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105 vided ADA paratransit service. Because of complaints about Washington, the cost per passenger is reportedly the lowest the quality of the service, Link put the paratransit contract ($26.35). The average staff tenure is 13 years, and the respon- out for bid. Two contractors were interested, but reportedly dent reports high job satisfaction. Paratransit service produc- were unable to compete for the contract because they could tivity is between 3.2 and 3.4 passengers per hour, despite a not secure appropriately-zoned land for an operations base and large service area of 3,500 square miles; the respondent related, did not want to use a Link facility. After the lack of response "the stable work force means that operators don't get lost." from potential contractors, Link staff members approached The system reports an on-time performance of 94% and no the organization's board and recommended paratransit ser- more than one paratransit complaint per month in the past vice be brought in-house, although without wage parity. Sev- year. Absenteeism remains very low, with only 200 missed eral board members, however, argued for wage parity for the days for 80 operators last year. Among the roughly 300 daily benefit of the operators. When paratransit was brought in- trips, runs are rarely dropped because of a broad extraboard. house, roughly three-quarters of the senior services non-profit's In evaluating whether to contract paratransit service out again, staff joined, all of whom were operators rather than managers. Link has determined that the in-house efficiency is so high that In advance of taking over paratransit service in January 1996, it eliminates the cost of recruiting and training and generates Link purchased new software, radio systems, and vehicles. a relatively low cost per passenger. Finally, the Link respon- Matching state funds from a now-repealed tax supported this dent reports that 25 percent of its paratransit passengers have transition. moved to fixed route in the past 7 years. In large part, this is Link management decided to train paratransit operators due to marketing and the fact that riders know fixed-route using the fixed-route training program in order to instill a operators from their experience on paratransit, where they "guest service" (Disney model) attitude toward riders. Fol- learn to attend to riders' unique needs. lowing the decision for wage parity and a shared training pro- gram, management then opted to integrate the workforce. As Integration of an Alternative to Paratransit: the respondent noted, "Once they'd trained them and paid The City of Annapolis Department of them equally, they said, why not intermix the two workforces? Transportation (Annapolis Transit), It wasn't a conscious decision, but done in order to get the cul- Annapolis, MD ture they wanted." Today Link has 60 full-time and roughly 20 part-time operators. Operators bid for runs based on sen- Annapolis Transit provides a route deviation service, iority; some of these runs are mixed, but the majority is either known as the Brown Route. People with disabilities and older fixed route or paratransit. Link reports operators tend to select adults pay $0.50 (half the fixed-route fare) if they catch the runs based more on hours and days than whether the run is Brown Route at a bus stop, and $2 if they wish to travel on a paratransit or fixed route. demand-response curbside basis. Most people who are able The Link respondent noted the decision to integrate the choose the bus stop for financial and spontaneity reasons. workforces and institute wage parity presented some chal- Wage parity and workforce integration were both instituted lenges. Today, there is some frustration with changing work 18 years ago when the City brought in-house the program that assignments and split shifts, as well as some lasting resent- had been operated by the Office on Aging. With three vehicles ment for the loss of seniority by operators who joined from in the fleet, the Office's program employed three operators the non-profit, because this affected their schedules. In addi- and a supervisor. With the change, the Office on Aging employ- tion, when Link opted to institute wage parity while bringing ees all came to work for the City's Transportation Depart- paratransit in-house, the system saw a large jump in hourly ment. Previously, the operators had been paid for the time operating expenses. In 1995, the maximum wages of fixed- that they were not driving (e.g., while waiting for riders who route operators was $12.95/hour, while it was $5.50/hour for were attending programs). At the time of the change, opera- paratransit operators. The current maximum wage is $20/hour, tors' wages were increased, as were their work demands, since and Link reports the total cost per revenue hour is $78.77, up they were put in operation throughout the day and service from $45 per hour in 1995. There was an initial cost increase hours were extended from 6 pm to 8 pm daily. of between 30 and 40 percent per hour when paratransit was Initially, the shift was opposed by the head of the Office on brought in-house. Aging, but the Mayor was a driving force. He was concerned Over time, however, Link reports that benefits have out- about the unproductive use of resources. Within one year weighed the costs. With higher wages, turnover rates among after the Office on Aging program was brought under the aus- paratransit operators dropped early on after the change. The pices of Annapolis Transit, ridership increased from 16,000 long-term advantages--the workforce's efficiency, stability, to 26,000. Ridership continued to expand to the current level and longevity--are reflected in the system's performance sta- of over 200,000 annual trips. Such an increase was the result tistics. Despite a cost per hour that is high for the State of of two factors. First was the increase in service span despite