efficiently scheduled through the automatic process. He says they hope to see a 10 to 15-percent increase in their trip efficiencies and hopefully a reduction in their costs per mile. Zobrist says phase two of the program would link an automated vehicle locator that uses a global positioning system into the computer scheduler. He says he believes the intention is to have most of the systems complete phase one and then move on to the phase two installation. Zobrist says the River Bend Transit system will be a model for others to look at as they integrate the new systems into their operations. He says River Bend will move into phase two of the project sometime in April or May. River Bend Transit currently runs 68 vehicles on approximately 625 trips each day. They serve 36-hundred riders in Clinton, Scott, Cedar and Muscatine counties in Iowa, as well as the cities of Moline and Rock Island, Illinois.
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