Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 10
10 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY OF TRANSIT AGENCIES A primary focus of this synthesis project is to identify current vide ADA paratransit and other paratransit services using no-show and late cancellation policies and practices used by different vehicles (see Figure 1). transit agencies in the provision of ADA complementary paratransit service. As part of this report, a survey was con- Systems also were asked to describe the level of driver ducted with U.S. transit agency ADA coordinators and assistance provided: curb-to-curb, door-to-door, or door- managers to identify current policies and practices. The infor- through-door. Respondents could check more than one mation gathered through the survey also helped to identify answer. More than half of the 120 respondents who answered innovative policies and practices for monitoring and manag- the question 75 (62.5%) indicated that service is provided ing no-shows and late cancellations. curb-to-curb, 61 (50.8%) that service is provided door-to- door, and 8 each (6.7%) that service was provided door- A copy of the survey is included in Appendix A. The through-door or in some "other" way (see Figure 2). Most of results for all survey questions are described in this chapter. the "other" responses indicated that service is provided door- It should be noted that the numbering of questions varies to-door on request or on a "common sense" basis. between the on-line and paper versions of the survey; how- ever, the questions and their order are the same. Survey respondents were asked to identify which entity-- transit agency, broker, or contract operator--performs par- In addition to the survey, respondents were asked to sub- ticular functions related to ADA paratransit operations mit copies of their no-show/late cancellation policies for including (1) initial trip reservations/advance cancella- review as part of this synthesis project. A total of 63 policies tions/changes, (2) same-day cancellations, (3) "where's my were received. A summary of innovative ideas gleaned from ride?" calls, (4) "will calls" or "call when ready" calls, (5) the policies is provided in chapter four. scheduling, (6) dispatching, (7) vehicle operation, and (8) customer comments and complaints. Multiple answers were permitted. The results are summarized in Figure 3. With the exception of vehicle operations, the table shows that most CHARACTERISTICS OF SURVEY RESPONDENTS functions are conducted by transit agency staff, ranging from 54% (dispatching) to 92% (customer comments and com- In all, 134 completed surveys were returned, for a response plaints). In the case of vehicle operations, 62% of the respon- rate of 47.3%. Surveys were returned from transit agencies dents use contract operators and 53% of transit agencies in 36 states and the District of Columbia (see Appendix B). operate ADA paratransit vehicles. Very few of the systems They represent a cross section of small, medium, and large surveyed indicated that they use brokers (ranging from 5% to transit agencies, ranging from 46 to 2.5 million one-way 8%, depending on the function). ADA paratransit trips annually, and averaging 304,150 trips per year. The average passenger no-show rate reported by those agencies was 2.9% (that rate also includes what some OVERVIEW OF SURVEY RESULTS systems term "late cancellations"). The discussion of survey results is divided into five topical To better understand how transit agencies operate their areas: (1) operating policies and practices, (2) definitions ADA paratransit systems, the survey asked the respondents used to describe no-shows and cancellations, (3) no-show to identify whether they provide ADA paratransit only, a and late cancellation policies, (4) personnel practices related combination of ADA paratransit and other paratransit ser- to no-shows and late cancellations, and (5) no-show and late vices using the same vehicles for both, or a combination of cancellation outcomes. ADA paratransit and other paratransit services using differ- ent vehicles for each. Of the 132 agencies responding to this Operating Policies and Practices question, 64 (48.5%) reported that they provide both ADA paratransit and other paratransit services using the same A number of questions were asked dealing with the design vehicles, 52 (39.4%) indicated that they provide ADA para- of the ADA paratransit system and how daily operations transit service only, and 16 (12.1%) indicated that they pro- are handled. These design characteristics included (1)
OCR for page 11
FIGURE 1 Paratransit services provided. FIGURE 2 ADA paratransit level of driver assistance. FIGURE 3 Functional responsibilities.
