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News & Updates

Mar 19

Bend Dial-A-Ride has its best day ever

Author: Eric Lint | Posted on

Bend Dial-A-Ride had its best day ever last month and keeps pushing all-time high ridership numbers. The paratransit service complements Bend’s fixed route bus system with on-demand, door-to-door rides within Bend city limits. The increased ridership is made possible mainly thanks to recent technology upgrades at Cascades East Transit – in this case a new computer-aided dispatch or CAD system.

CET installed new GPS units – or automatic vehicle locators (AVL) – on all its vehicles in 2022. The CAD system was installed as part of the same project. The two technologies together allow CET to know exactly where every vehicle is in real time… and compute where each vehicle needs to be with computer-assisted efficiency.

For fixed route buses, this new tech enables real-time arrival notifications on your phone (download an app here or see the live map now). It will also make possible the electronic signage we expect to install at bus stops in the future.

For the Dial-A-Ride service, though, the new dispatch system helps us deliver more rides in the same amount of time. CET has several vans and small buses operating Bend Dial-A-Ride every day. Each vehicle can carry several riders at the same time to multiple destinations. When a ride is requested by a passenger, the computer-aided dispatch system helps our dispatch team based in Redmond assign that rider the best vehicle for their ride. Sometimes that’s not as simple as picking the closest vehicle, but instead one where the entire route from pickup to drop-off better fits with all the other people riding that day. For example, another person can be picked up in between your pickup and drop-off. CAD makes this dispatch process much simpler and more efficient.

Bend Dial-A-Ride is currently free to ride, but the service does require meeting certain eligibility criteria and registering with the program. Learn more about Bend Dial-A-Ride and apply here.