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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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 thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., email hartfordcustomerservice@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, Antonita Dunbar, Linda Ernst,  Ellen Gregory, Gloria Hart, Beverly Jackson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Angela Lewis, Kimberley Long-Hicks, Herbert Milner, Karen Nazgiewicz , Anita Perez, Michael Thibeault, and Gladys Tucker

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

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

Way To Go CT (Guest): Danielle Herbert

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

March 2016 passenger trips were 43,196, no shows 1,707 (4%), and cancellations (22%).

April 2016 passenger trips were 40,733, no shows 1,531 (4%), and cancellations 8,709 (21%).

Customer Service:
In March 2016, 138 comments were received from passengers and 49% were compliments, 15% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 7% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 20% invalid concerns, 1% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 0% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 4% courtesy, 0% no-show concerns and 4% other.

In April 2016, 193 comments were received from passengers; 51% were compliments, 14% driver, dispatch, reservationist and/or scheduling concerns, 9% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 20% 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, 1% courtesy, 2% no-show concerns and 1% other.

Staff Comments:
Ms. Williams reminded everyone that only those who signed up before the forum will be able to speak. She requested that due to the large group everyone should be cognizant of their time and speak for a maximum of five (5) minutes. All responses to questions will have to be tabled until the end of the meeting.

Danielle Herbert informed the group about Way To Go. This is a nonprofit agency which operates under the Connecticut Department of Transportation. They assist older adults and persons with a disability to find additional transportation.  For further information, go to www.waytogoct.org or contact Ms. Herbert at (860) 667-6207. Ms. Herbert will be happy to speak at your next transportation affair as well.

Valerie Ellis provided the group with information about Try Transit Week. This event will be hosted by the District on June 6th – 10th. Passengers will learn how to use public transportation by professional transportation representatives from various transportation agencies in Connecticut. For more information and to register for this event, please contact Ms. Mary Rosenbauer with the the Kennedy Center at (203) 365-8522 extension 322.   

Andy Burke shared with the passengers the below corrective measures which are being taken to improve the service:

  • What is ADA doing to reduce the long hold time when making a reservation? The passenger will be able to select an option to leave a message and receive a call back within the same business day. Presently, this is available; however, it is after the passenger has been hold for an extensive amount of time.
  • What is being done so that drivers will arrive at the correct entrance at a pickup or drop-off site? ADA will be looking at various locations which have multiply entrances (malls and schools) to ensure safe pickup and drop-offs can be performed at these sites. In addition, Road Supervisors will be taking pictures and educating drivers of these locations.
  • All drivers are expected to provide door-to-door service for all passengers and he appreciates it when passengers inform the Customer Service Department if this is not being done. ADA will continue to take the necessary corrective measures with drivers who do not adhere to this required door-to-door policy.
  • Due to the upgrade with the Info Client, passengers have been experiencing difficulties with this software. Mr. Burke extended his apologizes. This feature will be working at its full capacity by the end of this month.

Maintenance Manager Miguel LeFebre thanked the passengers for keeping him and his staff well informed with all vehicle maintenance problems.

Assistance Manager Anand Gounder thanked the passengers for their feedback and working with ADA to improve the service.

Participants’ Comments:
Comment: Ellen Gregory
Drivers are not providing door-to-door service. They do not speak English and feel intimidated so they will not go to the door. She witnessed this situation first hand.
Response: Mr. Burke asked that the next time she observes this taking place to immediately contact the Customer Service Department. He appreciates it when passengers do provide this information so that management can address it directly with the driver.

Comment: Gloria Hart
She was not aware she can be dropped off at a specific entrance when she is at a site that has multiple entrances. She also continues to have problems with drivers not providing her with door-to-door service.
Response: Mr. Burke clarified that if there is a designated pickup location which has already been established most likely that will not change, and if more entrances need to be added this will be reviewed with the safety team. He reiterated that the operation does address drivers who do not perform door-to-door service.

Comment: Kimberly Tindall
She praised the dispatchers and reservationists for doing a good job. She has concerns with one dispatcher, and feels he needs additional training. She has a problem with drivers not arriving at the correct entrance at 1265 Asylum Avenue when they are picking her up. She is experiencing the same problem at her home address and drivers are not coming to the correct entrance. She feels the Customer Service letters are one-sided and are not addressing her concerns.
Response: Mr. Burke noted that all passengers should report their concerns directly to Customer Service and an investigation will take place.  Mr. Burke will have Safety Manager, Brian Helm, contact her directly to discuss.

Comment: Herbert Milner
He brought up a concern with a driver which took place at the beginning of the month.
Response: First Transit will have Customer Service contact him directly regarding this matter.

Comment: Antonita Dunbar
She was thankful for the assistance that she received from First Transit reservationist Waleska and Assistant General Manager, Anand Gounder.  She asked for clarification on where she can be dropped off and picked up when she is at the mall.  She also spoke on behalf of passenger Jackie Rheaume, who has been experiencing drop off issues at her job site.
Response: Mr. Burke will review mall entrances with his staff. He will also have Mr. Helm contact Ms. Rheaume regarding her problem as well.

Comment: Deitra Davis
She had a concern on Saturday May 7th and left a message with the Customer Service Department but did not receive a response back.

Response: Mr. Burke will have the Customer Service Department contact her directly. Ms. Williams confirmed the Customer Service Department telephone number as (860) 724-5340 extension 9.

Comment: Dinah Davis
She asked why drivers don’t receive her compliments.
Response: Mr. Burke reassured her that all drivers are given their commendation letters.

Comment: Kimberly Long-Hicks
She commented about a pickup concern at her church. Her church street is one-way on Sundays; however, she claims that ADA vehicles are the exception and can enter on Sunday, but some drivers are not aware of this.
Response: First Transit will have Mr. Helm review this matter and respond back to her.

Comment: Anita Perez
No issues

Comment: Michael Thibeault
No issues

Comment: Linda Ernst
She wanted to know if drivers able to use the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes while driving on the highways. Where are the dispatchers located? How can she receive a subscription trip? How do the cameras in the vehicles operate?
Response: Mr. Burke confirmed drivers are able to use HOV lanes. Dispatchers are located in Hartford. At the present time, the service has reached their maximum with subscription trips and will not be accepting additional requests from passengers at this time. Cameras on the vehicles record abrupt stops or if the driver hits the record button.

Comment: Beverly Jackson
Her questions were previously submitted via email and a response was sent to her directly.

The forum concluded at 6:00 p.m.
The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for Wednesday July 13, 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.

This information is available in accessible format and in languages other than English upon request.