OCR for page 12
12 making trip requests and scheduling trips and (2) using days in advance, 32 (24.6%) accept reservations up to 7 days technology to monitor and manage no-shows and late in advance, and 16 (12.3%) accept reservations more than 14 cancellations. days in advance (see Figure 4). When systems that provide ADA complementary paratransit service only are included, the results are similar. Making Trip Requests and Scheduling Trips Next, respondents were asked to indicate what the normal Respondents were asked to indicate the maximum number of cutoff time is to place a trip request (not including will calls days in advance that trip requests can be made. When or call when ready trips). Of the 131 systems that responded, adopted, the ADA regulations required transit agencies to 67 (51.1%) reported that the normal cutoff time is 5 p.m. the accept reservations at least 14 days and up to 1 day in day before a trip is requested, 17 (13.0%) accept reserva- advance of the trip. As noted in chapter two, that requirement tions the same day as the trip request, 12 (9.2%) accept trip was changed in 1996, allowing transit agencies--with pub- requests until 6 p.m. the day before, 8 (6.1%) accept trip lic input--to shorten the advance reservation time frame. Of requests until 4 p.m. the day before, and 27 (20.6%) reported the 130 responses, 56 (43.1%) accept reservations up to 14 other cutoff times (see Figure 5). FIGURE 4 Timing of trip requests. FIGURE 5 Normal cutoff time for placing a trip request.
OCR for page 13
13 When asked to describe their basic scheduling process, 84 Additionally, transit agencies were asked to describe the (63.6%) of the 132 transit agencies answering this question pick-up window they use when scheduling trips. The pick-up noted that they accept trip requests one or more days in window is the time before and after a trip is scheduled that a advance and scheduled while the customer is on the tele- passenger is expected to be ready to travel. Most systems use phone and 33 (25.0%) that they accept trip requests one or some type of pick-up window to give schedulers and drivers more days in advance and then trips are batch scheduled. One some flexibility in the actual pick-up time and still be con- transit agency (0.8%) accepts same-day trip requests and 14 sidered on time. By far the most prevalent answer was 15 min (10.6%) noted they had some "other" process for scheduling before to 15 min after the scheduled pick-up time. The most trips, typically some combination of the first two responses frequently cited pick-up windows are listed here: (see Figure 6). · 15/15 pick-up window, used by 38.6%. The survey next asked whether passengers were routinely · 10/10 pick-up window, used by 6.8%. called back to confirm their scheduled pick-up times. Of the · 0/30 pick-up window, used by 5.3%. 132 agencies that responded to this question, 114 (86.4%) · 20/20 pick-up window, used by 4.5%. answered "no" and 18 (13.6%) answered "yes" (see Figure 7). · 5/5 pick-up window, used by 3.0%. Of the 33 transit agencies that accept reservations and then · 0/20 pick-up window, used by 3.0%. batch schedule them later, only 7 (21.2%) reported that they routinely call customers back to confirm the pick-up time. In The survey also asked how long a driver is instructed to a follow-up question, several respondents stated that cus- wait for a passenger, assuming that the driver arrives during tomers are advised to call back the evening before or day of the designated pick-up window. The most common answer their trip to confirm their pick-up time. In several cases, was that drivers were to wait for 5 min, which was reported respondents mentioned that only customers whose trips have by 100 (75.8%) of the 132 transit agencies answering this to be shifted more than 10 min are called back to advise them question (see Figure 8). Other transit agencies reported wait of the change in their pick-up times; otherwise, the estimated times of 0 min, 2 (1.5%); 2 min, 3 (2.3%); 3 min, 9 (6.8%); pick-up times (or windows) are honored by schedulers. 4 min, 2 (1.5%); 10 min, 5 (3.8%); or "other," 11 (8.3%). Of FIGURE 6 Scheduling trip requests. FIGURE 7 Passenger call backs to confirm trips.
OCR for page 14
14 FIGURE 8 Driver wait times for passengers. the two systems that reported waiting zero minutes for a pas- paratransit stop signs. Slightly more than one-third, 48 senger, one defined the pick-up window as 5 min before to (36.4%), indicated that they do not have designated pick-up 10 min after the scheduled pick-up time; the other defined the locations (see Figure 9). pick-up window as 15 min before to 15 min after the sched- uled pick-up time. Using Technology Resources The survey also asked whether systems have designated pick-up locations at large facilities (e.g., main entrances at The survey included a section about what technology resources hospitals or particular store entrances at shopping malls). Of were used by the respondents. Figure 10 shows that most the 132 agencies that responded to this question, 58 (43.9%) respondents 99 [(79.2%) of the 125 respondents] reported have designated pick-up locations without paratransit stop using computerized scheduling and dispatching software. Of signs and 20 (15.2%) have designated pick-up locations with those, 77.7% indicated that their software included a no- FIGURE 9 Designated pick-up locations for paratransit.
