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CARTS seeks grant for mobility app help

The Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System is continuing to find ways to link its services with new technology.

On Tuesday, Michele Westphal, CARTs senior project coordinator, and Brad Bentley, county public works director, discussed with the Chautauqua County Planning Board how CARTS is applying for federal funding that will help the transit service link to the Routematch app.

Westphal said with the grant funding, CARTS officials will be able to purchase more modules to use with the Routematch software it already owns that will improve rider experience.

Bentley said he believes the Routematch app will help increase the number of CARTS riders because it will open the doors to a whole new generation of younger riders. He said by using the app, people can see where buses are in real time.

“If you want to bring CARTS to the next level, this is it,” Bentley said.

Routematch is an app that connects transit agencies to riders. The app helps more than 600 transit agencies transform rider experiences and manage operational costs. RouteMatch develops transportation software that provides transportation data management, dispatch, trip booking and can help to reduce mileage and cost.

Bentley said by linking with Routematch, its another way county officials are working to try to improve ridership of CARTS buses. He said former County Executive George Borrello during his two years as the leader of county government implemented several new programs to increase the use of CARTS buses throughout the county. CARTS offers public transportation services Monday through Friday to and from various locations across the county.

For more information about CARTS, visit chqgov.com/carts/carts or facebook.com/carts.ny, or call 800-388-6534.

Bentley said the federal grant, if approved, will be for $1.625 million. He said the local share is 10%, which will be around $162,000. Westphal said CARTS has been receiving the grant, which helps with operational expenses, for more than 20 years. The two-year grant will reimburse costs already incurred in 2019 and for future costs in 2020.

Bentley said the Chautauqua County Legislature will discuss the grant later this month during its committee meetings. Westphal said the grant application is due Feb. 24.

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