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Chattanooga Times Free Press
Two local businessmen hope to reinvent the shuttle service wheel by licensing Internet software programs to similar companies to better manage day-to-day operations.
September 30th, 2000
Shuttle Software Developed For Web
by Jamie Hancock
Jon Woodward of Express Shuttle and Alan Field, president of the SurfN Development, a Chattanooga-based software developer, recently partnered to create a high-quality software system delivered securely over the Internet.
"This process will give shuttle companies cutting-edge technology Without their having to go through the development process," said Jon Woodward, president of Express Shuttle at Eastgate Town Center. "The beauty of this program is that once it’s operating, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world."
Within six months, Mr. Woodward and Mr. Field hope their marketing efforts will pay off as they explain to various bus and shuttle companies how to use computer programs to better operate their transport services.
"I was not able to find anything on the market that was able to do what I wanted to do," Mr. Woodward said. "The old software system was slow and not as accurate. Now we’ve developed a product that can assist me while cutting our workload in half."
The new software manages the reservation process from start to finish. It enables staffers to fill shuttle vans to the right capacity without overbooking trips, make and record payments, maintain historical data on customers and provide reports on shuttle driver trips.
"I could go home and see what’s happening in real time," Mr. Woodward Said. "It’s very efficient and has reduced the number of errors in half."
For example, when a customer new contacts an Express Shuttle operator, the computer displays the latest booking information, including the last time a trip was scheduled by the caller.
"While on the phone, we can complete the entire transaction, including being able to provide the caller with a reservation confirmation number," he said. "Another difference is we can tell a customer the status of a trip at any time. We can also check to see whether someone else made a reservation for them."
Mr. Field refers to the technology as leading edge. "It’s similar to the fax machine," he said. "We want businesses to use these Internet tools to become competitive in this marketplace."
The software is operated on Unix, a system widely used by the military and in business.
Express Shuttle office manager Amy Creasman said that once she became familiar with the new system it made her job much easier.
"I really like the system a lot better than the old one," she said. "It’s taken an hour or more off my daily task. It has freed up more time for me to do other things."
Ms. Creasman said the new system is very user-friendly.
"For someone who’s never used the system before and they are undergoing training, they could learn the system with no problems," she said.
Express Shuttle operates a fleet of 12 vans and one 29-passenger bus. There are eight daily departures to the Atlanta airport and seven daily relates to the Nashville airport.
The company employs about 60 people.
SurfN Development, Chattanooga Software Developers
3821 Saint Elmo Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37409, 423-821-3463