Pike Area Transit receives GPS systems

Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pike Area Transit System Director Danta Fraizer said the service has grown two-fold since the project began in 2007.

Approximately 200 people rely on PATS daily to get to jobs, doctors’ appointments and other obligations, and Fraizer said with the addition of GPS systems to PATS vehicles, response times will decrease and dispatchers will be able to know in real-time where a driver is.

“This is a pretty big deal for us,” Fraizer said. “This is something that we’ve been wanting for a long time now. The blessing about it is we’ve had different companies come in and give us different perspectives on the different systems, and we just didn’t have the money at the time. But this was an opportunity to get 100 percent money through ALDOT.”

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Fraizer said the GPS systems will be purchased through the telecommunications company Verizon and will cost approximately $1,051 for a 12-month service.

“They came in and we asked for it,” Fraizer said. “ALDOT looked over it and approved it for us. We got it in and invoicing it to them was a quick process. They paid for it and less than a week later the GPS systems were sent from the company. Now we’re just waiting for Verizon to send a unit now to get installation in for our busses. That was the big blessing that PATS received. It really wasn’t a long time wait like we thought it would be.”

Fraizer said not only would the systems give dispatchers real-time locations for drivers, the systems also are able to report how fast drivers are going.

“It also can give us diagnostics of our vehicles like engine problems or anything of that nature,” Fraizer said. “It’s all on the computer, so they’ll be looking at it directly at the information instead of what we’ve been doing in the past, which has been radioing out to drivers to get information. It’s a huge deal for us.”

Fraizer said the project had grown from a fleet of three vans and drivers to nine vans. And, the Troy City Council recently approved funding for PATS that included the purchase of a minivan for approximately $36,500. Fraizer said this additional vehicle will more than likely make out-of-county trips a reality once again.

“Hopefully once our budget gets cleared with the local governments, we’ll be able to get it,” Fraizer said. “ALDOT has already approved their portion of the budget. Once the budget is approved and once the fiscal year starts, ALDOT will send out information on ordering the bus. It normally takes anywhere from three to six months give or take for busses to get here. This minivan will definitely be an asset to our program.”

Those wishing to utilize PATS services are asked to call 24 hours in advance and set up a pick up time and provide the organization with specified information, which includes the rider’s name, address, destination and if you need to be picked back up from the location.

Frazier said riders would need to call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to arrange a pick up. After 3 p.m., Fraizer said the schedule for the following day would be set.

The charges for a one-way trip are $2 for up to nine miles, $3 for 10 to 20 miles and $4 for distances greater than 20 miles.