OCR for page 15
15 FIGURE 10 Use of technology. show/late cancellation module and 68.9% indicated that they define the following terms: (1) no-show, (2) advance cancel- have used that module. Additionally, 36 (28.8%) have auto- lation, (3) cancellation, (4) late cancellation, (5) same-day matic vehicle location (AVL) and 34 (27.2%) have mobile cancellation, (6) excessive no-shows and cancellations, and data terminals (MDTs). (7) beyond the rider's control. In an open-ended question, respondents also were asked how they use technology to help reduce no-shows and late No-Show cancellations. Of the 83 respondents to this question (61.9% of 134), 34.9% indicated that technology aids in the docu- The survey asked respondents to describe how they define a mentation and monitoring of no-shows and late cancellations passenger no-show. Of the 127 responding to this question, and 18.0% that technology helps dispatchers rework sched- 72 (56.7%) defined a passenger no-show as "when a passen- ules in real time. AVL was credited by 9.6% of the respon- ger cannot be located at the specific pick-up location OR dents with helping dispatchers identify the actual locations of refuses a trip"; 38 (29.9%) defined a passenger no-show as vehicles to confirm the driver's location. That same percent- "when a passenger cannot be located at the specified pick-up age also credited technology with helping to create more pro- location" (see Figure 11). The difference between the two ductive schedules. Another 6.0% stated that technology definitions is whether customer contact was made (and the allowed them to offer same-day trips. One transit agency customer refused the trip). Operationally they may be the commented that "the software tracks the no shows, and with same, but a transit system may track these numbers sepa- enforcement of policy we have reduced no shows from 12% rately for documentation purposes. to approximately 2%." At the same time, according to 20.5% of the respondents, technology provides no benefit to han- Some other definitions of a no-show included trips that are dling no-shows and late cancellations. cancelled within 1 or 2 h of the scheduled pick-up time: other systems might call trips cancelled 1 to 2 h in advance a late Respondents were asked whether their software included cancellation (described later in this section). This terminol- a no-show/late cancellation module. Of the 103 respondents ogy becomes important in the discussion of no-show/late to this question, 77.7% indicated that their software does cancellation policies in chapter four. provide a module to monitor and manage no-shows and late cancellations. Respondents also were asked whether they used the module. Of the 90 responding to this question, Advance Cancellation 68.9% said they used the module. A more detailed discussion of the use of technology is included in chapter four. The survey requested that transit agencies indicate how they defined an advance cancellation. The most common answer Definitions Used to Describe No-Shows was "not applicable," which was selected by 40.9% of the 127 and Cancellations respondents answering this question. The most common defi- nition of an advance cancellation was "a trip that is canceled Every system has its own terminology to describe various more than 1 day before a scheduled trip," with 21.3% of the circumstances. What is important is to understand how a responding transit agencies selecting that answer. The second given system uses particular terms. To better understand how most common definition was "a trip that is canceled more than passenger no-shows and cancellations are defined and han- 2 hours before a scheduled trip," with 11.8% selecting that dled by transit agencies, the survey asked respondents to answer, followed by "a trip that is canceled more than 1 hour
OCR for page 16
16 FIGURE 11 Definitions of a passenger no-show. before a scheduled trip," with 8.7%. A few respondents defined Late Cancellation an advance cancellation as occurring 30 min, 90 min, or 3 h before the scheduled trip. Again, the definition of late cancel- The survey asked transit agencies to indicate how they define lation that a system uses will be important to the discussion of a "late cancellation." The responses varied considerably. no-show/late cancellation policies in chapter four. The most common definition of a late cancellation was "a trip that is canceled less than 1 hour before a scheduled trip" (cited by 24.4% of the 127 respondents), followed by "a trip that is Cancellation canceled less than 2 hours before a scheduled trip (cited by 21.3%); 17.3% offered "other" definitions. Of the 22 "other" In contrast to the definition of advance cancellations, "cancel- definitions, 9 were variations of previous day cancellation (e.g., lations" were cited as "not applicable" by only 17.5% of the "a trip that is canceled after 5 p.m. the day before the trip" or "a respondents. Of the 126 responses received, 27.0% defined a trip that is canceled after 5:00 p.m. the day before the scheduled cancellation as "a trip that is canceled at least 1 hour before a trip and up to 2 hours before the pick