November 14, 2018 – Hartford

Wednesday, November 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, or fax (860) 936-3750. 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: Mary Bora, Cassandra Brown, Benjamin Coleman, Dinah Davis, Sally Gaston, Ellen Gregory, Bernice Hartfield, Shirley Harmon, Gloria Hutchins, Beverly Jackson, Mary-Ann Langton, Patricia Radzik-Blainey, Sandra Riley, Terry Woolard and wife (Sally), Michael Saylor, Charlotte Spriggs, and Miriam Steinberg

First Transit (FT) Attendees: Anand Gounder, Shayna Reid, Enid Rodriguez, Nelson Torres, and Rita Voskanova

Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) Attendees: Margaret Pieniazek and Pat Williams Guest: Barbara Bellott (CTtransit)
The forum began at 10:00 a.m.

September 2018 passengers trips were 36,919, no shows 1,372 (4%), and cancellations 8,464 (23%). October 2018 passengers trips were 43,468, no shows 1,474 (3%), and cancellations 8,596 (20%).

Customer Service:
In September 2018, 264 comments were received from passengers and 18% were compliments, 7% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 11% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 19% invalid concerns, 0% mechanical and/or related to safety concerns, 1% door-to-door and/or related to wrong drop-off or pick-up concerns, 0% courtesy, 1% no-show concerns, 7% unknown, 2% other, and 33% n/a, record only.

In October 2018, 300 comments were received from passengers and 13% were compliments, 6% driver, dispatch, reservationist, and/or scheduling concerns, 13% late/early arrival, ride length or missed trip concerns, 15% 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, 0% courtesy, 1% no show concerns, 7% unknown, 0% other, and 44% n/a, record only.

Staff Comments:
Ms. Williams introduced the staff and welcomed all, and then explained the structure of the forum. Erin (Lee) Rodriguez (Call Center Manager) and Shayna Reid (Dispatch Operations Supervisor) were recognized as new staff personnel at FT.

Ms. Bellott provided information and handouts about “The Go CT Card” used on the fixed route public transit (CTtransit) service. This card provides riders with discounted fares when traveling on CTtransit. For further information, contact their help desk at 877-255-7433.

Ms. Pieniazek provided the group with important scheduling tips when reserving for a doctor’s appointment. Mr. Torres explained the need to make sure all sidewalks and driveways are clear of snow and ice in order for the drivers to provide safe pickups and drop-offs at riders’ residences. Several participants requested that ADA staff reach out to some of the complexes to let them know how important it is to have a clear passageway in order for the passenger’s safely.

Participants’ Comments

Terry Woolard
He is very satisfied with and appreciates the service. For pickup at his residence he would like to be picked up on the Pearl Street side not the Court Street side (which is the actual physical address). In addition, he wanted to know if the ADA service would transport him to Wallingford.

Staff Response
Ms. Voskanova will contact Mr. Woolard directly regarding his requested pickup and drop-off location. Ms. Williams will speak with him about a transfer trip to Wallingford.

Patrica Radzik-Blainey (Patticatheryn)
She has a safety concern pertaining to the manner in which the lift on the ADA Paratransit vehicle is deployed at her residence.

Staff Response
FT will have a Road Supervisor investigate lift deployment at this location.

Cassandra Brown
Ms. Brown is also experiencing pickup and drop-off concerns at her residence.

Staff Response
FT will have a Road Supervisor visit this site as well.

Beverly Jackson
Ms. Jackson questioned why passenger MaryAnn Langton did not receive a response to a concern. Also who provides training to the dispatch department on how to communicate with passengers who have a speech impediment?

Staff Response
Ms. Voskanova noted a customer service letter was mailed to Ms. Langton. Mr. Gounder reviewed the standard training procedures that dispatchers undergo. Ms. Reid commented that passengers have the option to speak with a senior dispatcher if desired, as long as he/she is available to accept their call. The rider may also contact Ms. Reid directly at (860) 724-5340 x3223.

MaryAnn Langton
She shared with the group her concerns with how dispatch staff handled her calls on two other separate occasions (Wednesday November 7, 2018 and Friday November 9, 2018).

Staff Response
Ms. Williams commented that both days’ recordings will be retrieved and investigated. They can also be used as a training tool for the dispatch department.

Ellen Gregory
Ms. Gregory questioned whether or not the ADA operation is fully staffed on Saturdays. Also, at what time does the imminent arrival calls contact the passenger?

Staff Response
Ms. Reid noted the dispatch department has filled all of its positions. She is looking forward to working with the dispatch team to improve the customer service relationship with our riders. Ms. Voskanova informed the group that imminent arrival calls are based on fifteen (15) minutes prior to the estimated time of arrival. These calls are subject to change based on traffic conditions and unforeseen circumstances. She stated to always be ready on the early side of the window time frame.

Charlotte Spriggs
She is concerned that ADA service does not transport her to her doctor’s appointments on time. She provided words of praise for staff in the dispatch and reservation departments. She questioned why some reservationists do not assist in looking up the address of a specific location.

Staff Response
Ms. Voskanova pointed out it is the responsibility of the passenger to have the proper reservation information ready upon booking their trip. A passenger should provide either an appointment time or a requested pickup time (but not both). If you have an important doctor’s appointment, always schedule yourself more than enough time for the appointment.

Bernice Hartfield
She does not understand why the service backtracks.

Staff Response
Ms. Williams explained ADA Paratransit provides an estimated 1,900 trips each day and there will be times when the service has to backtrack in order to make sure that all passengers get to their destinations on time. However, if a passenger feels he or she is on the bus for an excessive amount of time, they should notify the Customer Service Department for investigation.

Sally Gaston
She requested that the reservation department book trips more efficiently.

Miriam Steinberg
She continues to have problems with drivers not providing her with door-to-door service at her residence. She specifically mentioned an incident that occurred on Saturday November 10, 2018.

Staff Response
Ms. Voskanova had previously updated Ms. Steinberg’s file with the proper pickup and drop-off instructions. Ms. Voskanova will review the day in question with the driver.

The next ADA Participation Group forum is scheduled for January 9, 2019 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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