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41 511. They said that they get "a question or two every few Rationale for participation. DTA identified the follow- weeks from someone who couldn't get what they wanted ing four motivations for participating in the statewide 511 from 511," but that the volume of calls is negligible. system: In the discussion of impacts in the transit agency interviews, each agency was asked whether they viewed 511 as an alter- "Simple to do, and it couldn't hurt." native to implementing their own IVR. The Island Explorer Wanted to be included in the multimodal, multi-agency experience is a clear case of where 511 was definitely seen as, 511 system. In other words, they wanted to keep a seat at the and functioned quite effectively as, an alternative to an IVR table. dedicated to Island Explorer. Of course, the Island Explorer is Wanted to be a good, supportive partner for the 511 spon- very different from most transit agencies and their IVR-related sor (Mn/DOT). needs were extremely narrow since they were really just look- Wanted to provide their customers with an alternative, ing for an automated platform for disseminating vehicle depar- easy-to-remember phone number. ture times by phone. DTA did not report that they considered any potential draw- Issues. Downeast Transportation identified no issues or backs with 511 participation. It seems that 511 participation concerns with their 511 participation. was a fairly simple and uncomplicated decision for them. They characterized 511 participation as being "an easy add on." Outlook. Overall, Downeast Transportation views their 511 experience positively and plans to continue indefinitely. Impacts. DTA reports that their participation in 511 has When asked to sum up their 511 thoughts and advice to other not impacted them significantly and answered in the negative transit agencies, they replied, "More information is good when asked specifically about each of the six impact-related information--there's no such thing as too much information. questions in the interview, covering topics ranging from costs 511 is a plus, it's just another way to let people know what we to call volume changes in their customer information center to do and what we offer." changes in technology or call center staffing. DTA indicated that they were provided one report from Mn/DOT showing 511 system statistics in 2005 but have not seen anything since. Duluth Transit Authority (Minnesota) DTA does not contribute financially to the 511 system. They indicated that the effort required on their part was to set The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) provides regular them up in the 511 system. This effort was quite minimal and route bus service and contracted paratransit services in the consisted of a couple of e-mails to Mn/DOT, who then did all cities of Duluth and Proctor, MN, and Superior, WI, an the work (e.g., setting up the call transfers). area that encompasses approximately 143 sq mi and a pop- ulation of 123,000. The DTA operates 41 buses during peak Issues. DTA cited no issues or concerns with their partic- hours on 27 routes. Paratransit service is provided using six ipation in 511. vehicles. (39) The statewide Minnesota 511 system is operated by the Outlook. Overall, DTA seems to have a positive, but only Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), and mild and general opinion regarding 511. When asked what it became operational in July 2002. The DTA can be accessed advice they would have for other transit agencies considering from the 511 main menu via the transit option and then by 511 participation, they responded, "In the way that it was selecting either "DTA regular route" or "DTA STRIDE" done here, why not? There's nothing to lose." They currently (paratransit) from among the four transit agency options have no changes planned regarding their participation in 511. under "Duluth." The DTA indicated that they have informa- tion on 511, such as hours of operation and customer service phone number. However, as of October 17, 2007, the only Charlotte Area Transit (North Carolina) option under either of DTA's listings is to be transferred out The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is managed by of 511 to DTA's Customer Service Department. Although it the Public Transit Department of the City of Charlotte. CATS appears that the 511 system is able to provide general infor- provides fixed route and demand response bus service and mation, this information is currently blank. Under both of vanpool services in Mecklenburg County, including the City of the two DTA menu options, the message is: "(blank) operates Charlotte and the six suburban towns surrounding Charlotte: a service. For hours, schedules and rates, I can transfer you to Davidson, Huntersville, and Cornelius to the north; and (blank)." DTA reports that they do not provide service dis- Matthews, Pineville, and Mint Hill to the south. CATS also ruption information via 511. provides service to the four cities and towns in surrounding