up time"). Eight percent scheduled trip," 19.0% defined a cancellation as "a trip that is did not use the term "late cancellation" at all. canceled at least 2 h before a scheduled trip," and 7.1% defined a cancellation as "a trip that is canceled at least 1 day before a scheduled trip." Those that checked "other" tended to elaborate Excessive No-Shows and Late Cancellations on the definitions provided in the survey and were more specific about what exactly constitutes a cancellation (e.g., a cancella- In open-ended questions, respondents were asked to define tion that occurs before 4:30 p.m. the day before or a cancella- what they consider to be "excessive no-shows" and "exces- tion received before a trip has been dispatched, and so on). sive late cancellations." For the definitions, respondents were prompted to indicate the number or percentage of occur- rences of no-shows or late cancellations during a specified Same-Day Cancellation period of time. Table 1 summarizes the usable responses from these two questions. The first column shows the num- Almost one-half of the 127 respondents who answered this ber of occurrences, the second column indicates how many question (46.9%) indicated that the term "same-day cancella- respondents gave that number of occurrences for their no- tion" was not applicable to their systems. With respect to the show definition, and the third column indicates how many definition, 15.7% described "same-day cancellations" as "a respondents gave that number of occurrences for their late trip that is canceled less than 2 hours before a scheduled trip." cancellation definition. Because these were open-ended ques- Almost the same percentage (15.0%) described that period as tions (Questions 35 and 40), more than half of the respon- 1 h before a scheduled trip, with another 13.3% defining dents did not provide sufficient detail in their responses to same-day cancellations another way. Some of the variations complete the table or else they skipped the questions. A total in the definition included "after 10 p.m. [the] day before and of 64 respondents (47.8%) provided definitions of excessive more than 4 hours before scheduled ride," "any cancellation no-shows and 47 respondents (35.1%) provided definitions received after the first bus pulls out from the garage the DAY of excessive late cancellations. These are the definitions that the trip is scheduled to be taken," or "a trip that is cancelled would typically trigger no-show or late cancellation penal- prior to [a] vehicle heading to pick up client." ties. The most frequent response for both definitions was
OCR for page 17
17 TABLE 1 [The transit agency] defines a Late Cancellation as canceling a DEFINITION OF EXCESSIVE NO-SHOWS AND LATE trip within 30 minutes of its arrival time. Late cancels are con- CANCELLATIONS sidered as no-shows. [The transit agency] defines Same Day Cancellations as trips canceled on the same day of the trip Excessive No-Shows Excessive Late Cancels greater than 30 minutes before the trips arrival time. Excessive Occurrences Number (n = 64) Number (n = 47) is defined as: Twenty (20%) percent or more reservations a month with at least five (5) same-day cancellations in the month. 2 in 7 days 1 1 For example, rider (A) canceled (same-day) 5 out of 20 trips in 3 in 14 days -- 1 November. Rider (A) would have canceled 25% of their trips 2 in 30 days 3 2 and had at least 5 same-day cancellations. Rider (A) would be 3 in 30 daysa 28 8 considered excessive. While rider (B) canceled (same-day) 4 out 4 in 30 days 5 5 of 10 trips in November. Rider (B) same-day canceled 40% 6 in 30 daysb 4 6 (greater than 20%) but only canceled 4 (less than 5) trips. Rider 8 in 30 days -- 1 (B) would not be considered excessive. 9 in 30 daysc -- 1 3 in 60 days 2 2 4 in 60 days -- 1 Several agencies described using point-based systems, 6 in 60 days 1 3 which assign different point values to late cancellations and 8 in 60 days 1 -- no-shows used to assess suspensions. For example, 18 points 2 in 90 days 1 -- in a 30-day period equals a 15-day suspension, 36 points in 3 in 90 days 6 5 a 60-day period equals a 30-day suspension, 54 points in a 4 in 90 days 1 -- 5 in 90 days 1 -- 120-day period equals a 90-day suspension, and 90 points in 15 in 90 days -- 1 a 180-day period equals a 6-month suspension. 3 in 120 days 1 1 15 in 120 days -- 1 2 in 180 daysd 1 2 3 in 180 days 1 1 Beyond the Rider's Control 4 in 180 days 1 -- 5 in 180 days 1 -- Additionally, respondents were asked whether the no-show/late 6 in 180 days 2 1 7 in 180 days -- 1 cancellation policies included provisions for no-shows that 8 in 180 days 2 2 were "beyond the rider's control." Of the 123 responding to the 15 in 180 days 1 -- questions, 67 (54.5%) said "yes." Eighty-five (71.2%) went on 30 in 365 days -- 1 to identify circumstances that would be considered beyond the NOTES: Question 35: Describe how "excessive no-shows" are defined (column 2). rider's control. Question 40: Describe how "excessive late cancels" are defined (column 3). aMost frequently cited definition for excessive no-shows and excessive late cancellations. bMost "lenient" excessive