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Tracking system would let Valpo bus riders find info on their phones

Updated: April 16, 2013 4:11PM



VALPARAISO — Bus riders will be able to track city buses soon, and the Department of Public Works will be moving into new facilities.

The Valparaiso Board of Works and Safety addressed multiple issues at its Thursday meeting as spring comes around.

Bus line changes include not just a smartphone tracking system for both the Chicago Dash and V-Line bus, but a new Chicago Dash bus and online ticket sales.

City Planner and Transportation Director Tyler Kent got approval for a month trial on the bus tracking system by Doublemap.

Because riders can check on bus locations in cold weather, “it’s a pretty handy thing,” Mayor Jon Costas said.

Kent said a dispatcher could also tell calling riders an estimated time of arrival.

Possible online ticket sales would happen if the city and Doublemap can retrofit the software, Kent said.

Doublemap, located in Bloomington, was developed by Indiana University students, runs on Android and is in use in Butler in northeast Indiana and Missouri.

The city will rent a new Chicago Dash bus until the expected fourth bus comes in June or July.

The new route will run between the first and second routes, which are the most crowded, mostly due to overloads on the first route, both and forth to the city, Kent said.

The city will lease a bus from Free Enterprise System for $6,137 a month, plus $296 a trip and fuel costs.

The Board of Works also approved the hiring of Chester Inc. of Valparaiso at $7,200 for design and budget analysis for moving the Department of Public Works from its 406 Don Hovey Drive location to behind the wastewater treatment plant on Joliet Road.

Costas said has long considered moving the area where the city stores salt, mulch, compost and heavy equipment and trucks, and it’s been on the two-year plan for nine years.

The current facility doesn’t have enough room for the growing city, and Evans noted the new spot is more centrally located.

The move and construction should begin in fall and won’t raise taxes because of a parks department bond being paid off.

Costas said the money paying the bonds will pay for the construction, and shared expenses with the utility department will also keep costs low.

City Administrator Bill Oeding said the current facility, which looks over U.S. 30, has four uses being considered.

It could become a place for the parks horticulture department, a police impound yard, a place for the V-Line buses or a place for the Porter County Council on Aging’s buses.



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