NEORide and SARTA receive $1.25 million to advance EZConnect call centre project
The EZConnect public transit call centre will enable participating transport systems across Ohio to enhance the customer experience, improve mobility management, as well as co-ordinate the acquisition and use of drivers and vehicles.
The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) and NEORide have announced that they have been awarded a $1.25 million federal grant to move the EZConnect project forward from concept to reality. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown had secured the funding, which had been included in the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill and signed by President Biden on 29 December 2022.
A proposed one-call, one-click public transit mobility centre, the EZConnect call centre will provide centralised reservation, ride scheduling, dispatch and customer relations services to SARTA, the Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA), Wayne-Medina Community Action, CAA of Columbiana County, Trumbull County Transit, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Butler County Regional Transit Authority.
“By ending the duplication of services and employing state of the art technology, EZConnect will enable each of the participating systems to vastly improve mobility management, enhance customer service, co-ordinate the acquisition and use of drivers, vehicles, and other resources, improve operational efficiency, and generate substantial cost savings that will be used to expand access to and the use of public transit across Ohio,” said NEORide Director Katherine Conrad.
“Increasing access is a primary focus of the project because a significant number of the 2.2 million people who reside in the communities our systems serve depend on public transit,” said Katherine Conrad. “More than 12 per cent are persons with disabilities, 17 per cent have household incomes below the poverty line and 17 per cent are older adults. Our systems currently provide 10 million rides per year and demand is growing. We are confident EZConnect will play a key role in helping our systems meet that demand by enabling them to deliver an additional one million rides annually.”
Kirt Conrad, CEO of SARTA, said: “The expanded use of public transportation eliminates tonnes of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, lessens America’s reliance of foreign oil, and reduces traffic congestion. By making it easier and more convenient to use public transit, EZConnect will improve our environment and enhance the quality of life in our communities. We are pleased and proud to be a member of the this impressive team.”
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Butler County Regional Transit Authority, CAA of Columbiana County, NEORide, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Trumbull County Transit, Wayne-Medina Community Action, Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA)