LOGAN — During their recent session, the Utah Legislature really drove home their interest in a renewed focus on public transit, especially when anticipating more growth and the growth that has already occurred.
On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, Todd Beutler of Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) said a remaining goal has been the ease of convenience.
“And I think one of the challenges we always face in Cache Valley is just convenience. Like most of the folks, we’ve seen traffic on Main street and on the side roads just increase tremendously as we continue to deal with this growth. But we still don’t have a major commute problem when you look at it. It’s really hard for public transit to be as convenient as jumping in your car,” explained Beutler.
So the key is, how do they make public transit more convenient. Beutler said technology is a big part of that, such as installing automatic passenger counters.
“We’re going to be able to see time of day, day of week, every given day where passengers are getting on and off. And from a planning perspective that’s really going to give us a tool that we’ve never had in really looking at the next several years of how do we plan for growth. Another thing that we’re doing is voice annunciators, where every stop will be announced to both inside and outside the bus. So, for folks that are visually impaired, that’s a tremendous tool.”
Beutler said as everybody is more tied in with their phones and working while riding, this will be nice even for those not visually impaired. But he said there’s even more coming to CVTD.
“And then, one of the coolest tools is we’ll finally have our own app, where in the past we’ve always relied on third parties, so we don’t have a lot of control on that technology. But now we’ll have an app that’s ours to control, it’ll be able to show the buses in real time, predict when the next bus is coming, refreshed about every fifteen seconds.”
He said, that way, in the winter a rider doesn’t have to go stand outdoors 15 minutes early, when the bus is running late because of weather. They can look at the app and find out where the bus is and how long it will be until it arrives.