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Speaker’s Insight – The Ghosts of ADA Past, Present and Future

Mar 03, 2017
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Christmas has come early this year for the transit industry. ThinkTransit: The Trapeze Technology Conference, is right around the corner. One of the biggest concerns likely affecting you and your agency is funding. Agencies are constantly looking for money (and rightfully so), but let’s not become Ebenezer Scrooge – keep an open mind and don’t fear learning from the Ghosts of ADA Past, Present and Future to improve your operations and make the most out of the money you currently have.   

Understanding ADA History (The Past)

Before we make the future better, we must understand our past. It’s quite often we do things because we have to, but we don’t fully understand why or comprehend the importance of what it is that we are doing. Within transit, we affect the lives of our passengers on a daily basis – literally.

As we trudge along our daily routines and work towards implementing new technologies – to make sure we are positively affecting our passengers – we may sometimes lose track why it is we are making these changes. Donna Smith, from Easterseals, recognizes the importance understanding our past. At ThinkTransit, she will dive into understanding the disability movement and how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed the environment of the transportation services.

Travel in the Customer’s Shoes (The Present)

In transit, we often see the trip as a passenger getting on and off a bus (or whatever mode of transportation they ride). In our minds, it’s a very simple process to complete. While this might sometimes be the case for fixed route travelers, it is never the case for paratransit passengers.

The paratransit process is a lot more complicated and detail oriented. Donna Smith (who has two speaking sessions at ThinkTransit) wants to explore the process of paratransit trips through the customer’s perspective. She will show that the trip doesn’t start and stop at the door of the vehicle. The trip includes choosing the right transportation option, planning the trip, getting to and from the vehicle from both the origin and destination points, completing the purpose of the trip, and then doing it all over again for the return trip. This will give you a better understanding of what goes into the customers’ decisions and strategies, giving you ways to be able to improve the passenger experience.

There is Still Time for Change (The Future)

Once you’ve learned about the history behind the ADA and traveled in the customers’ shoes, you can start learning other strategies to better your agency and your passengers’ futures. At ThinkTransit, your peers will show you how to improve your paratransit routes and operations.

John Zarbo will be showing Fairfax County’s mobility management practices. A big focus for Fairfax County to move their appointment-based scheduling forward is implementing mobility management tools. Come discover how your agency can do the same.

You Can’t Always Get Where You Want to Go

Ideally, the goal is to improve fixed route capabilities to allow those with disabilities easier access to these services. It’s no secret that fixed route is much cheaper (on average approximately $26-29 cheaper) to operate than paratransit services. But remember, we need to focus on the ride from the customer’s perspective. So, what happens when you live in an area that doesn’t geographically allow for traditional fixed route services to work well?

William Mozal (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) and Liz Peak (Ride Solutions, Inc.) will discuss what has worked best for their agencies and give you some strategies on what to do if your agency is in a similar situation.

But What About No-Shows?

Are you curious on how you should handle no-shows and service infractions? Craig Fraiser dives into the struggles Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) had with no-shows and implementing a new policy to determine violations. The whole process was creating frustrations for the agency and the passenger. CATA’s new policies made it even harder to determine which no-shows were excusable, causing an influx in passenger warnings and suspensions.

With CATA’s new program, Craig can more effectively and more accurately implement the no-show rules put in place. Come witness Craig’s excitement of this newly implemented system and how it will change the future of their no-show policy, only at ThinkTransit.

Don’t Forget to Review

You can never plan too far ahead. That’s especially true for your FTA triennial review. It happens once every three years and David Chia (The Collaborative) and Dan O’Reilly (Maryland Transit Administration) are going to show you how to learn from peer reviews so you can anticipate what will be the focus. At ThinkTransit, you’ll get both the legal and transit agency perspective. Knowing what to expect can often reduce potential issues that may be addressed during your review.

Ghosts Aren’t as Scary as You Think

The above examples are just a few of the people speaking at ThinkTransit regarding ADA and paratransit. The ADA spans the entirety of the transit world, so find out about all the different sessions is by viewing our detailed agenda. Remember, the only way you’ll learn the lessons from the Ghosts of ADA Past, Present and Future is by attending ThinkTransit.

Jeff Zarr has over 30 years of transit experience and 20 years of project management experience in the public transportation industry, as well as providing Paratransit consulting services for over 100 Paratransit agencies across North America, Europe, and the UK. As the Industry Solutions Manager for Trapeze Demand Response, Jeff shares his Paratransit expertise and experience throughout the North American Demand Response industry.
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