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8 The most recent findings related to no-show/late cancel- Please identify what actions [the transit agency] plans to take lation policies were included in the final report for an ADA to further review its policy of suspending eligibility for 12 no- shows or late cancels in a year. paratransit review, which was issued in January 2005. Two of FTA's findings related to no-shows and late cancellations. This comment is slightly different from the other reviews One finding stated that: in that it points out FTA's position that being lenient in enforcing the suspension policy does not make the policy [The transit agency's] policy of considering only three no-shows in a 90-day period to be excessive and an abuse of the service reasonable. may unreasonably limit service to ADA eligible customers and does not appear to be consistent with the intent of the regula- tions. Appendix D of 49 CFR Part 37 indicates that suspensions OTHER RESOURCES of eligibility for no-shows are intended to prevent a `pattern or practice of "no-shows".'... `A pattern or practice involves inten- In addition to the regulatory review, a literature and tional, repeated or regular actions, not isolated, accidental, or singular incidents.' Given that a rider who forgets that he or she resource review was conducted as part of this synthesis has booked a trip could be assessed two no-shows for a single study including a targeted search of FTA, APTA, Commu- round-trip, three no-shows could be exceeded by forgetting to nity Transportation Association of America, and Trans- cancel only two round-trips. For a rider who travels regularly portation Research Information Service websites. (say, 10 one-way trips a week), three missed trips in a 90-day period would be only two percent of the total trips made by that person. Missing only two out of every 100 trips scheduled does There were few references specifically focusing on not seem to be a reasonable standard for defining a `pattern or no-shows and late cancellations. Typically, the documenta- practice' or abuse of the service (FTA January 2005). tion was found in discussions related to the 14-day advance reservation requirement originally included in the ADA reg- In the January 2005, letter transmitting the final report, ulations. As originally written, the ADA regulations required FTA further clarifies its position with respect to assessing that reservations be accepted up to 14 days in advance [49 no-shows: CFR 37.121(b)(4)]. That requirement was dropped on May 21, 1996, allowing transit agencies--with public input--to While FTA understands that passenger no-shows impose a cost change their advance reservation procedures. It was felt that on service, [the transit agency's] current policy appears unduly severe for frequent riders. One way of addressing frequent rid- by allowing customers to book 2 weeks in advance, they ers in [the] policy is to consider trip frequency as part of the pol- would either generate additional calls to cancel or reschedule icy. And while a rider may appeal a service suspension and tran- a trip during that period or result in additional no-shows or sit agency staff may be cautious in applying the policy, this does same-day cancellations, because customers forgot they had not make the policy reasonable. booked a trip or plans changed at the last minute. The dis- Please identify what actions [the transit agency] plans to take cussion included in the Federal Register stated that to further review its policy of suspending service for three no- shows in a 90-day period. The most common complaint about advance reservations was that they caused an unmanageable number of cancellations and Another finding from the same final report relating to sus- no-shows. Twenty-one commenters suggested penalties for rid- pensions stated that ers who failed to show up for scheduled rides. Twelve other commenters suggested that this problem could be solved by requiring confirmation. Among these twelve comments were [The transit agency's] policy regarding suspensions does not three different suggestions for when the confirmation should be appear to be a `reasonable sanction' for abuses of the service. made; there was also disagreement over whether the rider or the DOT ADA regulations allow service to be suspended for a pat- transit provider should be responsible for making the confirma- tern or practice of no-shows for a `reasonable period of time.' The tion call (Federal Register 1996). current [transit agency] policy could result in a suspension of eli- gibility for one year, a revocation of eligibility, and a requirement to reapply for eligibility for a rider who no-shows or late cancels Finally, the literature review identified a 1993 publication, 12 times over a one-year period (FTA January 2005). the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit Eligibility Manual Final Report. The document, prepared for In this same letter, transmitting the final report to the tran- FTA, specifically addressed the issue of no-show and late sit agency, FTA further clarifies its position with respect to cancellation policies. The report reiterated the requirements the transit agency's policy for suspending service: of 49 CFR 37.125(h), described in the previous section, and pointed out that For a rider who takes 10 one-way trips per week, 12 no-shows or late cancels over a one-year period would represent a no- It is important to note that `no-shows' are different than cancel- show/late cancel rate of less than three percent. The potential lations and that the regulations do not specify that service can be suspension of one year seems unduly severe for such a rider. As suspended for a pattern or practice of cancellations. A major suggested in Finding A.9, one way of addressing frequent riders cause of cancellations is the advance notice required for use of in [the transit agency's] policy is to consider trip frequency as paratransit services--a policy that does not exist for fixed-route part of the policy. The fact that [the transit agency] has been service. Sanctions cannot be imposed on individuals whose lenient in enforcing this policy is not `evidence of the value and schedules change frequently and who are therefore required to effectiveness of the new policy' and does not make the policy change or cancel their scheduled paratransit trips (EG&G Dyna- reasonable. trend 1993).