myStop by phone
AMTRAN added a new feature to its Smart Bus Project to get real-time bus departure information to customers quickly and easily.
In 25 seconds, customers can call from their home, office or mobile phone and get bus departure times for their specific bus stop. All they have to do is to dial 944-1200 and punch in their bus stop number.
According to John Palko, AMTRAN Director of Staff and Customer Services, “myStop means that you don't have to worry about missing your bus or standing out in the rain or cold. You can find out when your bus is coming by phone or on the internet.”
myStop also includes electronic signs at Penn State Altoona, Logan Valley Mall (inside and outside), the downtown Transit Center (inside and outside), and at the AMTRAN office that tell customers when the next bus should arrive in real time.
“Not knowing when or if the bus is coming is the frustrating part of public transportation,” says Eric Wolf, General Manager. “myStop solves that problem.”
AMTRAN's Smart Bus project was designed and implemented by Avail Technologies from State College through a special Intelligent Transportation System grant from Congressman Bill Shuster.
“Keeping our customers better informed makes taking the bus more convenient,” according to Scott Cessna, AMTRAN Board Chair. “Congressman Shuster wanted us to have this system because it results in increased ridership.”
Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology in each bus ties into a central computer that tracks the bus against its scheduled route allowing the computer to predict when the bus will arrive at stops throughout the AMTRAN system. Tied into the atomic clock at the Naval Observatory, the system also lets the driver know when they are running early or late helping them stay on time. In addition, the system alerts the dispatcher as to which buses are running early or late.
Maureen Gilbert, Director of Transportation, stated, “The entire system runs more smoothly and more on time with this new technology in place.”
The Smart Bus Project also automates onboard bus stop announcements so that people with hearing disabilities can see them on a sign and people with vision disabilities can hear them announced automatically.