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Some MCAT passengers will receive alerts about upcoming trips starting in April

Many people with medical needs depend on the Handy Bus for transport to medical facilities like the Bradenton Dialysis Center. Manatee County is launching new customer service technology in April.
Many people with medical needs depend on the Handy Bus for transport to medical facilities like the Bradenton Dialysis Center. Manatee County is launching new customer service technology in April.

Some Manatee County Area Transit passengers will start to receive reminders about their upcoming trips via phone, email or text in April.

Thanks to a new interactive communication system, Handy Bus passengers will have the option to receive the updates and reminders about their scheduled trips beginning April 15, according to a news release.

“The new technology, known as the Interactive Voice Response or IVR System, provides electronic notifications to Handy Bus clients regarding their scheduled trips and real-time alerts for bus arrival times,” a news release states. “Just as important, clients can customize their alerts. For instance, clients will be able to verify scheduled trips and pick up times, cancel trips when necessary, receive alerts on pending bus arrivals, as well as receiving periodic updates on prepaid fare account balances.”

The technology will be launched on the same day that the modifications are implemented to bus service on Longboat Key, which will switch to a new reservation-based on-demand service. The reminders will also be available to Longboat Key Shuttle passengers.

“Real-time service modifications, combined with the IVR System’s bus arrival information, and customers waiting for their rides will most certainly benefit all end users,” William Steele, the county’s transit division manager, said in the release.

Passengers will also be alerted when regular service is suspended and the potential evacuation of clients to shelter locations.

“This very beneficial technology improvement also better serves clients in the aftermath of these events, as the IVR System provides the ability to communicate quickly and effectively with respect to the resumption of regular Handy Bus services,” Steele said.

For more information about the new technology, visit the MCAT website at mymanatee.org/mcat or contact MCAT at 941-748-2317.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

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