The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bus system adding online scheduling


March 24, 2019

CLOVIS — The city’s transit bus system is adding online scheduling to its fold, beginning Tuesday.

Members of the Clovis Area Transit System, along with a trainer from Ecolane, updated the Clovis city commission on the ongoing software implementation.

“We have been fast and furious for a couple of weeks,” CATS Executive Director Mary Lou Kemp said. “We’re learning a lot, we’re excited and we’re a little nervous. But we are looking forward to the changes.”

Dan Barone, a technical trainer with Ecolane, gave commissioners and the audience a look at the software interface by booking a few rides for Pepsi Barone, the family dog for whom he’d created a sample user account. Booking details included the pickup and drop-off locations with popular destinations saved into the system, and a space for any special instructions to the driver. The booking took about two minutes, largely due to Barone explaining each step of the process.

Once furnished with a username and password by the CATS staff, a user can access the website and pick four options — book a ride, view future rides, view ride history and review account details. When a return ride is booked, Barone said, the software saves a little time by just flipping the address details from the first ride.

All rides will be booked through the Ecolane software, with either the rider booking online or a staffer creating the booking when a customer calls to reserve a ride at 575-769-7910.

A smartphone application is also planned a few weeks after the launch.

City Manager Justin Howalt said city staff plans to visit area senior centers to promote the system.

“Hopefully, it will make some of our routes more efficient,” Howalt said. “It should also reduce the amount of calls we get.”

The city paid approximately $130,000 for the software from Ecolane, which is located in Finland but operates an office in Philadelphia.

In other business at the Thursday meeting:

• The commission approved a budget transfer of $8,520 to help with promotional activities for the city’s status as a 2019 Great American Defense Community.

The city was one of five communities in the country selected for the honor. The money will go toward entryway signs, T-shirts and ticker tape for a June 29 parade to take place during the Draggin’ Main festivities.

n A disaster declaration for March 13 was approved by the commission, after Emergency Management Director Dan Heerding explained the process and presented a slideshow of damage to city buildings and parks.

The declaration would allow for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of deductible payments in association with any repairs. Notable damage was done to the roofs of the Youth Recreation Building, the city’s airport, and the Clovis Police Department.

Heerding said only public entities were eligible for the reimbursements.

Commissioner Chris Bryant said it was important to recognize the efforts of power company employees.

“Most of us were in our residences or businesses,” Bryant said. “They were out in it, and I appreciate all of them.

Commissioner Fidel Madrid said city employees also did plenty of work Wednesday and were to be commended.

• The city dissolved the Cultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee, with the intent to continue its activities through staff and volunteer efforts.

The now-eliminated city code established the committee to conduct an annual ethnic fair, promote and conduct activities relating to the state’s multicultural heritage, develop programs related to the city’s “Clovis Man” history, promote the use of the Lyceum theater for cultural events and coordinate consideration of a sister city program.

City Commissioner Ladona Clayton said she’d received many calls against getting rid of the commission, but noted that she couldn’t find the same enthusiasm when it came to finding people who would serve on the committee.

“I called people I thought might be interested,” Clayton said. “I reached out to people, and I was not alone in that.”

Mayor Pro Tem Juan Garza, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor David Lansford, said he served as the commission representative for the committee, and it constantly struggled to have enough membership overall, let alone enough to attend a meeting and make a quorum.

Assistant City Manager Claire Burroughes noted the city is planning the ethnic fair with the help of former committee chair Selmus Price.

“If anybody would like to come and volunteer,” Burroughes said, “they’re more than welcome.”

• A liquor license transfer was approved for the High Plains Bottle Shop in the Hilltop Shopping Center.

Owner Kyle Brewer said he has set up a package store separate from his S&S Supermarket, housed in a portion of the former building for Transformation Fitness. The liquor license was previously used at the Raintree Thriftway before the store closed almost a year ago.

Commissioner Gary Elliott asked about the shop’s distance from Highland Baptist Church — a waiver is required if a church or school is within 300 feet. Brewer said he planned to use a different building in the Hilltop Center, but it was 298 feet and the church said no to a waiver.

The transfer passed 7-1, with Elliott voting no.

“Highland Baptist didn’t want it, and I didn’t want it, so I voted no,” Elliott said.

• The commission approved a license transfer for K-Bob’s Steakhouse. The restaurant will remain at its Mabry Drive location, but the transfer was required because Sid Strebeck bought out the Tinsley Hospitality Group’s share of the restaurant.

The commission approved the transfer 8-0. Elliott said he had no issue with the transfer, since K-Bob’s was already in operation and there was no nearby church or school.

• The next commission meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. April 4 at the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.


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