Dear Members of the Tallahassee Area Blind Issues Listserv,
As you may already know one of our main goals is to provide safe and reliable
transportation to our citizens. In our efforts to continue to meet and exceed
the growing demand for transportation, our staff is constantly working on ways
to enhance the services we provide. In the following email, we want to provide
you with a few updates regarding Dial-A-Ride services.
Request for Proposal for Contracted Services
StarMetro issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit transportation vendors
for the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) services within Leon County.
The RFP included transportation services for Agency for Persons with
Disabilities, the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged Non-Sponsored
program, rural services program, the Lake Jackson FLEX route, the Southwood
Express service as well as assistance with Dial-A-Ride services. Currently,
Big Bend Transit assists Dial-A-Ride with a few runs each day and we utilize
Yellow Cab when needed. Although the RFP is mainly intended for CTC services,
we believe that having the flexibility to reach out to other vendors will help
us improve on-time performance as we will have additional resources to meet the
Even though contracted vendors will be used to provide assistance with
Dial-A-Ride services, StarMetro has begun to interview, hire and train
additional Dial-A-Ride part-time operators. In the upcoming fiscal year's
budget, we will be requesting consideration for additional full-time
Dial-A-Ride operator positions as well as a full-time scheduler position.
Call Center Improvements
StarMetro is coordinating with the City of Tallahassee's Utility Call Center to
assist us with customer calls coming into StarMetro. This includes all
requests for trips through Dial-A-Ride and the CTC, as well as customers
requesting estimated times their vehicle transport arrives, and information
pertaining to the fixed route system. With this consolidation, we will expand
the hours of StarMetro's Call Center to provide services between 6:00 a.m. to
11:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., on
Sunday. We will still maintain the after-hours answering service. This change
will be effective July 1, 2015.
With the coordination of the call centers, customers will no longer contact
dispatch directly to ascertain the estimated times for their vehicle transport
arrivals, to check on, or cancel a trips. This change will allow the dispatch
team to focus on true dispatching duties which we believe will help with the
scheduling and on-time performance issues DAR is currently experiencing.
Communications Between Drivers, Dispatch and Operators
Coach operators are always able to contact a dispatcher or supervisor if they
have questions or issues. Since our vehicles are equipped with mobile data
terminals, our dispatchers and supervisors are able to determine the estimated
times of arrivals without the need to radio the drivers. If a customer is
ready early, dispatch has the ability to shift trips from one vehicle to
another if a viable option is available.
New Technologies Recently Implemented
StarMetro has completed testing on an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system
which will send out reminders either by voice, email, or text depending on the
customer's preference. The reminders will include upcoming trips as well
imminent arrival alerts notifying the customer that their vehicle is 30 minutes
away. This will allow customers to stay indoors or at a safer location as they
are waiting for Dial-A-Ride to pick them up.
StarMetro is working on a web based customer concern database which will allow
StarMetro to better track the type of concerns and complaints being received by
We will keep you posted as all of these efforts and initiatives are implemented.
Please feel free to contact me or Ms. Andrea Rosser with any issues, questions