November 8, 2017 – East Hartford

Wednesday, November 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, 148 Roberts St, East Hartford, CT 06108.  If you are able, please file any and all complaints within 48 hours of the incident.

Rider and Community Attendees: Beverly Jackson, Mary Bora, Shari Daigle, Linda Ernst, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Peter Karanja, Kimberley Long-Hicks, Karen Nazgiewicz, Alicia Rostkowski, Teresa Rostkowski, Michael Saylor, and Robert Woodbury

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Waleska DeLaCruz, Angela Gilsson, Anand Gounder, Brian Helm, Nelson Torres, Karla Vera, and Rita Voskanova

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

The forum began at 11:00 a.m.

September 2017 passenger trips were 37,707, no shows 1,302 (3%), and cancellations 8,616 (23%).
October 2017 passengers trips were 40,363, no shows 1,837 (5%), and cancellations 7,890 (20%)

Customer Service:
In September 2017, 130 comments were received from passengers and 35% were compliments, 5% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 18% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 23% invalid concerns, 1% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 3% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 2% no-show concerns, 8% unknown, and 4% other.

In October 2017, 124 comments were received from passengers and 35% were compliments, 14% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 19% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 12% invalid concerns, 0% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 1% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 2% no show concerns, 15% unknown, and 2% other.

Staff Comments:
Ms. Williams thanked everyone for attending and provided the outline for the forum requesting that participants introduce themselves when they speak and keep comments to three (3) minutes. All current customer service concerns are being addressed and riders will receive a response to their concerns.

Mr. Burke informed everyone that a positive open door meeting with drivers, reservationists and dispatchers was held with First Transit and the District staff to discuss operational feedback. On Tuesday, October 17, 2017 the ADA program experienced a system crash with their scheduling software. This caused passengers to be late for their trips and some were missed. The staff is developing additional precautionary measures to improve system emergency procedures.

Participants’ Comments

Shari Daigle
No comment

Beverly Jackson
She thanked Ms. Gomez for a job well done when the system went down. She would like to see drivers wear a name tag.

Staff Response
Ms. DeLaCruz commented that drivers do have an identification cards with their name on it. Name tags are currently being reviewed.

Peter Karanja
Mr. Karanja thanked the staff for the service and he has no problems. He requested that the time for the forum remain in the evening.

Teresa and Alicia Rostkowski
Ms. Rostkowski has seen improvements with the ADA program. Her concern was when the system crashed there was no communication to the riders. Her daughter (Alicia) waited for over an hour to be picked up. She stated that the telephone system removes you from the sequential order when you are holding for a length of time. Her daughter’s subscription trips are working well. Alicia emphasized the importance of her being on time for work.

Peggy Johnson
Her issues are being addressed with staff outside of this meeting.

Michelle Johnson
She said drivers should learn how to read their manifest. Drivers are reading her name as “Michael” not “Michelle”.

Staff Response
Re-educating drivers about the importance of reading their manifests and MDTs will continue to be addressed at all safety meetings.

Michael Saylor
He would like to see more sensitivity within the dispatch department in how they speak to drivers and riders. He asked if it was acceptable to offer drivers a more efficient route to travel?  He also inquired on how to receive a subscription trip?

Staff Response
Mr. Burke explained subscription trips are for reoccurring trips. Presently the program is not scheduling any additional subscription trips because by federal standards subscriptions trips cannot absorb more than 50% of the available trips at a given time of day with capacity constraints taken into account. If a passenger believes that they are experiencing an inefficiency with a trip, they should contact Customer Service. As a reminder, all trip lengths are comparable to the amount of time an individual would spend using the fixed route public transit system (CTtransit) which includes time spent getting to a bus stop, waiting time, in-vehicle time, transfer times (if any), and time spent going to the final destination address.

Kimberly Long-Hicks
She does not feel her ADA trips are similar to CTtransit. On November 12, 2017, her ADA trip was too long, and she stated that there are still drivers who are not aware of what direction the bus should travel on Nelson Street.

Staff Response.
Customer service will review her November 12, 2017 trip, and drivers will be retrained on the Nelson Street drop off.

Karen Nazgiewicz
No issues

Linda Ernst
She is having difficulties with her pickups at the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester. She is satisfied that ADA is finding her residence without any difficulties.

Staff Response
Staff will remind drivers about the proper pickup and drop-off procedures at the Buckland Hills Mall.

Robert Woodbury
Mr. Woodbury feels there are flaws with the scheduling system and he shared his suggestions. He has issues with ADA going to the incorrect house.

Staff Response
Road supervisors will conduct a site visit to his residence to see what information can be added to the driver’s manifest to ensure proper pick up.

Mary Bora
No issues. She is pleased with the service.

The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for January 10, 2018, at One Union Place, Hartford, CT at 5:00 p.m.  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.

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