Despite the expected launch of a third bus scanning system this semester, Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) scrapped the idea in favor of another version of the devices.
Last April, Jesse Vogl, director of OCCT, said that the transition to the third generation bus scanners would be finished by the fall 2013 semester. However, OCCT decided against finishing the system and is looking into another edition of the scanners.
In an email, Eric Larson, CEO of OCCT and Student Association president, described plans for the new devices.
“The upcoming system that OCCT has been looking to incorporate has several features. We want a system that does more than just handle our ridership data, but goes further to expand our services,” Larson wrote. “The new system would have features that include Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities on all our buses and digital signage at stops that will indicate estimated times to the next bus arrival, in addition to collecting ridership data.”
The new system is only in the planning phases, and there is no definite answer on when it will be up and running.
“We don’t have a timeline on implementing these scanners,” said Ravi Prakriya, SA’s vice president for finance. “We’re actively looking into it to fix everything.”
The unused third generation scanning system costs about $3,500, coming directly from OCCT’s budget.
Regardless of the price, Larson said the new system will successfully gather data concerning which routes are most popular in order to improve the effectiveness of the buses.
“The purpose of these scanners is to collect ridership data to help keep OCCT informed as to what routes are most heavily demanded,” Larson wrote. “The university also has an interest in knowing our ridership data to ensure that our students are getting the best service we can provide.”
Vogl said that OCCT discontinued the third generation scanners because they would not fulfill the same needs.
“No, they’re not [in place],” Vogl said. “Because of this new system, there’s no sense in sinking more money into a system that won’t work.”
Justin Zaretzky, a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said he is not happy with the excessive spending of money for a system that did not work.
“The OCCT should not waste money on something that will not be used. If they are going to spend that money, they should spend it in another way that will be practical for our campus,” Zaretzky said.
Sam Levine, a freshman majoring in Spanish, said he would prefer no formal scanning on the buses.
“The lines are long enough to begin with. By the time half the line scans their ID, the other half is complaining,” Levine said.
Despite past issues with bus scanners, Larson said the new features are worth the costs.
“I am optimistic that this proposed system will provide the service that meets our expectations. The OCCT, and other SA sponsored services, represent a large portion of where our student activity budget goes. Ensuring that our SA services deliver a high quality and convenient experience to our students is one of my office’s top priorities,“ wrote Larson.
Furthermore, the SA said it is necessary to continually update the bus systems and scanners.
“The minute we roll one system out, more often than not, we’re looking at the next one. It’s a continuing process,” Larson continued. “As long as this University is getting bigger and demand on our buses gets larger, we’re going to have to start stepping up our game as far as facilities within the bus.”