City Council to vote on CyRide tracking system

Kayla Schantz

CyRide could soon have bus tracking technology that will allow students to receive real-time arrival information via smartphone, website and automated telephone system.

The City Council will vote Tuesday to approve a contract with bus tracking vender NEXTbus to implement such technology in CyRide.

Besides making arrival information available via electronic sources, NEXTbus will also have arrival signage at four locations on campus: Kildee, Bessey, Friley and Student Services.

NEXTbus is used by the University of Iowa in Iowa City and the company offered the same prices to CyRide.

High cost estimates have prevented implementing bus tracking for CyRide in the past. However, with the recent affordable prices, as well as a $1 million GSB trust fund for CyRide, the project is now feasible.

The bus tracking system proposal was approved by GSB on Feb. 2 and by the Transit Board of Trustees on Feb. 17.

The $428,390 contract includes implementation and three years’ service. The Transit Board will decide on further contract costs at a later date.

City Council will also vote on a new CyRide transit service agreement at the meeting.

CyRide is jointly funded by the city of Ames, Iowa State and GSB. The three agencies have entered into six five-year agreements, and the current one will expire June 30.

The transit service agreement for CyRide includes the budgeting process, level of payment contribution, liability responsibility and purpose and duration of the agreement.

The proposed agreement changes the duration to 10 years, rather than five. The agreement also changes the language for liability responsibility to define CyRide as “an agency of the city of Ames.”

If approved, the new agreement will begin July 1 and expire June 30, 2021.

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 515 Clark Ave.