Regional Transit Agency Switches from 800 MHz Radio to Commercial Network
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 | Comments

The Siouxland Regional Transit System (SRTS) changed its communications plan from renting space on a local 800 MHz trunked system with various radio makes and models to a commercial network to manage communications between dispatchers and bus drivers.

The radio system cost about $35,000 a year for radios, installation, repairs and tower rent. Additionally, 50 bus radios and six dispatcher units were reaching end of life and required a large capital outlay to replace.

While serving more than 200,000 residents in seven mostly rural counties around northwest Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska, in addition to providing specialized services for those with disabilities, SRTS required reliable coverage. SRTS maintains transportation contracts with several entities in both larger communities and rural areas, including Native American Childcare Services in Sioux City, as well as many other school systems and city agencies. Last year, SRTS provided about 180,000 rides and traveled over 1 million miles.

Curt Miller, transit director for SRTS, deployed Samsung tablets to every driver and Samsung Galaxy cellphones to dispatch personnel. Automated Business Solution’s PTMS dispatch software runs on bus tablets over the Verizon commercial network.

Miller then deployed the Zello for Work app for all 60 employees to provide the ability to program drivers into groups, allowing dispatchers to talk to drivers one county at a time rather than all at once and maintaining a history of all calls. The tablet audio wasn’t loud enough for drivers to hear and needed a remote mic to amplify sound. SRTS deployed Pryme Radio Products wireless Bluetooth speaker microphones.

“One of the biggest benefits of Pryme’s BTH-600 ZU was that drivers could clip the mic to lapels and use the push-to-talk (PTT) feature while in motion without ever having to touch the tablet,” said Miller. “Plus, drivers could now step outside the bus to assist passengers and still communicate, whereas before they missed transmissions.”

The total package, including dispatcher smartphones, tablets installed on stands in buses running the dispatch software with Zello in the background, cost 70 percent less per annum than SRTS’s previous system. Coverage was as good or better, even in the most rural areas, a statement said.

The last phase is improving bandwidth to allow live streaming from the video camera/DVR systems onboard all buses. The agency is testing Cradlepoint’s in-vehicle ruggedized router units.

Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *


No Comments Submitted Yet

Be the first by using the form above to submit a comment!


March 2023

27 - 30
International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) 2023
Las Vegas

More Events >

Site Navigation