Columbia County will receive federal stimulus money to improve public transit.
County officials received news Wednesday that a request for $154,500 was granted for upgrades to the transit system.
"This will provide a new communications system, vehicle routing capability for more fuel and time efficiency, vehicle tracking, safety features, etc.," county Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker wrote in an e-mail. She said the money will pay for the following improvements:
- New software will provide drivers with the best routes for pick-ups and drop-offs, saving time and fuel.
- GPS tracking will provide dispatchers with real-time information on the location of drivers and will help prevent drivers from overlapping on routes.
- New radio equipment will allow for narrowbanding, which is a federal requirement.
- Back-up cameras will be installed on transit vans.
Also, residents might be able to request rides with fewer time constraints.
"Right now, riders have to call 24 hours in advance to schedule a ride," Tucker said. "The dispatching software will enable the dispatcher to schedule rides up until the time they need to be picked up, or if it's full, it won't allow the ride to be scheduled."
Tucker said the state Department of Transportation "is in the process of issuing state contracts, and these will be distributed to us in the near future."
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