Valpo buses to get tracking software
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 9, 2013 4:18PM
Updated: June 13, 2013 6:09PM
VALPARAISO — In a month, riders of the city’s two bus lines will have the ability to track where their bus is through smart phones and computers.
The Board of Works on Thursday approved using the Doublemap system to track both the in-city V-Line routes and the Chicago-bound Chicago Dash.
The city will also be able to accurately keep numbers on bus users, which is necessary for federal funding, and have the system announce the stops to passengers, which helps the visually disabled.
“This will allow the drivers to specifically concentrate on the road,” City Planner Tyler Kent said.
The city will pay $6,000 for five tablet computers installed on the Dash buses and a discounted $3,600 for five on the V-Line buses, all of them using a geographic information system to keep track of positioning.
The passenger-counting software will cost an annual $5,500 fee and $100 a month, and the software to announce the stops has a $400 per vehicle initial fee and $100 monthly fee.
People will be able to access the system through the city’s website, and busline workers can also use it to tell callers when a bus will arrive.
Kent said he hopes the system will cut down on calls as riders use it for tracking buses.
Two Indiana University students developed the Doublemap system, and it’s been expanding beyond the Bloomington bus system, Kent said.
Valparaiso has used it for a monthlong trial system, but the public won’t be able to access it until after hardware and software are installed.
Also at the meeting, Police Chief Michael Brickner received the board’s permission to apply for a Department of Justice grant to put two more police officers on the force.
If the city receives the grant, it will have to pay a matching $64,000 in pay and benefits for the two officers.
Brickner said his department applies for the grant every year, but cities that have laid off officers tend to get the grants.