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COMMUNITY NOTES: Regional transit continues to grow and advance

By Tammy Elthon, Regional Transit Daily Operations Manager

We will complete six years of running the daily operations of the Charles City Public Transit on August 1st of this year. We have seen some changes during the six years.

This year, in February, the transit had the technology of electronic tablets added to each bus. The software uses some terms we had not used in daily operations of the transit in the past – tripmaster, periscope, holding pen, audits, and validations.

This was an upgrade that NIACOG (the North Iowa Area Council of Governments in Mason City) did to all their buses in Region 2, so roughly 70 buses got tablets with internet service. This required training for drivers to run the tablets and dispatch to learn the software.

All rides are now entered into the computer and with the internet on all tablets, the rides are sent directly to the buses. This allows dispatch to see where the buses are at all times with GPS and statistics of each bus – so not only the location of the bus but number of passengers on the bus and the speed of the bus.

We are starting to feel more comfortable with this new system, but there has been a learning curve for all of us.

The Charles City Public Transit continues to increase riders. Our passenger list is over 2,000 passengers in our system. We print out an average of 8-10 pages of advanced scheduled rides every day.

We encourage you to call in advance of all appointments so we can get you scheduled and to your appointment on time. It’s never too early to schedule, as we book many weeks in advance.

Unfortunately, calling the day of your appointment sometimes results in us being unable to provide you with a ride at the time you request due to your appointment time already being filled on all three buses.

We have been providing rides for 62 students again this year. Highlights of a driver’s day are, no doubt, things a 3- or 4-year-old might say.

We have been building out the schedules for children who will be riding with us this fall. As of this time, we are full for the fall school year 2024/25, and we have started a waiting list of students.

Pricing to ride the transit has not changed. In-city rides remain $1 or a white ticket for the elderly/disabled; $1.50 or a blue ticket for the students and $4 or an orange ticket for the general public. County rides are $2 or a pick ticket for students/elderly/disabled and $4 for the general public. Regional rides are $3 or a yellow ticket for students/elderly/disabled and $5 for the general public.

For questions or to book a ride, call 641-715-1314 Monday through Friday to reach the Charles City Public Transit. It’s very rewarding for us to help with this service each year providing transportation in the area.



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