no-show definition. · 49%--situations such as a family emergency or sudden cMost "lenient" excessive late cancellation definition. dMost "strict" excessive no-show and late cancellation definitions. illness that would affect the customer's ability to travel and contact the transit agency to cancel a trip; · 38%--no-shows would be reviewed on a "case-by- case" or nonspecific basis; three occurrences in 30 days, cited by 28 respondents (44%) · 8%--transit system errors such as a late vehicle or as a definition of excessive no-shows, which was also cited incorrect information that was not the fault of the cus- by 8 respondents (17%) as a definition of excessive late tomer; and cancellations. · 6%--issues related to no-shows were addressed in the appeals process. The most "lenient" policy definition of excessive no- shows was six occurring in 30 days (cited by 4 respondents) As noted in chapter two of this synthesis report, a defini- and the most lenient policy reported for defining excessive late tion of beyond the rider's control is included in Appendix D cancels was 9 occurring in 30 days (cited by a single respon- of the U.S.DOT's ADA regulations and should be reflected dent). The strictest policies for defining both excessive no- in a transit agency's passenger no-show policies. shows and excessive late cancels was 2 occurring in 180 days, cited by 1 respondent (1.6%) for no-shows and 2 respondents A rider will not be considered a no-show if any of the following (4.3%) for late cancellations. occurs: A. The vehicle arrived at the pick-up location early or late and the passenger was not ready, had left to call, or made other Some respondents described definitions that did not fit read- arrangements. B. A sudden family emergency caused the person ily into the categories show in Table 1. For example, one sys- to change plans and did not allow time to notify the dispatcher of tem uses a percentage-based system in which an agency defines this change. C. The person had made a reasonable effort to notify Metro that service would not be needed but experienced an unrea- excessive late cancellations as late canceling of 25% of the sonable delay on the phones. D. A sudden turn for the worse for a scheduled trips in 30 days. Similarly, another system has a passenger with a variable condition caused them to miss a trip more elaborate percentage-based system, as described here: (Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 173, p. 45747).
OCR for page 18
18 No-Show and Late Cancellation Policies Transit agencies provided information about their suspen- sion policies in response to an open-ended question. As a Several questions were included in the survey to identify result, it was somewhat difficult to summarize the results. In potential issues that might conflict with the regulations or general, however, it was noted that suspensions usually recent regulatory guidance and interpretations provided by became longer as the number of no-show incidents increased. FTA. A summary of the survey results is provided in the fol- Of the 75 responses that indicated a suspension period for the lowing sections. first offense, 34 (45.3%) cited 30 days, 20 (26.7%) indicated a suspension period of 5 to 7 days, 18 (24.0%) a suspension period of 10 days to 2 weeks, and 3 (4.0%) other lengths of Written No-Show and Late Cancellation Policies time (3 weeks, 90 days, and 180 days). When asked whether transit agencies had written passenger Fines and other fees are assessed in a variety of ways, no-show/late cancellation policies, 115 of the 123 respon- sometimes for each trip, other times after one or more viola- dents (91.3%) said "yes." Of those, 111 (90.2%) reported tions occur. In some cases, the transit agency indicated that that their policies include suspensions for "excessive it charged the fare for each no-show, either beginning with no-shows," 25 (20.3%) reported that their policies include the first or third; others appeared to impose an amount that fines for excessive no-shows, and 9 (7.3%) did not impose may not be directly tied to the fare or cost of the trip. Some fines or suspensions for excessive no-shows (respondents examples of fines are listed here. could check more than one answer) (see Figure 12). In con- trast, only 68 (56.2%) said they include suspensions for · A passenger is assessed a $9.00 fee for each no-show. excessive late cancellations, 16 (13.2%) include fines for Three or more unpaid no-shows will result in a suspen- excessive late cancellations, and 49 (40.5%) do not impose sion from service until the outstanding balance is paid fines or suspensions for excessive late cancellations (see in full. Figure 13). · Full fare reimbursement for a no-show must be paid before service reinstatement. If a passenger pays the full In follow-up questions, the survey asked respondents to fare reimbursement, he or she can be reinstated the describe their suspension and/or fine procedures for no- same day. (Note: This is after a "courtesy" no-show is shows and late cancellations. given to the passenger.) FIGURE 12 No-show policy penalties. FIGURE 13 Late cancellation penalties.
