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SECTION 2 Operations Decision Process This section of the Resource Guide provides a suggested operations decision process developed for use by transit agencies that are planning to commingle ADA and non-ADA paratransit riders using the same vehicles, although the decision process also can be used by agencies choosing to provide ADA and other paratransit services using separate vehicle fleets. This guidance is based on the background research conducted as part of this project, including a survey of 121 transit agencies of various sizes from across the country. The survey information was supplemented by site visits and telephone interviews with 18 transit agencies, along with additional research and the research team's own knowledge of the industry. As stated in Section 1, the research team recognizes that sometimes the decision to commin- gle paratransit riders is made based on the outcome of a formal planning process and other times the decision may be based on political decisions or other external influences with little formal planning input. Even if the decision already has been made, it is useful to review the steps out- lined in the planning decision process described in Section 1 to identify any areas that warrant further discussion prior to moving into the operations decision phase. In particular, it is useful to document in writing the stated purpose and goals for commingling riders. This exercise is very helpful if issues arise later because service has evolved or changed from its original design or implementation. It is also critical to identify any potential capacity and/or funding constraints that could affect sustainability of the program, particularly any potential negative impacts on the provision of required ADA paratransit service. The materials in this section are designed to stimulate a logical thought process to ensure that what has been planned--formally or informally--is put into operational practice to achieve the stated purpose and goals of the commingled services. This document is not intended to provide a step-by-step guide to operating paratransit services; there are many other resources that provide that type of information, some of which are documented in Appendix C. Additionally, there are numerous reports, trainings, workshops, and webinars that are offered through govern- ment and trade associations including the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), Easter Seals Project ACTION (ESPA), FTA, National Transit Institute (NTI), and the TCRP. A 43-page resource document--Innovative Practices in Paratransit Services--was published by ESPA in 2002 and may be useful as a supplement to this report (Multisystems 2002). The operations decision process presented in this section focuses on developing policies, procedures, practices, and performance monitoring strategies to ensure success. An overview of the operations decision process is shown in Figure 2-1. In the electronic version of this report (available online at www.trb.org by searching for "TCRP Report 143"), each major compo- nent of the operations decision process is color coded as follows: A. "Establish Passenger Eligibility Requirements" is shown in red. B. "Develop Operating and Cost Allocation Policies and Procedures" is shown in blue. 30
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Decision to MARKETING & implement OPERATING REPORTING commingled ADA EDUCATION & non-ADA POLICIES service Combined Separate program info program info Same policies Document operating for ADA and policies and non-ADA procedures Document reporting requirements Different policies for Develop information and marketing materials ADA and non-ADA Design monitoring and evaluation program Develop operating Assess changes Develop detailed Establish rider eligibility policies needed for reporting processes: technology No changes procedures - ADA paratransit rider needed Assess performance of ADA and non-ADA service eligibility - Non-ADA paratransit rider eligibility Develop cost-sharing policies Calculate fully Changes Meets ADA Meets other allocated cost/trip needed regulatory service performance criteria? criteria? Calculate marginal Develop billing cost/trip procedures for non- ADA programs Procure needed Calculate cost/trip for technology Adjust performance as commingled non-ADA needed service Negotiate agreements with non-ADA programs Continue to monitor ADA & PASSENGER COST Non-ADA service performance ELIGIBILITY ALLOCATION TECHNOLOGY MONITORING Figure 2-1. Operations decision flow chart.