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OCR for page 29
Performance Measures for Rural DRT 29 provides general public or specialized service, calculation of the measure on a sampled basis, for example, based on one week during the month or even on one sample day in the month is ade- quate (6). The sample day or sample week should be chosen randomly to avoid bias in the results. To calculate the measure, the following data elements are needed for the time period being addressed, a full month or a sampled day or week: the number of trips on-time (based on how- ever the rural system defines "on-time") and the total number of completed trips, plus no-shows (assuming those trips have arrived on-time!) as well as missed trips, should there be any. (A trip labeled as a no-show that in fact was a late trip where the rider did not travel should be classified as a missed trip, rather than a no-show.) Regarding the assessment of on-time performance in relation to no-shows, rural DRT systems should make efforts to ensure that no-shows are in fact "legitimate" no-shows--that is, the vehi- cle operators have arrived on-time for the scheduled pick-up even though the rider does not show. There are cases where a vehicle operator may claim that a rider was a no-show, but the operator was not at the rider's pick-up location when the claim is made. DRT systems might con- sider procedures to ensure that vehicle operators wait at scheduled pick-up locations for the pre- scribed waiting period, such as having operators contact dispatch at arrivals, and that dispatch try and contact riders when they do not appear for a trip to avoid no-show trips. If a DRT sys- tem has AVL technology, dispatch can check on a vehicle's location to verify an operator's where- abouts if there are questions related to no-shows. Performance Considerations DRT systems can look to a number of factors that can impact on-time performance, including Vehicle operator schedules that are not adequately prepared or that overbook trips so that vehicle operators cannot maintain the schedule; Incorrect information on schedules so that vehicle operators do not have the proper infor- mation for timely service (bad addresses, lack of details on just where to pick up the pas- senger such as a back door, a side street, etc.); Staffing issues such as no back-up operators (such back-up vehicle operators are often referred to as the "extra board"), inexperience, or an inadequate number of operators; Vehicle breakdowns or road calls resulting from vehicle design issues or maintenance prac- tices that do not keep vehicles in good working order; Limited dispatch practices to make real-time changes to tackle service problems and help vehicle operators who are running late; Passengers' habits (e.g., excessive dwell time because passengers are not ready to board upon vehicle arrival, use of wrong mobility aide, etc.). 4.2 Additional Performance Measures In addition to the six performance measures discussed in the preceding section, there are others that are used by DRT systems to monitor their service. Some of these can be thought of as interim measures in that they assess a specific aspect of DRT service that affects effi- ciency, effectiveness, or service quality. no-show/late cancellation rate = No-Show/Late Cancellation Rate (total no-shows + total late cancellations) Generally the no-show and late cancellation rate measures the percent of total number of scheduled trips scheduled trips that are not completed due to passenger no-shows and late cancellations. The Guidebook recommends that this be calculated as the sum

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30 Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance of passenger no-shows and late cancelled trips (with late cancellations defined differently by DRT systems) divided by the total number of scheduled trips. The denominator--number of sched- uled trips--is the total of the trips that are placed onto vehicle schedules for service, as defined in Chapter 3. It is noted that the no-show/late cancel rate can be considered an interim measure, monitored because of the important affect that no-shows and late cancellations have on productivity and operating costs. They are combined together for performance measurement purposes as they have a similar negative impact on DRT operations: for most DRT systems, they represent lost resources with adverse impacts on productivity. In an effort to minimize the negative impacts of no-shows and late cancellations, most DRT systems have adopted policies addressing no-shows and late cancellations. There is considerable variation among these policies, but broadly they all establish penalties for passengers who repeat- edly cancel their trips with little notice or fail to appear for their scheduled trips. Implementa- tion and enforcement of such policies can significantly reduce the occurrences of no-shows and late cancellations; this is discussed in detail in Chapter 7. Complaint Rate In addition to monitoring and responding to complaints, some DRT systems measure and report their rate of complaints by comparing the number of complaints received to service pro- vided, such as total service complaints per 1,000 passenger trips. The denominator may be total passenger trips completed or it may be total trips scheduled. Rather than pas- senger trips, some DRT systems compare complaints to revenue-hours of complaints per 1,000 passenger service provided. trips = (total valid complaints total The complaint rate can be monitored over time as an indicator of customer passenger trips) x 1,000 satisfaction. It is important that DRT systems maintain a consistently defined measure so that trends and comparisons from month-to-month or year-to- or year are meaningful over time. If the calculation method is modified, it should complaints per 1,000 revenue- be clearly noted on any trend line comparison to ensure proper assessment. hours = Some systems have established a standard related to complaints--for exam- (total valid complaints total ple, the DRT system should have no more than x complaints per 1,000 passenger revenue-hours) x 1,000 trips. Such a standard may be included in a contract document for a contracted DRT operator, with associated incentives and liquidated damages. Average Passenger Trip Length average passenger trip length = The size of the DRT system service area, distribution of riders' origins total passenger miles total and destinations, and degree of shared riding will affect the average pas- number of passenger trips senger trip length. This can be a useful measure for a DRT system to mon- itor as it has an important affect on system productivity, with longer trip lengths having a negative affect on productivity. The average trip length can be measured on a sampling basis over time, and any changes assessed to monitor the impact of trip length on service operations and especially on productivity. In particular, rural DRT systems that serve more than an insignificant number of longer dis- tance trips may want to routinely collect and report average trip length data to monitor trends over time and to compare any changes in related performance measures such as productivity. Additionally, if a rural system collects average trip length data by type of trip and by trip sponsor