WMATA’s MetroAccess Service, Washington, D.C.: Demand Response Traveler Information

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WMATA’s MetroAccess Service, Washington, D.C.: Demand Response Traveler Information

WMATA’s MetroAccess Service, Washington, D.C.: Demand Response Traveler Information
Trapeze PASS-Web and IVR provide the authority with substantial cost-savings and greatly increases the quality of service we can provide our customers. With these products, we are able to offload call volume from our dispatch and reservations staff, and can very quickly and efficiently communicate critical information to our customers. Web and IVR have become so integral to our daily operations that I don’t know how we managed without them.
- Ryan Parr, ACCS Projects Control Officer, MetroAccess

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Background

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or Metro) is the public transportation operator for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. WMATA operates a number of transit services including Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess, an ADA complementary paratransit service provider.

MetroAccess delivers an average of 7,200 trips per weekday and has 28,000 registered passengers.

Challenges

Before adopting Trapeze PASS-Web and PASS-IVR, MetroAccess managed all trip inquiries, cancellations and bookings through their call center. This focus on the call center proved to be a less than ideal way to handle all customer contact. Call center reservationists spent large parts of their time booking and cancelling trips and answering questions to common inquiries. This led to bottlenecks at peak periods, and frequently, callers were on hold for extended periods of time.

Queries showed that paratransit passengers were also dissatisfied with the limited access to demand response information through WMATA’s Website.

Under the old system, paratransit vehicle drivers faced challenges as well. It is a well-known industry rule that the sooner demand response passengers can be ready for pick-up without driver intervention the better.

As passengers were not being notified in advance, drivers were often left waiting for passengers or passengers would not show up at all (i.e. “No Show”).

These challenges and frequent delays had a negative cascading effect on the overall schedule efficiency and on-time performance and led to decreased customer satisfaction levels.

Snapshot
Type of service: Fixed Route and Paratransit Transport
Paratransit trips per day: 7,200
Trapeze products used: PASS, PASS-Web, PASS-IVR, among many others

Solution

MetroAccess started installing Trapeze PASS-Web and PASS-IVR in 2005.

PASS-Web is a self-serve, Web based system that allows passengers to look up, cancel and book paratransit trips online 24/7. The secure system provides support for the elderly and visually impaired. It features a simplified step-by-step approach and supports the JAWS and Windows Eyes Screen Reader application. PASS-Web seamlessly integrates with WMATA’s existing Website and appears as a single integrated solution.

PASS-IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a self-serve, telephone based system that lets passengers look up and cancel paratransit trips 24/7. MetroAccess installed additional PASS-IVR features to further provide customer-friendly services. The Callbacks module for automated alerts provides nightly reminders of next day trips and arrival alerts upon vehicle arrival. The Confirm/Cancel modules allow passengers to directly access their own trips. Clients thus become accustomed to confirming and cancelling their trips with IVR, without taxing the call center staff.

The IVR system also provides other general agency information to passengers and routes callers to other departments within WMATA as necessary.

Results / Conclusion

Since the implementation of PASS-Web and PASS-IVR, trip inquiry and cancellation calls to MetroAccess’s call center were reduced by 34%. Each day the system carries out 4,550 arrival alert calls and 3,650 previous day reminders. The system receives 1,200 trip confirmation or cancellation calls daily.

Overall, driver wait times, no-shows and same day cancellations are dramatically reduced. Customer satisfaction levels are greatly improved.

With 15% of all demand trips booked by Web, MetroAccess potentially saves 11 staffed reservations positions.


Associated Products

  • PASS, Demand Response Management

    Trapeze PASS is an advanced scheduling and dispatching application developed to support the transportation management efforts of demand response transit services. PASS delivers a comprehensive solution for client registration, trip booking, real-time scheduling, and dispatching.

    PASS integrates GIS mapping, enabling users to precisely geocode client addresses and destinations, calculate trip lengths and distances for accurate scheduling, and zoom in to view detailed information about the service area.

    Find Out More About PASS, Demand Response Management
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