The city of Porterville, Calif., recently unveiled its suite of new transit technologies, signage, and solar amenities to improve service for its community of nearly 600,000 transit riders and enhance operational efficiency.
During the launch ceremony on Dec. 10, the agency was joined by Mayor Cameron Hamilton, and city representatives and council members, Porterville Transit staff, executives from several other California transit systems, private sector partners, and riders. The event was held as an annual status update and to recognize both ongoing public and private sector support of the program.
As a small urban system running 14 vehicles, the city of Porterville employed a comprehensive approach toward running its fixed route and demand response operations by partnering with passenger transportation technology provider RouteMatch Software, bus signage provider CHK America, and solar energy provider, Urban Solar.
These new additions have helped further the city of Porterville’s vision to improve the experience of traveling on transit for riders and to establish a foundation of operational sustainability and growth.
Within one year of introducing the technologies, Porterville Transit has experienced benefits. The city has yielded a 35 percent decrease in demand response operational costs, while increasing the number of passengers per revenue hour from 3 passengers per hour to 5 and 6.
Porterville Transit has additionally experienced a 22 percent ridership increase in its fixed route service after the launch of its RouteShout traveler information system service, new bus stop signage and new solar bus stop lighting.
The new traveler information service allows riders to pull up information on where the bus is at any given time from their smartphone or cellphone, enabling more convenient trip planning. Within one month of availability, 2,000 unique users have taken advantage of the RouteShout service. Due to easier access to real-time bus arrival times and schedules through the web, smartphone, and call center interactive voice response (IVR) service, “where’s my bus” type calls that typically came in at up to 5,000 per month, have been reduced by 80 percent, freeing up time for their scheduler/dispatcher to focus on operations and other strategic community relations-oriented initiatives. The agency has also deployed tablet devices within its vehicles as mobile data devices for initiating automated voice annunciators, improving driver and dispatch communications, recording key data such as passenger miles for federal reporting requirements, and monitoring of on-time performance.
“Porterville Transit has been fantastic partner from day one,” said Tom Coogan, vice president, RouteMatch Software. “They have utilized multiple facets of our technology platform across both fixed route and demand response services- and the results have made a significant impact on operational sustainability and rider engagement. We are thrilled to be part of serving the Porterville community and other California-based transit systems.”
City of Porterville’s Transit Manager Richard Tree explains the reason behind their success, “We were a typical paper and pen transit agency, faced with rising operational costs, stagnate ridership, and limited funding streams. We had to embrace technology if we wanted to improve our services and increase community awareness and support.”