February 5, 2016
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Industry Briefs

New Omnitrans Buses ‘Talk’ to Pedestrians — Omnitrans in San ­Bernardino, CA, has incorporated audible turn signals in 15 new buses as a way to get the attention of pedestrians using smartphones and so might be distracted. The caution announcement, given in English and Spanish, is ­triggered automatically when the driver turns the steering wheel. Omnitrans will evaluate the effectiveness of the new safety feature before considering a retrofit of the rest of its fleet.

Metrolink Lowers Local Fares — Metrolink commuter rail in Los Angeles has reduced its one-way, short-distance fares to encourage using the train for local trips. Now a rider can travel up to two stations for just $3, or $1.50 for seniors. The fare change is a 45 percent discount to the current average fare of $5.50 for a one-way ticket between stations.

HARTPlus Partners with Cab Company — The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa started 2016 with a new taxi voucher program designed to make travel more convenient for persons with disabilities. The HARTPlus Customer Choice Voucher Pilot Project allows paratransit users to make same-day appointments to travel by cab for the same price as a van through a partnership with the Yellow Cab Company of Tampa.

Google Maps Show NCTD Bus Routes — Riders on the North County Transit District’s BREEZE buses in Oceanside, CA, can plan their trips instantly by using Google Maps, which now includes real-time transit information. Users need only enter a desired destination and Google Maps will show BREEZE bus routes based on real-time results.

St. Louis Metro Tests Electric Articulated Bus — St. Louis Metro has begun test driving an articulated 60-foot battery-electric bus from BYD Co. Ltd. on its busiest route as a way to see how the vehicle will operate in winter weather. “This is the fifth electric bus model we’ve tested on the system this year, but the very first electric articulated bus,” said Ray Friem, executive director of Metro Transit. Non-electric articulated buses have operated on the route since 2014 as a way to address overcrowding.

Des Moines Donates Retired Vans — The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) recently donated three of its retired RideShare vans to area nonprofits: ArtForceIowa, which offers art-related programs for ­at-risk youth; Central Iowa Shelter & Services, which provides shelter and meals for homeless adults; and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Des Moines Field Office, which helps refugees adapt to life in the U.S.
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