Bus technology updates: Westchester County Bee-Line System; RYDE Racine and Connect Transit

May 30, 2024
Recent announcements will see a trio of bus systems invest in technology upgrades of their vehicles and communication networks.

Three bus systems in Racine, Wis., Westchester County, N.Y., and Bloomington-Normal, Ill., are progressing plans to implement technology upgrades in their vehicles.

Westchester County Bee-Line

GMV has been awarded a $16 million contract to install GMV Hub on each Bee-Line bus in Westchester County, N.Y.  The hub is a vehicle computer that controls a range of onboard systems, including GPS, bus operator touchscreen, automatic passenger counters, next stop announcements and a dedicated sensor for precision tracking in indoor bus depots. The GMV Hub also functions as a digital video recorder to store footage from security cameras on each bus. 

GMV will also provide its ITS Suite, which is a cloud native software platform GMV says will “enhance the county’s visibility and control” of its bus operations. The suite includes app functions that will assist the county in planning, scheduling and dispatch of its services, garage management and video management. 

“We are thrilled to announce Westchester’s Bee-Line Bus System will be getting this cutting-edge technology upgrade, which will improve customer safety, real-time operations management and efficiency. The comprehensive upgrade also supports our commitment to sustainability with zero-emission fleet integrations and will enhance the experience for the everyday rider by incorporating modern mobility solutions,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

To support Westchester County and other clients on the East Coast, GMV will open a New York office. 

RYDE Racine

Racine, Wis., and Modine will collaborate with RYDE Racine to equip the transit system’s electric buses with Modine’s EVantage Thermal Management System. Modine says its EVantage thermal management system will optimize inverter temperatures and improve the range, longevity and reliability of the city’s electric bus fleet.

RYDE operates nine electric buses with the system installed and has another four electric buses on order after the city of Racine received a grant through the Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission Vehicle Program. To meet the Buy America standard set forth in the funding guidelines, RYDE Racine has selected all-electric buses containing Modine EVantage thermal management systems to ensure they feature American-made components and systems from a hometown supplier.

"Racine has set an ambitious goal to reduce the carbon footprint of our public transit system and we're achieving this objective bus by bus. As we increase the size of our zero-emission bus fleet, Modine’s sophisticated thermal management system is essential for maintaining our transit program's smooth operation, reliability and efficiency," said Trevor Jung, transit and mobility director at the city of Racine. "Through this collaboration, Modine has helped RYDE Racine fortify our electric buses with a hometown solution, demonstrating our combined commitment to enhancing service reliability for our passengers and environmental sustainability." 

Connect Transit 

Connect Transit will use $800,000 in federal funds to invest in a series of upgrades, including onboard communication systems, camera systems and other technology to improve bus operators’ awareness of their surroundings.

The funding was part of the Fiscal Year 2024 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) Program included in the THUD Appropriations Act that was part of an omnibus package to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) supported the transit provider by including the funds in the CDS Program. 

 “Everyone deserves a safe ride when they hop on the bus to get to work, run errands or meet up with loved ones. In Bloomington-Normal, Illinoisans can rely on Connect Transit to get the job done,” said Sen. Durbin. “I was a strong advocate for Connect Transit to receive today’s announced funding and I’m glad to see $800,000 in federal support going to the region’s transit systems.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.