City of Helena looking at new tech for public transit

City looks at new shared ride system
Posted at 10:33 AM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 14:55:47-04

HELENA — The City of Helena plans to discuss new dispatch software for the Capital Transit System at its Wednesday admin meeting which would allow them to expand their shared ride system and move operations to a more electronic base.

Under the current system, ride scheduling is only available for qualified users of the ADA paratransit service.

The new software from Spare Labs Inc. would allow Capital Transit to provide universal shared-ride access to all passengers for any trip purpose within the service area.

“That opens up to say for a more uber-esque system to where we could start opening up different areas of the city to a more door-to-door.,” said David Knoepke, Helena’s transportation systems director.

City documents say the new software could encourage more use of public transit, even helping bolster economic activity, workforce development, and relieve the strain on traffic congestion while reducing carbon emissions.

The new software will also allow people to purchase bus passes and tickets electronically.

“Trying to take that next step in user ease of use of our system and this is the next logical step,” added Knoepke.

The project would cost the city $10,500 in start-up fees as well as a service fee of $300 per vehicle equipped with the software per month.

The new software could be online early next year and be rolled out initially to the paratransit service.