OCR for page 19
19 · A $3.00 fee will apply to each no-show/late cancella- that they mail a postcard or letter after every no-show, and tion starting with the third one in the month. Suspension five use door hangers to notify passengers that they had been is considered after four or more in a month, or with a recorded as a no-show. One respondent noted that customers case-by-case review. are required to call to confirm trips after accruing several · Riders who accumulate five or more no-shows within no-shows within a short period of time. the calendar year will be suspended from using the [ser- vice] until they pay the full cost of each no-show over four. In this instance, full cost of a one-way trip is the Passenger Incentives actual billing rate: as of January 1, 2004, the cost was $10.51 per trip. Once payment is made, service will be Agencies were asked to identify any incentive programs they resumed. Each additional no-show will suspend service had initiated that reward passengers who do not incur again until full payment is made for that no-show. no-shows or late cancellations. Only five respondents Suspension of service will last until payment has been reported that they provide incentives for passengers who do received. not incur no-show or late cancellation sanctions. The incen- tive programs include either forgiving past points assessed One agency did describe an elaborate system for assess- for late cancellations or no-shows or earning free ride ing fines and no-shows based on trip-making frequency: coupons for not being assessed any penalties. Fines: $5 per no-show, although payment is not currently enforced. Suspensions: 114 trips per month--a maximum of Policy Development 2 no-shows per month, 1539 trips per month--a maximum of 4 no-shows per month, 4059 trips per month--a maximum of Respondents were asked to review which activities were 6 no-shows per month, 6079 trips per month--a maximum of undertaken during development of their no-show and late 8 no-shows per month, 8099 trips per month--a maximum of 10 no-shows per month, 100 or more trips per month--a max- cancellation policies. ADA regulations require that the imum of 12 no-shows per month. 1st violation--letter of warn- development of no-show policies include public input. Of the ing, 2nd violation--1-day suspension, 3rd violation--3-day 121 transit agencies responding to the survey, 84 (69.4%) suspension, 4th violation--7-day suspension of service, 5th indicated that their policies were developed with input from violation--30-day suspension of service. Violation history covers a 6 month floating window. their passenger advisory committees, 55 (45.5%) that their policies were developed internally with input from staff, and It should be noted that the imposition of fines or other 31 (25.6%) that their policies were developed with public financial sanctions are not specifically addressed in the ADA input from other meetings (see Figure 14). Respondents regulations or in FTA compliance reviews or letters of find- could select more than one response. ings to date. A cross-check was done to determine whether those who had checked "the policy was developed internally by staff" Appeals Process also used public input in formulating the policy. Of the 55 who responded, 56.4% also used their advisory committee An open-ended question asked the survey respondents to for input, 29.1% used other meetings to gather public input, describe their appeals process. A total of 112 agencies and 16.4% used "other" input. "Other" input included hiring responded to the question. Of those, 53.6% described a for- a consultant, checking with peer transit agencies, and solic- mal appeals process mirroring the one described in the ADA iting formal approval at their board of directors' meetings. regulations and 36.6% described a more informal appeals More detailed examples of public input processes are process primarily based within the transit agency without a described in chapter four. formal hearing. Policy Implementation Advance Notification Respondents were also asked how information about no-show Respondents were asked whether their policies included and late cancellation policies is provided. Respondents could advance notifications or warnings before suspensions or fines check as many answers as were applicable. Of the 124 agen- were assessed (as required by U.S.DOT regulations). Of the cies responding to this question, 99 (79.8%) indicated that the 122 respondents, 88.3% said "yes." When asked to describe policy is described in rider brochures, 50 (40.3%) that the pol- the procedures, approximately half reported that they send icy is described in the eligibility determination materials, written notification in advance of a suspension or fine. 39 (31.5%) that the policy is described on the transit system's Approximately one-third of the respondents indicated that Internet website, and 35 (28.2%) that the policy is described they have a progressive policy that generally begins with a in newsletters and/or passenger bulletins. "Other" reported call or warning letter or postcard and then escalates until the methods of providing information varied from verbal discus- suspension or fine is levied. Eleven of the respondents stated sions with dispatchers and drivers to providing additional
