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March 14, 2018 – Hartford
ADA PARTICIPATION GROUP FORUM
Wednesday, March 14, 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 Hartford.Customerservice@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: Jeffrey Cole, Dinah Davis, Lynn Evans, Ellen Gregory, Beverly Jackson, Michelle Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Mary Ann Langton, Kimberley Long-Hicks, Bill Saloman, and Melissa Thompson
First Transit (FT) Attendees: Andrew Burke, Angela Glisson, Anand Gounder, and Karla Vera
Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) Attendees: Valerie Ellis, DJ Gonzalez, Margaret Pieniazek,
Vicki Shotland, and Pat Williams The forum began at 5:00 p.m.
January 2018 passenger trips were 36,568, no shows 1,604 (4%), and cancellations 12,763 (35%). February 2018 passengers trips were 36,006, no shows 1,481 (4%), and cancellations 9,331 (26%).
In January 2018, 156 comments were received from passengers and 43% were compliments, 10% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 3% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 22% invalid concerns, 1% 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, 14% unknown, and 3% other.
In February 2018, 232 comments were received from passengers and 34% were compliments, 11% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 17% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 24% 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, 2% no show concerns, 11% unknown, and 1% other.
Ms. Williams told the attendees that the proposed fare changes are currently slated to go into effect on July 1, 2018. Mr. Burke provided the group with February ridership information. He commended the safe driving record of all the drivers during the inclement weather months of February and March. He reminded participants that drivers are all equipped with mobile data terminal units, maps, and the assistance of drivers and dispatch to provide them with directions to sites if necessary. Mr. Gonzalez noted the improvement of First Transit’s on time performance and applauds them for their efforts.
Asked about the pickup location at the Buckland Hills Mall. Drivers did not have a clear radio connection in the vicinity of UCONN Medical Center. Some GPS systems do not operate on the buses. When inquiring about “where is my ride,” is there any way to bypass having to wait for dispatch to pick up the telephone. Drivers are not performing door-to-door.
Mr. Burke confirmed there are two pickup locations at Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester (Macy’s and the Food Court.) Ms. Vera noted that at the upcoming safety meeting, all Mall drop-offs and pickup sites will be discussed with the drivers. In addition, dispatchers and reservationists will be educated on these sites as well. When equipment is not functioning on a bus, drivers are to report this to maintenance. Mr. Burke informed the group that ADA is working on improvements to the telephone system. He reminded all riders to immediately let the customer service department know about drivers who do not perform door-to- door. ADA continues to work diligently to ensure that all drivers provide this assistance to riders.
Mary Ann Langton
Her first ride with ADA will be on Thursday March 15, 2018. She hopes it will be fine.
Wanted to know why drivers can be late, but not the riders. When there are several riders on the vehicle she arrives late to her destination. She does not have ADA transportation late at night. She has experienced long telephone hold times. Wants to be informed when her vehicle is on the way.
As a reminder, ADA Paratransit operates the same time as CTtransit and therefore in some towns late night transportation will not be provided. When scheduling trips, riders should always consider that there will be other passengers on board who may be dropped off or picked up before them. Mr. Burke will set up Ms. Evans so that she can receive automatic telephone arrival alerts.
She claims that the IVR (interactive voice response) system does not work all the time. Wants the updated customer service email address. Continues to experience issues with drivers pronouncing her daughter’s name as “Michael”.
Customer service email address is Hartford.Customerservice@firstgroup.com. Ms. Williams suggested putting “Miss” in front of her daughter’s name (Michelle) and also alerting drivers beforehand of how to say the name correctly. Mr. Gonzalez requested that Ms. Johnson email him directly if she experiences this issue again.
Ms. Jackson shared her experience of the driver being lost at Buckland Hills Mall. Wanted to know why she is being contacted on her home phone to inform her that her ride will be late.
Ms. Vera reiterated that drivers are shown where to perform pickup and drop-offs at common locations. Mr. Burke noted that the telephone number can be corrected accordingly.
Ms. Davis stated that on two different occasions her pickups were incorrectly marked as a no show. She is concerned that drivers are not performing door-to-door at her place of worship.
Mr. Burke reviewed the five (5) minute wait time with the group. He stated that at her place of worship the pickup instructions will be reviewed.
He shared his incident regarding riding on the vehicle for an excessive amount of time. He wanted to know why drivers do not always get a response from dispatch when they call in.
Staff will respond directly back to Mr. Saloman. Mr. Burke commented that there are areas where radio communication is limited.
She commended one of the dispatchers. She continues to experience issues with some drivers and also she has door-to-door problems at her place of worship.
Mr. Burke stated that his staff will look into her issues.
Wanted to know why she can’t be dropped off at specific stores when she goes to any mall. She stated that she is not satisfied with the proposed fare increase.
Mr. Burke will have someone get back to her regarding drop-off and pickup locations at mall(s). Ms. Williams will provide her with an email address for her to voice her concerns about fare increases.
He commended the Customer Service Department. When the telephone system goes down, is there a way to notify riders. He suggested putting a hand sanitizer on all vehicles.
Mr. Burke commented ADA is working with the telephone company to provide an alternate backup plan when the telephone lines go down. Hand sanitizers on all vehicles would be costly; however, ADA management will review and report back to the group.
The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for May 9, 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.