Coweta wins transit award
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Coweta County's Transit System has been honored by the Georgia Transit Association for recent improvements in the system.
The Coweta County Transit System was the winner of the GTA Performance Award, which was presented at the association’s annual conference last week in Athens.
The award recognizes a Georgia transit system that has demonstrated improvement in the performance of the system. Improvements can be in the areas of ridership, customer service and/or service expansion.
The Coweta system's improvements were the result of improving the dispatching and routing through RouteMatch.
In fiscal year 2012, Coweta coordinated with the Georgia Department of Transportation and RouteMatch to implement an electronic routing and dispatching software solution.
Previously, most dispatching and routing was done with spreadsheets, paper manifests and paper maps.
Once the new routing and dispatching system was in place, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners approved local funding for mobile software and wireless communications enhancements, to help make sure the new software system was being used to its fullest potential, according to Coweta Communications Manager Tom Corker. The new items included five mobile tablets and RouteMatch mobile data software for the tablets.
With the new routing system, overall trips increased by 14 percent over the previous year.
Coweta Transit is a "dial a ride" system that works on a "demand response" model. There are no set routes. Instead, the system provides door-to-door service anywhere in Coweta County, as well as trips to the MARTA bus station in Palmetto.
Riders must call at least 24 hours in advance to schedule their trips, and the routes are then created based on the needs for each particular day. Trips are $3 each way.
The system began operating in July 2009 and is partially funded through a federal Section 5311 grant. The state and Coweta County also kick in funding, though the system is primarily funded through rider fares and other payments for service.
Tavores Edwards, Coweta's transportation manager, accepted the award at the conference.
The Georgia Transit Association began the awards program this year. GTA is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public transportation in Georgia.