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Grand Forks council eyes new, $22k software to map bus routes

City buses routes look set for a high-tech upgrade. Grand Forks City Council members voted 6-0 in a Monday committee meeting to approve a two-year, $22,000 software purchase that comes months before Cities Area Transit officials retool their bus ...

Grand Forks City Hall (Herald photo/Sam Easter)
Grand Forks City Hall (Herald photo/Sam Easter)

City buses routes look set for a high-tech upgrade.

Grand Forks City Council members voted 6-0 in a Monday committee meeting to approve a two-year, $22,000 software purchase that comes months before Cities Area Transit officials retool their bus route map. For $10,000 per year, plus a $2,000 fee, the city will be able to plan its bus lines and weigh them against significant data, including demographic numbers and costs, all without the pain and man-hours that come with charting them manually.

The purchase is expected to win City Council approval next week, and comes as transit officials make changes to their bus routes later this year. Dale Bergman, a senior city official managing CAT operations, said those changes are part of a regular process that prunes unused portions of bus routes from the map, and that the new software will save "a ton of time and man-hours."

"It's not that we're going to lose anything," he said. "We're actually just cutting areas that have, as we call it, revenue miles and no passenger pickup. And so, with all the demographics and everything starting to shift more south and west, we have to start looking at redoing our routes."

Bergman said the planning process for new routes is expected to include substantial public input, including public hearings as soon as April, and that changes rolled out as soon as July 1 could save the service $200,000 a year.

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"I think anytime we can leverage technology or a way that it's going to improve efficiency, I think we should look at it," City Council member Danny Weigel said.

City Council Vice President Ken Vein was absent from the meeting.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
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