Big Cabin, Oklahoma
Located in northeastern Oklahoma, Pelivan Transit is named after the annual migration of the white pelican to this region of the state which includes the agency’s seven county service areas and tribal jurisdictions. Pelivan Transit is owned and operated by Grand Gateway EDA, a council of governments serving these same counties in northeastern Oklahoma.
Pelivan has been operating for 29 years and began with a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to launch a rural transportation program with the purchase of a few vans. Today, this integrated rural public and tribal transit has grown to a fleet of over 160 vehicles and, with the new Grand Lake Mental Health partnership, has 70 employees in their program. The agency performs over 700 trips per day which are scheduled and dispatched through several area centers: Claremore, Grove, Miami, Owasso, and Big Cabin for Pryor and Vinita cities and surrounding counties.
Pelivan provides a mix of trips including standing orders, single instance trips, and same-day trip requests with over 20 different funding sources to manage in their system. In 2013, Pelivan accrued more than 2,700,000 passenger miles. To build a new approach to more efficient route scheduling, the agency began offering a $1.00 fare discount to riders that scheduled their rides in advance. Same-day rides are also provided based on availability for a premium fare of $3.00 one-way or $2.50 for riders who are 60 years and older.
Like many rural demand response providers, Pelivan originally performed manual scheduling and dispatching. About three years ago, they were looking for an easier, more efficient way to systematically collect statistics about their ridership and operations. Because of the dispersed and decentralized structure of their operations – with each dispatching center handling their own calls, scheduling, and verifications, and more – Pelivan decided it was time to implement a common ITS technology platform across multiple locations that would capture and manage data consistently.
Doing What’s Best for the People
Over several years of partnering with Routematch, Pelivan has emerged to become a forerunner in mobility management and coordination. They have streamlined their operations with their One-Click/One-Call Center to establish a more efficient and advanced system across locations while managing funding sources and driver needs through advanced technology.
In 2012, Pelivan made the transition to an automated system with Routematch’s Demand solution for their curb-to-curb rural transportation program and integrated tribal transit program. They installed a scheduling and route optimization system with integrated data management modules and implemented Routematch’s mobile data services featuring tablet technology to their fleet.
Routematch worked closely with Pelivan to enhance their data interchange capabilities. Pelivan had been pulling rider data from multiple sources and needed a solution to access rider manifest information. Data interfaces were specifically created for future use with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Grand Lake Mental Health, area tribal clinics and agencies, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation/Myleonet NTD statewide rural database. All of these interfaces meant that necessary data could be imported or exported for management and reporting needs.
The agency also added 70 tablets to their vehicles, and drivers underwent one-on-one training to learn how to use the system. Communication between drivers and dispatchers remain an integral part of the process and this mobile solution offered the agency improved communications and the ability to track and measure on-time performance and manage routes.
“As any new technology presented, the tablets took a little getting used to, but now everyone – especially our drivers – love them,” says Boren. “Dispatchers appreciate that they can look at their screen and see where their vehicles are with the Automatic Vehicle Location tool.” The ability to gather real-time data allows Pelivan to run more accurate reports, which in turn makes reporting for funding resources easier to manage.
Moving forward, Pelivan has already activated several add-ons to their Routematch technology platform. Routematch’s Notification module allows each call center to deliver automated notifications to customers via phone call, text or email, reminding them of their scheduled rides or alert them of service changes.
The agency has also added the Customer Web Portal, a One-Call/One-Click solution for customers that allows them to go online to schedule their own rides, edit reservations, and access other important information. Finally, Pelivan also plans to incorporate Routematch’s Inspect module to their tablets which will allow for a more automated and electronic pre-trip and post-trip inspection process.
Achieving Coordinated Management
The adaptation of Routematch’s enterprise technology platform marked the beginning of Pelivan’s evolution from a decentralized operation to a centralized, One-Call/One-Click regional mobility management center. Aside from the improvements in scheduling, dispatching and overall data management, the agency also underwent a change in how staff roles and jobs were defined.
Pelivan took the opportunity to sort through years of data to help rebuild a solid base of rider information to form profiles of their long-term customers; having all of their information and any special need requirements easily accessible in the database would expedite the scheduling process. This type of data capture and management also help schedulers optimize routes and maximize overall efficiencies.
Pelivan is required to report vehicle odometer readings to the state and therefore the mobile data technology and vehicles must be completely in synch. The main challenge faced with this endeavor was connectivity issues due to the rural nature of some of their territory. Processes were developed to capture any incorrect data ensuring that all data is corrected by the time it reaches the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT). Most Pelivan areas are now “paperless,” meaning they only need to use a cover sheet with pertinent beginning and ending route information. Routematch also worked closely with the ODOT’s MYLEOnet system to develop a data interface for online reporting which eliminated the duplication of data entry.
“All in all, the entire company has gone up several levels in the past two years,” says Lisa Boren, Data Coordinator/Routematch Project Manager, with Pelivan Transit. “With Routematch, we are continuing to lay the foundation for what’s to come.”
Working Together for Long-Term Success
Pelivan’s adaptation of Routematch’s integrated technology platform is a fine example of multiple operations, in different locations, working together to create one cohesive service model for their ridership. Pelivan plans on extending their mobility management network by negotiating with more agencies about integrating their transit systems into the Pelivan Transit Fleet. This will allow them to address gaps or overlaps in service and create more user and rider friendly transit solutions.
“Pelivan has embraced Routematch technology to accommodate our complex and growing transit system needs,” says Debbie McGlasson, Pelivan Transit Director. “The Fixed Route Software, and the Notification Module that calls and verifies our scheduled rides with the riders is fantastic! We are excited about the future additions coming soon that will include Vehicle Inspections on the tablets that will interface with our new Flexible Fuel Vehicle Maintenance Facility. Our relationship with Routematch is growing and we’ve enjoyed travelling down this new path together.”