March 8, 2017 – Hartford

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

If you experience an issue with the ADA Paratransit service that requires investigation, please do not hesitate to contact the Customer Service Department at (860) 724-5340 extension 9, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., email, or fax (860) 955-2915. You may also write to: Customer Service Department c/o First Transit, 249 Wawarme Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114.  If you are able, please file any and all complaints within 48 hours of the incident.

Rider and Community Attendees: Beth Bosco, Carolyn Brooks, Linda Ernst, Pam Garde, Ellen Gregory, Beverly Jackson, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Barbara Morgan, Karen Nazgiewicz, Tina Rafala, Danielle Spruill, Esther Spruill, Gladys Tucker, and Janet Wallans

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Margaret Gomez, and Anand Gounder

Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) Attendees: DJ Gonzalez, Margaret Pieniazek and
Pat Williams

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

January 2017 passenger trips were 37,759, no shows 1,609(4%), and cancellations 10,774(29%).
February 2017 passenger trips were 34,371, no shows 1,483(4%), and cancellations 9,894(29%).

Customer Service:
In January 2017, 178 comments were received from passengers and 41% were compliments, 17% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 8% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 19% invalid concerns, 1% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 2% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 0% no-show concerns, 12% unknown, and 0% other.

In February 2017, 182 comments were received from passengers and 46% were compliments, 12% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 13% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 19% invalid concerns, 1% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 1% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns, 7% unknown, and 0% other.


Staff Comments:

Pat Williams, Director of Paratransit Services, reminded the participants to keep their questions and/or concerns to five (5) minutes.  She also reiterated the procedure for speaking.

Andy Burke, First Transit (FT) General Manager, provided information regarding the Info-Client program. FT is looking for volunteers to test this program. To become enrolled, contact the Customer Service Department. Passengers enrolled in Info-Client are able to view their trip information through devices that are connected to the internet. Passenger Pam Garde asked if Info-Client is compatible with JAWS (Jobs Access with Speech) software. Mr. Burke could not confirm and will get back to Ms. Garde.

Mr. Burke confirmed common location pickup locations. The Manchester Community College (MCC) pickup and drop-off location is at the Great Path Academy (GPA). FT will send out a Road Supervisor to reinvestigate and possible reconsider an additional pickup point at MCC after there was group discussion of the possibility of other safe pickup locations. Mr. Burke confirmed the safety pickup and drop-off locations at Buckland, WestFarms and Westfield Meriden Mall as follows:

    • Buckland two locations are 1) Food court located upstairs and 2) Panera Bread located down stairs
    • WestFarms two locations are 1) Macy’s and 2) California Pizza Kitchen
    • Westfield Meriden 1) Ruby Tuesday’s

All operators, dispatchers and reservationists are aware of the above safe pickup and drop-off sites. If riders are experiencing problems, they should immediately contact Customer Service Department. DJ Gonzalez provided the group with an overview of the vehicle replacement procurement.

Participants’ Comments

Beverly Jackson
Customer Service is investigating a concern from Ms. Jackson regarding her trip on Tuesday March 7, 2017.  The driver did not perform door-to-door service. In addition, the dispatcher’s attitude was not professional and communicated to her as if she was a child.

Staff Response
Ms. Gomez reported that Ms. Jackson’s concern is being investigated and a response will be provided to her with the findings. The recording between Ms. Jackson and the dispatcher will be reviewed.

Danielle Spruill
Ms. Spruill commented that the dispatchers should be provided with additional training. She praised dispatcher Todd for all that he does. She suggested that dispatchers should switch roles with the drivers.

Staff Response
Mr. Burke and Ms. Gomez reiterated the importance of providing concerns to Customer Service as soon as the events take place. As a reminder, telephone calls are recorded to provide additional assistance when investigating a rider’s compliant.

Tina Rafala
Ms. Rafala overheard a conversation between an operator who dropped her off at the forum on Wednesday, 3/8/2016 and a specific FT dispatcher.  She stated that the dispatcher was rude toward this driver. In addition, she stated that the time she spends on the vehicle is excessive. She understands the service is a shared ride, but wanted to know why on some occasions is she traveling in the opposite direction from where she lives.

Staff Response
Mr. Burke stated radio communications are recorded and this matter will be investigated. Mr. Gonzalez requested that management investigate all of Ms. Rafala trips over the last couple of months to see if they were inefficiently scheduled.  In addition, Margaret Pieniazek, the District’s ADA Paratransit Coordinator, noted that FT and the District will be meeting with the scheduling software team (Trapeze) to review the scheduling system.

Carolyn Brooks
Ms. Brooks specifically spoke about a location in Glastonbury. The drivers continue to have a difficult time locating her at this destination.

Staff Response
Mr. Burke suggested that a land mark be provided so that the drivers will know where to pick her up. A Road Supervisor will investigate also and this information will be updated on Ms. Brooks’ file.

Peggy Johnson
Ms. Johnson shared a similar experience which happened to her and Michelle Johnson on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The return driver did not know the location of where to pick up them up.

Staff Response
Mr. Burke informed the group that on some occasions information may not transmit to a driver’s manifest or MDT properly and at that time be investigated. This is a problem that the scheduling software team (Trapeze) will be reviewing.

Michelle Johnson
Ms. Johnson noted that her town does not appear on the driver’s MDT. This has been a continuous problem.

Staff Response
Ms. Williams has reviewed this matter with Brian Helm (FT) and she was told that it was tested and the problem was fixed. She will review again with Mr. Helm.

Janet Wallans
Who is responsible for the IVR (Interactive Voice Recorder) information relayed to the riders? Why does IVR announce the trip ID number? Greater New Haven Transit District (GNHTD) has a more “human friendly” voice system.


Staff Response
Mr. Burke noted the trip ID is necessary in order to provide the correct travel information to the rider. The trip ID is the common identifying factor between the IVR and the scheduling software (Trapeze).  Mr. Gonzalez informed the group that GNHTD software system is suitable for their size agency, but not for a larger one like ours.

The forum concluded at 6:00 p.m.

The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. in the District’s Conference Room at Union Station, One Union Place, Hartford. Any changes of the time or location will be posted in advance. You may make a reservation for Paratransit service to and from the meeting by calling (860) 724-5340 and selecting option “1”.  The ADA bus fare will be waived for this meeting.  Please remember to give everyone a chance to participate; forum attendees need to keep initial questions and/or comments to five (5) minutes. Follow-up comments should also be kept to five (5) minutes. This information is available in accessible format upon request.

If information is needed in another language, contact 860-247-5329 x3011

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