Winter Park partners with transit service company to create new Lift mobile app |

Winter Park partners with transit service company to create new Lift mobile app

Grand County transit riders will soon have a new way to track and interact with the Lift, the Winter Park-based transit system.

The Winter Park Town Council on Tuesday approved a contract with Ride Systems LLC to create a new mobile app for the Lift, as well as a more sophisticated intelligent transit system, which will be used to track and capture data on the transit program.

Currently the town is partnered with RideHop, which provides information on routes and real-time locations to riders through an app that required users to have a rider code to get area specific information. RideHop, however, is going out of business and will close early this fall.

Transit manager Michael Koch said the closure of RideHop was unfortunate, but that the Lift had outgrown the simpler system and needed a more robust program. The town had recently purchased two additional buses and experienced an increase in ridership compared to last year.

The new app will still offer information on routes and real-time locations of active buses, as well as new features such as allowing riders to set up push notifications and designate favorite routes or stops. Koch said it will vastly improve the rider experience.

“People can just go to the Apple (app) store or the Google Play store and just look up the Lift, they download it and there’s all of our routes, there’s everything and they don’t have to put in a ride code or search for our system,” Koch explained. “The ease of using their app was definitely a strong point.”

Koch said he expects the new app created by Ride Systems will be up and running prior to or on Sept. 3, the closing date of RideHop.

Ride Systems will also provide data on ridership by hour, stop and route by installing new mobile data terminals on the buses.

“We’ll have more upgraded hardware on our buses and we’ll also get vastly improved reporting,” Koch said. “It will greatly contribute to our service planning efforts moving forward.”

For the upgraded system and app development, the town will pay an initial $59,000 and then around $19,800 per year for maintaining the programs and equipment. Koch said the contract could eventually expand to include other features, like automated rider counters, automatic voice announcements or display boards at stops.

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