The role of rural demand-responsive transit is changing, and with that change is coming an increasing need for technology. As long as rural transit was limited to a type of social service transportation for a specific set of clients who primarily traveled in groups to common meal sites, work centers for the disabled, or clinics in larger communities, a preset calendar augmented by notes on a yellow legal pad was sufficient to develop schedules. Any individual trips were arranged at least 24 to 48 hours ahead of time and were carefully scheduled the night before in half-hour or twenty-minute windows by a dispatcher who knew every lane in the service area. Since it took hours to build the schedule, any last-minute changes could wreak havoc with the plans and raise the stress level in the dispatch office. Nevertheless, given these parameters, a manual scheduling system worked for a small demand-responsive operation.
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