Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Metro honored for safety, plans new communications system

Fresh off of a May award for excellence in bus safety, Metro celebrated its annual safety month by recognizing two of its finest drivers.

John Kramer of Bridgetown and Roy Emerson of Green Township were inducted into the National Safety Council's "Two Million Mile Club", signifying 30-plus years on the road without a preventable accident.

Kramer and Emerson have driven for Metro since 1977 and 1979, respectively. They are two of 58 drivers in Metro's history to receive the distinction, including Malcolm Gatherwright, the Ohio Public Transit Association's 2010 Operator of the Year.

At a conference last month in Cleveland, Metro received a Certificate of Merit for Exceptional Achievement in Bus Safety from the American Public Transportation Association.

The transit service was recognized for reducing preventable accidents by 13 percent over the last three years, largely through the use of enhanced bus operator training, the employment of a safety and training manager, and the formation of employee committees charged with enhancing safety and accident prevention.

"Safety is our highest priority, and it's an honor to be recognized among peer transit systems with this prestigious award," said Metro CEO Marilyn Shazor in a media release.

Improved communications

Metro also has announced that it will be phasing in a new $8.4 million transit communication system that includes GPS, improved radio communications between buses and central dispatch, and new customer information options.

Fully funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Trapeze ITS will connect the service's 337 buses, 55 Access vehicles and supervisor vehicles to central dispatch with improved operational efficiency and emergency response.

One component of Trapeze ITS, TransitMaster IDS, will continuously monitor and analyze data from vehicles and other external sources, providing dispatchers with a prioritized list of action items and an accompanying list of specific solutions.

For riders, real-time arrival and departure information will be available at the Government Square hub and several other key locations. The new system also will make it possible for real-time bus information to be sent to smartphones and PDAs.

Metro officials say that the current radio communications system is outdated and difficult to maintain.

"It is critical that we replace our current outdated system," Shazor said. "The new transit communications system will support our efforts to improve efficiency, enhance safety, and increase customer satisfaction."

The new system is expected to be fully operational by late 2011.

Photo courtesy of Metro.

Previous reading on BC:
Tell your Metro story, win free bus rides for a year (6/1/10)
Metro, TANK to offer free rides on Bike to Work Day (5/11/10)
Learn how to ride Metro this Friday (8/19/08)
SORTA. Colerain may re-route 41 bus (11/2/07)