January 10, 2018 – Hartford

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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, 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: Beth Bosco (and PCA), Maureen Butts, Dinah Davis, Linda Ernst, Beverly Jackson, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Christy Killion, Mary Ann Langton (and PCA), Kimberley Long-Hicks, Herbert Milner, Karen Nazgiewicz, and Patricia Thomas

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Angela Glisson, Margaret Gomez, Karla Vera, and Lawrence Thomas

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

The forum began at 5:00 p.m.

November 2017 passenger trips were 38,241, no shows 1,558 (4%), and cancellations 10,103 (26%).
December 2017 passengers trips were 36,857, no shows 1,554 (4%), and cancellations 10,477 (28%).

Customer Service:
In November 2017, 107 comments were received from passengers and 37% were compliments, 10% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 20% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 20% 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, 0% courtesy, 0% no-show concerns, 9% unknown, and 2% other.

In December 2017, 134 comments were received from passengers and 42% were compliments, 7% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 14% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 22% invalid concerns, 0% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 0% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 1% no show concerns, 12% unknown, and 2% other.

Staff Comments:
Ms. Williams thanked everyone for attending and welcomed new riders. She reviewed snow procedures and reminded everyone about the importance of having their driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Riders are not expected to wait outside in the inclement weather. Drivers are expected to provide door-to-door service to all riders.  Mr. Burke reiterated that clearing driveways and sidewalks are very important for providing a safe environment under difficult weather conditions.

Ms. Ellis noted the importance of filling out an ADA Paratransit recertification application. This information is necessary if a rider has changed their address or has an update with their disability.

Participants’ Comments

Beverly Jackson
Why did the driver backtrack in taking her home on January 9, 2018?  Why does the driver insist on taking the fare before she boards the vehicle (especially during cold temperatures)?  She requested that a note be put on her file stating that blue straps are not needed for securement of her mobility device.

Staff Response
Customer Service Department will respond to Ms. Jackson in reference to her January 9th trip and a note about the straps will be added to her file. During cold weather drivers will be informed that it is acceptable to ask for a rider’s ticket after they are inside the vehicle. However, a rider should be prepared to provide the driver with the proper fare.

Peggy Johnson
Why aren’t drivers performing door-to-door?  Why are drivers told to call dispatch department within two (2) minutes after their arrival? Drivers are not provided adequate training on how to operate equipment on the vehicles.

Staff Response
Mr. Burke will be discussing these safety measures with his safety manager. The driver will call dispatch if they cannot make contact with the rider. A driver is required to wait five (5) minutes for the rider and the rider should be ready throughout the thirty (30) minute window time frame.

Beth Bosco
She experienced concerns with her trip to Stop and Shop. Who is responsible for securing her breaks on her mobility device? Overall, she is satisfied with the service.

Staff Response
Ms. Glisson will discuss Ms. Bosco’s specifics concerns with her after the meeting.

Christy Killion
Her subscription trip is not scheduled efficiently.

Staff Response
Ms. Killion’s subscription trips will be reviewed by the scheduling department.

Patricia Thomas
Do drivers know their geographical surroundings?  She is requesting Sunday service in her area.

Staff Response
Drivers may have to travel in a direction which does not seem efficient to a rider, but is necessary in order to pickup or drop off a rider in a timely fashion.  Service routes and times are determined by the CTtransit Service Review Committee.   Ms. Thomas is welcome to submit her request(s) to CTDOT or CTtransit.

Linda Ernst
She praised a specific reservationist at First Transit. She continues to have issues with her trips to/from Buckland Mall in Manchester, CT. She is not provided with 1) door-to-door service and 2) the required five (5) minute wait time. She would also like drivers to introduce themselves. Are drivers allowed to ask passengers about their disability? What are the procedures for a rider after they are released from the hospital? During inclement weather are passengers penalized for not canceling two (2) hours in advance?

Staff Response
Ms. Ernst’s next trip to the mall will be monitored. When she is not provided the required five (5) minutes wait time or door-to-door service she should contact Customer Service right away. Regarding the trip to the hospital, the driver should notify the dispatcher that they are arriving at the facility and then the dispatcher will contact the hospital. In addition, the rider should provide this information at the time they are scheduling the trip.  Drivers should not ask passengers about their disability. Passengers do not get penalized for canceling late during bad weather.

Maureen Butts
Drivers do not know how to secure her walker. Drivers are not providing her with seatbelt assistance.

Staff Response
Road supervisor will work with Ms. Butts for the proper securement of her walker. Drivers should assist riders with safely securing their seatbelts.

Dinah Davis
She is concerned that drivers are not receiving her compliments.

Staff Response
Customer Service reassured Ms. Davis all compliments are forwarded to the drivers.

Kimberly Long-Hicks
Do drivers check to see if the heat is working in their vehicles?

Staff Response
Mr. Burke explained drivers perform a pre-check on their vehicles to ensure everything is operating.  If there is a problem while the bus is out on the road the driver is to report this to dispatch.

The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for March 14, 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 an accessible format upon request.

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