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Case Study
Omnitrans Ups The Ante For Passengers, With Participation In Early Adopter Upgrade Program
Industry
Fixed Route and Paratransit
Products
PASS, FX, OPS, INFO-COM, TM, BSM
By eliminating any bugs and resolving issues during testing, OmniTrans gains smooth operations to ensure seamless service for riders.

Background

With passenger demands changing at the speed of light, transit agencies and their technologies need to evolve right along with them or get left behind. Always a proponent of regular upgrades to their technology, OmniTrans has been on the frontlines of innovation since 2005. Ben Greenbeck, System Coordinator at OmniTrans, has overseen smooth upgrades for the organization for over a decade. 

OmniTrans has been seeing the benefits of Trapeze’s solutions for many years. This public transit agency utilizes PASS, FX, OPS, COM, and TransitMaster to ensure its 16 million passengers get safe, reliable service they can count on.

“We operate local and express bus routes, plus rapid transit service, OmniGo hometown shuttle service, and a paratransit service for the disabled,” says Greenbeck, “We need to ensure we’re running the latest versions of our technology solutions so our service is dependable and we have real-time information for our travelers, drivers, and dispatchers.”

Challenges

OmniTrans had been looking to upgrade PASS, FX, OPS, and COM since 2008 but had hit a roadblock due to funding issues and technology incompatibility. “We needed to upgrade our Oracle 9i Database. All of our other programs had been upgraded to SQL Server and we were starting to migrate away from Oracle,” says Greenbeck. “Trapeze was the last to be on Oracle – but we didn’t have the budget in order to upgrade. That was the major challenge.” 

With systems on older versions, OmniTrans was beginning to experience operational issues. “If we needed to reboot, it would take a lot of manual work to get everything back up and running,” says Greenbeck. “The resilience of those older versions of Trapeze on Windows was just not like what we have today. Trapeze has done a great job in making sure everything runs as Windows Service and that’s what gives Trapeze solutions that resilience.”

OmniTrans needed to ensure the software could run as a service instead of as separate applications. This would provide a much more efficient and seamless service for employees.

They were also very interested in leveraging v18’s new functionalities, such as the auto-assign functionality in OPS and PASS, and the sat map overlay in FX.

"Our productivity doesn't go down when we need to manually check to make sure everything is up and running. We no longer need to worry about it - it's automatic."

Ben Greenbeck, System Coordinator for OmniTrans

Solutions

OmniTrans had tried to migrate from Oracle to SQL a number of times but had issues bringing the data over, causing the SQL Server Database to crash. Working with Moru Nuhamovici at Trapeze they used a combination of a Data Pump that Moru built and DB Edit to apply the Indexes once the data was transferred. This combination resulted in a data migration from Oracle 9i to SQL Server in about 4 hours. Much better than the previous attempt which was 36 hours. “We were then able to upgrade the Trapeze software as a result,” says Greenbeck.

Integral to the success of the upgrade, testing it prior to the broad rollout ensured that any bugs were fixed before the software was implemented across the organization. With a group of core power users experienced in Trapeze technology upgrades and custom scripts, they knew what needed to be done. 

As an early adopter, OmniTrans’ commitment to work together with Trapeze as partners helped to ensure critically important criteria were met in the testing phase before the full rollout.

According to OmniTrans, training was also an integral part of the upgrade. Frank Quass, Purchased Transportation Administrator at OmniTrans, wanted to ensure the upgrades would be as valuable as possible: “Without training, our users barely scratch the surface of the Trapeze potential. It’s important to have support on how to improve our use and maximize the benefits of the upgrade.” Trapeze worked with OmniTrans to ensure each member of the team understood the full functionality  of the solution. Through training, OmniTrans was able to optimize their processes with Trapeze’s software, attaining the results they needed efficiently and effectively.

Results

After a 6-month upgrade project as an early adopter, OmniTrans joined the forefront of innovation. “All software is running as a  service. Everything comes back on its own if a reboot happens, especially the MDT service,” says Greenbeck. “Our productivity doesn’t go down when we need to manually check to make sure everything is up and running. We no longer need to worry about it – it’s automatic.” The integration between PASS, FX, OPS, and  COM is much stronger. “We like the ability to create incidents as we have a small  support team on our end. This makes things much easier,” Greenbeck notes.

OmniTrans was able to rely on the Customer Care team at Trapeze. “I was always able to reach out to them. They took care of the nitty gritty details and layout plans, giving me the time to make sure the environment was right for our needs,” says Greenbeck. “The team behind the upgrade was instrumental to our success. We’re really pleased with the whole process.”

Being part of the early adopter program is of great importance to OmniTrans. “Our  riders rely on us to see their families, meet their friends, and head to work. Our goal is to provide them with a dependable and affordable transit  service – and having the up-to-date software solutions enables us to do that,” Greenbeck says.

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