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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Using homeland money to actually help transit riders?

Something odd caught my eye in a recent Clovis city council agenda. Two things I've talked about before on this blog being found together on the same agenda item in a way I didn't expect.

Homeland Security.
Bus tracking technology for riders.


The second is something I've talked about before as being a great way to show respect for transit riders and increase ridership. Indeed, implementation directly led to more riders in Visalia. The same would be true in Clovis, which has an extremely infrequent bus system. If a bus comes only once an hour, knowing exactly when it will arrive is critical.

So what does it have to do with homeland security, an agency that enjoys spending time inconveniencing and harassing transit riders?

Apparently, Clovis found a way to tap the endlessly wasteful bounty that is homeland security funding and use it for something that will actually help people.

The City of Clovis is eligible for $76,479 in FY 10-1 1 Proposition I B grant funds and $79,326 in FY 11-12 funding for transit safety and security capital projects. The 10-1 1 funding is phase one (1) of a two (2) year funding cycle, and the 11-12 funding is phase two (2). Funding will be used to procure dispatching software for Roundup, mobile data terminals for buses; and, a system that informs passengers of bus arrivals at specific bus stops. The project has already been deemed eligible for funding by California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA).
PDF


That certainly sounds like bus arrival technology to me.

Will it help fight terrorism? Of course not, but it's not like anything that agency does actually makes people safer. Fortunately, some nimble minds in Clovis found a way to justify the funding.

This project is eligible because it enhances security at bus stops by providing information about bus times, passenger pick up locations on Roundup as well as creating a database of those passengers who may need extra assistance during an emergency or disaster.

Perfect. It makes perfect sense. By informing you what time the bus will actually arrive, you don't have to sit all alone at an isolated bus stop waiting for it to arrive, letting yourself be a prime target for muggers. You can arrive seconds before the bus does and be safely transported.

Sure, Clovis is extremely safe, but in theory it works. Mind you, it's more likely that you'll be killed at a Clovis bus stop by some idiot teenager who is driving 80mph on a local road in an Escalade than by an intentional criminal, but the danger is still there.


So fantastic job Clovis.


And again, Fresno, get on the ball. Visalia did it, Clovis is doing it, why on earth are you not looking for free money that will make transit more attractive....and safer?

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