FARMINGTON — The Red Apple Transit buses may be getting an electronic upgrade that will connect each vehicle to a federal database.
City Council will consider requesting a presentation from RouteMatch Software, a mass transit management technology firm based in Atlanta, Ga., after a new Federal Transit Administration requirement that all transit systems install GPS reporting software in their vehicles.
The software will allow the city to contribute reports to the FTA's National Transit Database, said Bob Campbell, assistant city manager.
"There's this new requirement that all (transit) systems have to report," he said.
The program was established by the U.S. Congress to create a source of information and statistics on transit systems throughout the country. All recipients or beneficiaries of grants from the FTA are required to submit data.
The Red Apple Transit system received more than $400,000 in federal grant money in fiscal year 2012.
The new software could streamline Red Apple Transit operations, Campbell said.
"We don't have any way to collect data except by going through hand written reports," he said. "Every evening, we send a mechanic out to collect mileage by hand. It's labor intensive."
The system will also free the city from relying on First Transit, the city's bus system contractor, to self-report data on routes and lateness, Campbell said.
"We want to take this to a point of not relying so much on self-reporting," he said.
If city council approves the presentation request on Tuesday, and awards a bid to RouteMatch at a later date, the system could be implemented by May, Campbell said.
The city budgeted for a transit management system, he said, but would not release cost figures because the issue is being discussed during a closed session of the city council meeting.