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Forum Meeting Comments

Wednesday, November 9, 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) 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: Dinah Davis, Deitra Davis, Michael Edwards, Ellen Gregory, Beverly Jackson, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Barbara Morgan, Anita Perez, Bill Saloman, and Michael Thibeault; Danielle Hebert (Way To Go CT), Barbara Bellott CTtransit)

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

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

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

September 2016 passenger trips were 39,841, no shows 1,403 (4%), and cancellations 9,081 (23%). October 2016 passenger trips were 40,565, no shows 1,522 (4%), and cancellations 8,266 (20%).

Customer Service:
In September 2016, 193 comments were received from passengers and 40% were compliments, 11% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 16% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 25% 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, 3% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns and 1% other.

In October 2016, 246 comments were received from passengers; 42% were compliments, 7% driver, dispatch, reservationist and/or scheduling concerns, 8% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 36% invalid concerns, 2% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 1% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 1% courtesy, 3% no-show concerns and 0% other.

Staff Comments:
Pat Williams, Director of Paratransit Services, requested that ADA Participation Group Forum participants keep their questions to five (5) minutes and asked that participants focus on current concerns that have not been investigated by the Customer Service Department. Information about the fare increase costs effective December 4, 2016 was discussed. Peggy Johnson informed the group that all Manchester residents may receive one (1) ADA book free per month and should contact the Adult and Senior Services in the Town of Manchester at (860) 647-3211 for further information.

DJ Gonzalez, District Operations Manager, provided the group with an update on ADA vehicles: forty (40) new vehicles have been purchased for a total ADA fleet size of 147. He reminded the group that during the winter months, riders are expected to keep their driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice in order for the driver to perform a safe pickup and drop-off for all riders.

Andy Burke, First Transit General Manager, provided information on how the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) operates and with an update on Info-Client. The IVR system notifies riders that the driver is on the way so that they can manage their trips in a timely manner. Info-Client is a mobile application which may be accessed on a computer as well, designed to provide passengers with information about their paratransit trips. Both the IVR and Info-Client are in the process of being updated. All issues pertaining to snow procedures, IVR, and Info-Client must be reported to the Customer Service Department at (860) 724-5340 extension 9 or hartfordcustomerservice@firstgroup.com.

Participants' Comments

Beverly Jackson
She is not receiving her night before calls on her correct telephone number. She is requesting that her monthly social group trips be scheduled in a more efficient manner. When calling to schedule a ride five (5) days in advance, she is not able to get the time she requested.
Staff Response
Margaret Gomez, Customer Service Department, noted that she will speak with the passenger after the meeting on this issue. The department is working on a response to her social group trips. Andy Burke noted that the reservationists are legally able to negotiate trip time by one hour. The passenger can accept a trip time and is always able to call back to see if a better time is available as trips are constantly being cancelled throughout the day.

Dinah Davis
She recognized Andy Burke for doing a great job. However, she was not satisfied with a customer service letter she had received from First Transit.
Staff Response
Andy noted that at any time if a rider is dissatisfied with the customer service letter, they may contact the Customer Service Department to re-open the complaint.

Deitra Davis
On Saturday October 29, 2016 the passenger called First Transit and was on hold and dialed extension 9 to receive a call back. She did not receive a call back.
Staff Response
Johanna Duran took down her information and will respond directly to her.

Bill Saloman
He was late to work on Friday November 4, 2016 because the driver was given an additional passenger to transport. He observed dispatchers not responding to drivers when they [drivers] call them [dispatchers] on the radio.
Staff Response
Andy informed the group that in addition to dispatchers responding to drivers over the radio they are also assisting passengers and drivers over the telephone which may have caused the concern Bill experienced on this day.

Michael Edward
He was not aware of how he should address complaints. He did not have the exact change when boarding the bus and he wanted to go to the gas station nearby to get change. However, the driver did not allow him to do so. When he is being dropped off, his pick up ride is already at the location he is being picked up from. He has experience problems with being picked up and dropped off at a particular location in Bloomfield.
Staff Response
The Customer Service Department will contact Michael directly regarding his issues.

Barbara Morgan
She shared with the group a pleasant experience with ADA.

Anita Perez
She also shared a satisfying experience with ADA and appreciates the service.

Ellen Gregory
How does she travel within the jurisdiction of another CT ADA Paratransit operation?
Staff Response
She should contact Margaret Pieniazek at (860) 247-5329 extension 3043/email mpieniazek@ghtd.org
or Pat Williams (860) 247-5329 extension 3011/email pwilliams@ghtd.org for coordination of these trips.

Passenger's Michael Thibeault, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Johnson and Peggy Johnson had no issues.

The forum concluded at 6:15 pm.

The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for Wednesday January 11, 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 and in languages other than English upon request.