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Case Study
How CATA Improved Paratransit No Show Accuracy To Keep Paratransit Riders Satisfied
Industry
Paratransit
Products
PASS, Service Infractions
CATA increased accuracy of their no shows, improving relationships with paratransit clients and decreasing the amount of time it took to process no shows.

Background

Fail to provide paratransit service and you’ll have angry customers who complain — or worse: a PR nightmare. Yet providing paratransit service requires complex management to evaluate eligibility and especially no show infractions. Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA)’s unique service area made it even harder (it includes the largest university in Michigan, Michigan State, two huge General Motors plants, several large automotive supply plants, an international airport and the state capitol).

 

Challenges

CATA had a complex no show policy that required two full-time staff members to review the no shows and infractions individually to see if they adhered to their policies. If a warning or suspension threshold was met, staff would then manually write warning or suspension letters. The process would take about four days of work (four hours each day) every two to three weeks — for a total of about 16 hours.

“Our methods to determine violations was extremely labor intensive and, as we moved forward, was very frustrating for our customers which created more work and some very frustrated customers. Our service area is quite unique. Each funding area has its own ‘quirks’ as it pertains to work schedules, school schedules and our ability to provide excellent service,” said Craig Frazier, Paratransit Supervisor — Administration, CATA.

Solutions

In addition to the labor intensive work, Craig and his team wanted to figure out why they had such high no show rates — a more accurate number meant fewer disputes with paratransit users.

CATA’s manual evaluation process caused a lot of discrepancy in no shows and they weren’t sure if the suspensions were always warranted or not. They were looking for a way to determine accurate no shows and reduce the amount of administrative work it took to process no show warnings and suspensions.

To do that, CATA implemented Service Infractions, part of the PASS web-based solutions for paratransit transportation.

"This makes the real noshows much firmer and allows us to improve relationships and service to our customers."

Craig Frazier
Paratransit Supervisor Administration, CATA

Results

“Once PASS Service Infractions went live, I was immediately able to see that we had gone way overboard with our previous methods of determining warning letters and suspensions — thus creating unnecessary issues with our customers. I can now see — instantly — which customers’ trips were directly affected by work, school or other issues beyond their control — allowing me to excuse unnecessary no shows,” he said.

After implementation, Craig only required one staff member to review infractions and generate letters, a process that now takes 15-30 minutes.

The data also makes the number of no shows more accurate. In the two weeks leading up to the implementation, CATA generated 50 warning letters and 16 suspension letters. Of these, 13 of the suspension letters were appealed — proving that the infractions collected were not valid and that the client dispute could have been avoided. In the two weeks after implementation, they had only two warning letters with no appeals.

Given the easy to manage views of the infractions along with trip-related AVL data, CATA can quickly see the forgivable trips and avoid counting them towards warnings and suspensions. This ensures they focus on the “real” no shows, allowing for firmer stance when delivering notices, while avoiding the deterioration of client relationships for being overly punitive.

“This makes the real no shows much firmer, allows us to improve relationships and service to our customers, and allows us to properly address those who are truly ignoring the no show rules,” said Frazier. “I could go on and on about how impressed I am.”

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