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GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT

ADA PARTICIPATION GROUP FORUM
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

If you experience an issue with the ADA Paratransit service that requires investigation, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Service Department at (860) 724-5340 extension 9, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., email hartford.customerservice@firstgroup.com, or fax (860) 247-0031. 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 Attendees:  Deitra Davis, Dinah Davis, Linda Dagon, Genesis (Ms. Dagon’s daughter), Ellen Gregory, Shenique Hall, Gnique (Ms. Hall’s daughter), Gloria Hart, James Hulbert,  Beverly Jackson, Ken Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Peter Karanja, Kimberley Long-Hicks, Anita Perez, Bill Saloman, Michael Thibeault, Gladys Tucker, and Janet Wallans,

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Waleska DeLaCruz, Anand Gounder, Brian Helm, Miguel LeFebre, and James Rodriguez   

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

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

Operations:
January 2016 passenger trips were 38,025, no shows 1,537 (4%), and cancellations 9,466 (25%).

February 2016 passenger trips were 37,906, no shows 1,759 (5%), and cancellations 10,070 (27%).

Customer Service:
In January 2016, 153 comments were received from passengers and 75% were compliments, 11% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 6% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 0% invalid concerns, 2% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 0% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 3% courtesy, 2% no-show concerns and 1% other.

In February 2016, 184 comments were received from passengers; 67% were compliments, 11% driver, dispatch, reservationist and/or scheduling concerns, 2% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 16% invalid concerns, 0% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 2% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 1% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns and 0% other.

Staff Comments:
Mr. Gonzalez welcomed everyone and apologized for the telephone problems on Monday March 7, 2016.

Ms. Williams next presented the group with the following questions that were received by email from some passengers.

What happens when a passenger gets off of work at 3:00 p.m. and they are offered a 2:00 p.m. pickup time?

  • Mr. Burke informed the group that there is a one-hour before or after negotiating window and these concerns may be addressed to:

Johanna Duran, Call Center Mgr.  (860) 724-5340 x3107 or email Johanna.duran@firstgroup.com
Anand Grounder, Assist. General Mgr.  (860) 724-5340 x3017 or email Anand.Gounder@firstgroup.com
Andrew Burke, General Mgr.  (860) 724-4350 3102 or  Andrew.Burke@firstgroup.com

Why don’t drivers fasten the safety strap on the lift? Drivers are not using the blue straps on passenger’s mobility device correctly.  Drivers are not aware of what a seat belt cutter is used for, and some vehicles are not equipped with one. Why doesn’t staff respond to voice mail and email messages? Who is responsible for answering voice messages left on Info-Client and for problems with Info-Client?  

  • Mr. Burke advised the group that drivers should be using the safety strap on the lift at all times.  All blue mobility extension straps should be approved by Brian Helm.  Drivers are required to perform door-to-door service unless an exception is requested by the passenger.
  • A driver will assist a passenger door-to-door with their grocery cart and bags, three (3) is the limit and none are to be over twenty (20) pounds.
  • All drivers are made aware of the seat belt cutter during their training classes.
  • Customer Service is responsible for handling passenger concerns with Info-Client.

Is the driver’s personality considered when hired?  Why is the telephone wait time so long lately?  Messages are not being returned promptly.

  • Mr. Gonzalez informed the group that drivers are hired based on their qualifications and are trained to present themselves in a professional manner.
  • First Transit will look into why passengers are having telephone issues.

Participants’ Comments:
Comment: Bill Saloman
He does not receive same day calls.  He is picked up with another passenger and both are going to and from the same destination.
Response: Mr. Burke will review these issues. 

Comment: Kimberly Long-Hicks
If a passenger is considered an add-on, why would their time change? Why did the driver charge a fare to the ADA forum?

Response: Ms. DeLaCruz explained when drivers receive an add-on they should still be aware of the correct window time. Passengers are not expected to travel before their window time. Passengers are not required to pay a fare to the forum.

Comment: Shenique Hall
She has experienced drivers who are rude on occasion, and they have left her behind. She does not receive a Customer Service letter when she contacts them with a concern.
Response: Mr. Burke will investigate Ms. Hall’s concerns.

Comment: Janet Wallans
She does not have any issues with the drivers or dispatchers. She is not satisfied with the option of selecting nine (9) when holding on telephone number (860) 724-5340. Since this option was installed, she does not know her place in the queue.  Is it possible to change the robotic voice on the IVR system and provide the passenger with more meaningful information about their trip? 
Response: First Transit staff will review her concerns.

Comment: Dietra Davis
She would like to be provided with a subscription trip.
Response: First Transit will contact her about this matter.

Comment: Linda Dagon
She is not receiving door-to-door service.  She has experienced long telephone wait times.  
Response:      Mr. Burke emphasized all passengers should contact Customer Service immediately if they do not receive door-to-door service.  To reduce telephone wait times it is recommended that passengers call between 10:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Comment: Gloria Hart
               She enjoys the service.  However she feels that new drivers need additional training.   

Comment: Dinah Davis
               She enjoys the service and will inform the driver that it is not necessary to provide her    
                      with door-to-door.

The forum concluded at 6:00 p.m.
             
The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for Wednesday May 11, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. in the District’s Conference Room at Union Station, One Union Place, Hartford. 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 that 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.