OCR for page 20
20 FIGURE 14 Development of no-show/late cancellation policies. written information in the no-show/late cancel suspension tract operators are paid in the event of a passenger no-show letter process (see Figure 15). and it is not the fault of the carrier. Policy Enforcement Drivers Respondents were asked to indicate how much their no- An open-ended question asked respondents to describe show/late cancellation policies had been enforced during the what procedures are followed by drivers (also called oper- past year. Of the 125 responding, 56 (44.8%) reported that ators in some systems) in the event of an apparent passen- the policy had been actively enforced, 39 (31.2%) that it had ger no-show. Of the 124 respondents, 91.1% indicated that been enforced to some degree, and 18 (14.4%) that it had not drivers are to contact dispatch, either for instructions or been enforced at all (see Figure 16). to confirm the passenger no-show, before they proceed. Of those, 15.3% instruct the driver to leave the vehicle to look for passengers. Five respondents also mentioned leav- Personnel Practices Related to No-Shows ing a door hanger or card to notify passengers that they and Late Cancellations had arrived for a pick-up. Six of the 74 systems that pro- vide only curb-to-curb service indicated that they would In this section, respondents were asked to describe the instruct drivers to leave the vehicle to attempt to locate a processes used by drivers, dispatchers, service monitors, passenger or leave a door hanger or card. and other personnel in the event of an apparent customer no-show, with most of the responses centering on drivers Most transit agencies indicated that drivers were instructed and dispatchers. Respondents also were asked whether con- to wait 5 min before contacting dispatch for assistance, FIGURE 15 Distribution of information about no-show/late cancellation policy.
OCR for page 21
21 FIGURE 16 Enforcement of no-show/late cancellation policy. although some drivers were instructed to call earlier. For monitoring reports tracking patterns and high rates of example, "driver initially honks horn, at 2 minutes knocks no-shows for individuals. Other duties included investigating on door, at 4 minutes radios dispatch." Another respondent a location that is causing no-shows, mailing postcards or let- provided a more detailed answer: "drivers must check that ters to customers advising them of the apparent no-show, or their time is correct, go to the passenger's door and knock, attempting to contact customers to verify their return trip for notify dispatch prior to leaving in case the client is on the that day. phone, and give their arrival/departure times [to dispatch]." Several others also mentioned using MDTs or mobile data computers (MDCs) to contact dispatch in the event of an Other Personnel apparent no-show, which would record the no-show and Twenty-three respondents answered this question. "Other" time of the event. One respondent explicitly mentioned list- personnel typically was interpreted to mean supervisors or ing landmarks as a tool in recording no-shows to be sure the no-show clerks. Most activities occurred after the no-show, driver was in the correct location. In contrast, 8.1% did not not during the event. Also, most of the activities (70.0%) explicitly cite contacting dispatch as a driver procedure. involve a supervisor monitoring no-show activities and issu- ing suspension notices as needed. The remaining activities related to supervisors or clerks contacting passengers to dis- Dispatchers cuss the no-show or sending a card. One respondent com- Of the 118 agencies that responded to this open-ended mented: "Transit supervisor will call passenger if `no-show' question, 53.4% indicated that they would attempt to con- is determined to be within the control of the passenger. tact the customer before instructing the driver to declare Supervisor will explain negative impact of `no-show' on the passenger a no-show and move on. Only 14.4% specif- total system and attempt to inform (passenger)." ically indicated that they would verify the time and/or location of the scheduled pick-up. Several said they would verify the driver's location using AVL. Another 37.3% Contract Operators stated that they would log the event and then instruct the Systems that use contract operators also were asked whether driver to proceed without attempting to contact the pas- contractors were reimbursed for passenger no-shows. Of the senger or