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Indiana County Transit Authority to launch dispatching software, changes in fare structure

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Indiana County residents using the county transit authority's Shared Ride and Persons With Disabilities transportation programs could be seeing fare changes starting in December as IndiGO transitions from a zone-based fare system to mileage-based fares.

IndiGO will begin using new Ecolane scheduling and dispatching software to streamline operations beginning Dec. 9.

“We are working with Ecolane right now to get everything installed and it's being tested as we speak,” said IndiGO administrator Vickie Kanyan. “We'll be doing training on it the first week of December to get everyone up to speed.”

The program uses a GPS system to group passengers by destination and pickup location, ideally reducing the number of IndiGO vehicles dispatched to pick up passengers in the same general area.

“It should make the runs more efficient to be able to see ‘Okay, we have three people who need to go to Indiana in the same general area,' so instead of three vehicles going for them, one vehicle will get them all and take them,” Kanyan said. “The GPS is really going to help make that much easier than just a human trying to see all that.”

The Ecolane system will also allow IndiGO to alter its fare structure to reflect actual trip distances instead of assigning a flat rate for trips from one “zone” to another.

Once the Ecolane program is implemented, trip distance and cost will be automatically calculated when a trip is scheduled.

Clients of Aging Services, Inc. will see no changes to their fares, as Aging Services will cover any difference in fares.

“Anyone 65 years of age or older, if they're a client of Aging Services, their cost right now is 30 cents each way,” Kanyan said. “That will remain the same. That's regardless of distance, it will remain at 30 cents.”

Under the mileage-based system, some customers could see their fares decrease from current rates while others will pay more.

According to IndiGO, Shared Ride customers who are not clients of Aging Services would have a cost of $2.60 each way for trips in Indiana Borough or White Township. Under the new fare structure, that same client taking a trip of up to 1.99 miles would be charged a fare of $2.10 each way while a trip of up to 5 miles would cost the customer $2.40 each way. Customers taking longer trips could see increases from the current $2.85 for trips outside of Indiana Borough and White Township, with new fares reaching $4.50 for a trip of 20 to 29.99 miles each way.

Customers using IndiGO's PWD program will also see a change in fare structure, as that program's fares are based on the Shared Ride fares.

IndiGO is one of the first county transit authorities in the state to move to the Ecolane software.

“This is a new software that PennDOT has really taken an interest in because eventually what they would like to see long-term is for all the state's shared ride programs using the software so everyone will be streamlined with reporting and everyone will be doing it the same way,” Kanyan said.

For more information on the changes, or for fare estimates, contact IndiGO at 724-465-2140 or 1-800-442-6928.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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