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Wednesday, July 13, 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 through 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: Carolyn Brooks,  Jeffrey Cole, Deitra Davis, Dinah Davis, Antonita Dunbar,  Ellen Gregory, Shenique Hall and her daughter, Beverly Jackson, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Peter Karanja, Kimberley Long-Hicks, Nyema Pinkney, Anita Perez, Bill Saloman, Michael Saylor, Michael Thibeault, Gladys Tucker, and Janet Wallans

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Johanna Duran, Margaret Gomez, and Rita Voskanova

Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) Attendees: Valerie Ellis, Miguel LeFebre, Pat Williams, and Vicki Shotland

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

May 2016 passenger trips were 41,800, no shows 1,614 (4%), and cancellations 9,076 (22%).

June 2016 passenger trips were 41,108, no shows 1,668 (4%), and cancellations 8,667 (21%).

Customer Service:
In May 2016, 239 comments were received from passengers and 47% were compliments, 10% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 12% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 21% invalid concerns, 4% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 1% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 4% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns and 0% other.

In June 2016, 174 comments were received from passengers; 40% were compliments, 9% driver, dispatch, reservationist and/or scheduling concerns, 16% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 30% invalid concerns, 0% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 3% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns and 1% other.

Staff Comments:
Pat Williams has requested that all participants please keep their comments to five (5) minutes.  She also noted that if anyone has ongoing construction at their residence they should inform the Customer Service Department.  Lastly she said that there may be an opportunity to hold the forum at a different venue in the future for at least one meeting, and passengers will definitely be notified in advance if this change occurs.

Andy Burke informed the group the operation is requesting all new drivers go through a 30/60/90 day evaluation period. This is a very critical time frame for drivers and it is important to provide them with the best possible training. Road supervisors and staff will be assisting drivers through this process in order for them to have an accurate understanding of how the service operates.

Participants’ Comments

Antonia Dunbar
There was a discrepancy with both of the Customer Service letters she received.  In addition, some of the reservationists should be retrained.

Mr. Burke responded that he will review the letters in question. First Transit acknowledged Ms. Dunbar’s statement in reference to retraining of the reservationists. 

Dinah Davis
No concerns

Deitra Davis
She continues to have problems when she schedules her transportation to her place of employment.

First Transit Customer Service Department will review Ms. Davis’s concerns directly with her.  In addition, her employment location will have to be updated properly in her files.

Peggy Johnson
Why doesn’t the driver’s MDT have their correct address? The instructions on her mother’s file states that she needs to use the lift.  However, drivers insist on making her use the stairs.  The ADA Paratransit should improve on transporting passengers to their medical appointments on time.

Mr. Burke will re-educate operators in reading their MDT’s thoroughly.  In addition, he will make sure the driver’s manifest and MDT instructions read the same.  ADA Paratransit staff is aware of the importance of passengers arriving to their doctor’s appointments on schedule. Furthermore, First Transit staff plans on enlightening some medical facilities about how ADA transportation operates.   

Beverly Jackson
Why can’t there be more than one pickup and drop-off at the Buckland Mall?  There is a restaurant that is not in the Mall but is in proximity to the Mall at which she would like to be dropped off. 

First Transit will review this location to make sure it is a safe drop-off and pickup area. Ms. Jackson did inform the group that ADA has provided transportation to this particular location in the past and there were no problems.

Carolyn Brooks
Her scheduled trips on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are not efficient. The drivers are backtracking when they are transporting her.  Some vehicles do not have the air conditioner working properly and the seats are falling apart.

First Transit will review her ride history and report back to her directly.  All vehicles go through a daily maintenance check and if air conditioners are not working the vehicle will not be put in operation. Due to the hot and humid weather, and the constant opening and closing of the doors on the vehicle, it may be challenging at times to keep a comfortable temperature on the vehicle.

Shenique Hall
She has been left waiting for a long period of time for her ride.  She is ambulatory and needs to use the lift; however, the drivers will not accommodate her request to use the lift.  She is not receiving the proper response from the Customer Service Department and drivers are rude and not courteous.

The Customer Service Department will contact her directly to ensure all of her concerns have been addressed. Her file will be updated with lift instructions.

Janet Wallans
She is pleased with the service. If there is a change in the venue, where would it be? Drivers were not provided with the construction updates at her residence. What is the update with the software Info Client?

Ms. Williams did provide First Transit with her construction updates and this information will be reviewed to make sure drivers are familiar with these changes. The possibility of a venue change may be at the North End Senior Center in Harford.  Mr. Burke commented that the updates with Info Client are currently behind based on information technology issues.

Michael Saylor
Will there be another fare increase for the passengers who live in the town of East Hartford?  Every day he receives a call from the IVR system at a specific time advising him about a trip which he did not schedule. How can he get these calls to stop?

The attendees were reminded that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) proposes bus fare adjustments.  Currently District staff is unaware of any discussion regarding an increase in bus or paratransit fares.  However, if in the future CTDOT proposes to increase fares, they would hold public hearings in advance.  On the last issue, Ms. Duran will work directly with Mr. Saylor to resolve his IVR issue.

Niema Pinkney
She would like her name to be added to the ADA forum email listing which Ms. Williams will do.

Kimberly Long-Hicks
The scheduling is inefficient. She has been on the vehicle when the driver has backtracked, such as when being transported to the grocery store in Manchester. She provided staff with dates that this occurred.  

The Customer Service team emphasized the importance of speaking directly to Customer Service staff to resolve a problem when it occurs. They will investigate Ms. Long-Hicks backtracking concern and respond back to her.

Ellen Gregory (emailed her questions)
When calling to make a reservation, the first reservationist was not able to schedule her trip at the requested time; however, she called in a second time and the next reservationist scheduled her trip with no problem.   She would like to know how can this happen?  Also, how will passengers know if a fixed route public transit bus (CTTransit) schedule has been cut?

First Transit Customer Service will respond in writing directly to Ms. Gregory regarding her reservation concern.  If there are proposed CTTransit service cuts there would be advanced notice.  They would also publish it on their website at www.cttransit.com.  For questions on routes and service contact the CTTransit Customer Service Department at (860) 525-9181.

Peter Karanja
He is grateful for the service and has no issues.

Kenneth Johnson
What is the holiday schedule? He has problems when scheduling a trip to/from a specific location in Wethersfield.

Ms. Duran informed the group that ADA Paratransit mirrors the CTTransit fixed route bus service and all holiday schedules will follow Sunday published service.  Mr. Johnson’s Wethersfield trips will be reviewed by the Customer Service Department.

Jeffrey Cole, Bill Saloman,Michael Thibeault and Anita Perez
Reported No issues

The forum concluded at 6:00 p.m.
The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for Wednesday September 14, 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.