taking other action. One respondent said it would 71 transit agencies answering this question, 63.4% reported cancel the return trip and three stated they would instruct that they do pay their contract operators for passenger the driver to leave a hang tag on the door alerting the pas- no-shows. Most--59.6%--pay for trips on a per hour basis senger that the driver had been there to pick them up and and 34.0% pay for trips on a per trip basis. Only 6.4% the passenger could not be found. One respondent stated: "Use phone numbers to try and track down (passenger). If reported paying on a per mile basis. not successful, if leaving home, passenger will be marked as no-show. If going home, ride moved to `will call' and Respondents also were asked whether the same or a dif- no-showed if no call by days end." ferent amount was paid for passenger no-shows that were not the fault of the contractor. Of the 59 respondents to this ques- tion, 71.2% indicated there was no difference in payment Service Monitors level, and 28.8% indicated that they paid contract operators less in the event of a passenger no-show. There were many Twenty respondents answered this question. Almost half 9 variations in how payments were made. For example, some (45.0%) of the service monitor personnel were involved in contract operators were paid a flat amount for passenger
OCR for page 22
22 no-shows, ranging from $1.00 to $12.00 per no-show; other change to a requested pick-up time resulting in an extended payments were based on the fare. pick-up window to accommodate the special request. If the passenger left during the extended pick-up window the customer would be considered a no-show. Similarly, No-Show and Late Cancellation Outcomes another system said it would declare a passenger no-show "if we contacted passenger, informed them we were late Recording Late Trips and No-Shows and they agreed to wait--then didn't." Most of these Respondents were asked whether a passenger would ever be answers appear to put the burden of the no-show on the considered a no-show if a driver arrived after the end of the individual rather than the transit agency that was late (or pick-up window and the passenger could not be located. early). More than half of 132 respondents (54.2%) answered "no." However, 45.8% answered "yes" or "sometimes." Respon- Handling Return Trips dents who answered "yes" or "sometimes" were asked to describe the circumstances under which a passenger If the passenger's first trip of the day is a no-show, respon- no-show would be declared when the driver arrived past the dents were asked to describe how they handle any subsequent pick-up window. Most of the responses were variations of trips booked for that day. Of the 128 responding to this ques- the explanation for what their no-show policies were within tion, 38 (29.7%) indicated that they would leave the remain- the stated pick-up window. However, several respondents ing trips on the schedule unless the customer called to can- indicated that riders were expected to wait an additional cel. Another 29 (22.7%) reported that the remaining trips amount of time past the pick-up window or they would be would be automatically canceled, 25 (19.5%) would make an considered a passenger no-show if the driver arrived late and attempt to contact the customer and if there is no contact the they were not there. For example, one respondent stated: trips are left on the schedule, and 22 (17.2%) stated that they "any time the bus arrives and the passenger is not there, they attempt to contact the passenger, and if contact is not made are marked a no-show." Another expressed a similar inter- the remaining trips will be canceled (see Figure 17). pretation: "When we are running outside the window we are calling the customer to communicate, they can cancel at that As described in chapter two, FTA has provided guidance time. If they are not on location they are marked as a on scheduling and dispatching procedures related to rider no-show." Others qualified the lateness within a 5- to no-shows. A letter of finding from February 2001, from FTA 10-min time frame. For example, one respondent answered to a consumer, related to a complaint that a return ride was that "if passenger did not call 10 minutes after 30-minute automatically canceled by the transit agency after the rider pick-up window to state that ride is no longer needed, the was recorded as a no-show on the "going" portion of the ride would be a No-Show." roundtrip, stated: "We find [the transit agency's] policy to cancel automatically a return trip if the rider was a `no-show' Another respondent clarified that a passenger no-show for the first half of the trip not acceptable." In a follow-up let- would be assessed if a rider had requested a same-day ter from April 2001, to the transit agency, the FTA stated: FIGURE 17 Handling of return trips when the initial trip is a no-show.