OTSF Executive Director and Fundraising

OTSF now has an Executive Director!  Our new director is Aaron Brethorst, who has been active for many years as a volunteer with OTSF and the OneBusAway project, including serving as the primary developer for the OneBusAway iPhone app.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director include recruiting and managing volunteers to work on project software, some software development work, working with current and prospective users of OneBusAway and other software, and fundraising.  This is currently a part-time position but may turn into a full-time one in the future. Our hope is that having a paid staff member will enable to the project will grow substantially, with transit additional agencies using our software.

To allow us to hire an executive director, we started putting out additional appeals for donations starting in October 2023, including a “donate” button directly the iPhone app. In the last quarter of 2023, we raised over $37,000. Many many thanks to our loyal riders!

Results from case studies of OneBusAway deployments

OTSF recently contracted with Garnet Consulting to produce a set of case studies of OneBusAway deployments, to freshen up our website, and to write a one-page flyer that can be distributed to prospective users and at conferences. The flyer is now linked from the OneBusAway website, as are capsule summaries of the case studies. We also have interview transcripts and other details from the case studies available as needed.

The interviews confirmed that our users appreciate that OneBusAway is an open-source platform and that their data belongs to them. One interviewee said “When I hear OBA I think open source.” Another said they picked OneBusAway because “We wanted control of our data. We wanted to be able to leverage whatever we did without running into ‘who owns it’. We’ve been able to do what we want.” Using OneBusAway allows agencies to make decisions centered around their specific needs, without focusing on vendor restrictions. Interviewees also voiced appreciation for OneBusAway’s commitment to accessibility. One interviewee described that OneBusAway has “always put accessible information front and center.” Another user reported that blind riders on their internal committee “recommend the app to people because it works for them.”

Another takeaway from the interviews was that some OneBusAway users initially had confusion about what options were available for setting up OneBusAway for their agencies. To begin addressing this, we’ve made some updates to our website to make it clearer how to get started with OBA. We’ve also added case studies and a list of OneBusAway deployments to the site so that visitors can see examples of how different agencies are using and benefitting from OneBusAway.

RFP – Public Relations Consultant

The Open Transit Software Foundation is requesting proposals for a public relations consultant to create materials to promote OneBusAway and OTSF! The initial proposal should be for a fixed-price contract for $5000; if the results are promising, follow-on contracts are definitely possible. Please see the RFP below for details.

Proposals are due December 12, 2021. Our hope is to have the consultant on board by the time of our annual meeting in January 2022.

Open Transit Software Foundation now a 501(c)(3)

Our application to the Internal Revenue Service to recognize the Open Transit Software Foundation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit has been approved! Contributions to OTSF are now tax-deductible; this will also help us in applying for various programs for nonprofit organizations. The OTSF website is set up as well.

Open Transit Software Foundation formed

We have now formed an official nonprofit organization, the Open Transit Software Foundation, as a home for the OneBusAway project! More details and an OTSF website will be coming soon. The organization’s name and charter are intentionally broader than just OneBusAway so that it can serve as a home for other open-source transit software systems as well.