[tabi] Re: StarMetro Update

  • From: Chip Orange <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2015 20:02:22 +0000

Thanks William.

Yes, nothing ever happens fast enough, and there’s never enough money, and it’s 
always harder than we all thought. However, as you say, things are much better 
than they used to be, and StarMetro really impresses me with their dedication 
in trying to make things better now.

There are so many reasons to credit: all the volunteers here who have all 
continued to work for progress, a dramatic change in staff at StarMetro which 
has allowed change to happen, and our city and county commissions who have 
provided the funding (and the federal grants as well).

I do hope we can get Google Transit, as I think it will solve a lot of access 
issues; but even if not, it’s just nice to be involved with people who 
genuinely seem to care about making things better.

Chip





Chip Orange
Florida Public Service Commission
Computer Systems Analyst
850-413-6314


From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of 
William Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2015 12:13 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: StarMetro Update

Chip,

I am so happy with your last post about your talking to Brian Waterman.  Some 
times it can be forgot that we have come a long way even tho we have a long way 
to go.  One thing that sticks out in my mind is that it can leave our heads 
swimming grying to take it all in.  I do want to make it clear that I 
appreciate your positive remarks as well as Brian’s and Andrea’s effort.

From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of 
Chip Orange
Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 11:34 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: StarMetro Update

Hi Robert and all,

I am sorry I couldn’t try to get to this before the holidays, but family 
problems just made that impossible.

I had a phone call with Brian Waterman, to discuss your issues, and all of his 
current status reports, efforts, information, etc. which he would like to 
communicate with TABI.  Let me see if I can put down a good summary of what was 
said:


•         StarMetro is becoming recognized nation-wide for the efforts to 
better serve the visually impaired community.  It’s now to the point where they 
are being contacted by other transit providers, to discuss all the various 
needs and problems of visually impaired ridership.  Brian was very pleased 
about this, he wants our local visually impaired community to know that they 
have his sincere thanks for constantly pushing him to learn more, and to do 
better.  He is again asking for any input at all, up through March 31st, 
regarding route changes or any other changes StarMetro can make.  He and his 
staff will begin at that time to analyze these suggestions for their next round 
of upgrades to the system.

•         * Robert, he agrees with you (and who doesn’t), about making every 
route have a 20 minute head way (why not a 10 minute head way), and service 
every day until midnight!  The point here is that he can only provide using the 
money that he has.  If we want better bus service, we need to convince others 
(not just ourselves), and then everyone needs to convince the city and county 
commissions to put in more money for public transit.

•         * He has tried several different approaches to get someone to create 
all the electronic data Google needs to add us to Google Transit.  He doesn’t 
disagree with how important it is, but so far their contractors have given them 
systems they can use, and the public can use via the web and via phone apps, 
but no one has given them a system which produces data which is acceptible to 
Google, so Tallahassee cannot yet be added to the Google system.  He did try to 
explain to me all of the various options he has pirsued, and is pirsuing, to 
try and get these data files to be generated reliably, but I admit to having my 
head spin from all the options he’s trying to deal with, while still having to 
satisfy the needs of the public, FSU (and other special riderships).  The short 
answer is that in the next quarter he expects to have something working which 
will produce Google Transit data files acceptible to Google (they can already 
produce them acceptible to Microsoft/Bing, so part of the confusion is then 
over why aren’t they acceptible to Google)?

•         * We didn’t discuss the seats attached to bus signs, but I will point 
out that I am one person, married to another, who cannot stand for long times 
while waiting on a bus; therefore, I think the need for seats at bus stops is 
another disabled group’s needs, which we will have to accommodate.  I don’t 
immediately see why you won’t be able to approach the sign from two sides if 
you need to read it, even if it has seats, but if you can’t, you could try to 
ask the people sitting there which stop it is.  I’m going to guess a lot of the 
time, you’ll know which stop it is, because that’s why you will be there.





I think that’s it.  Brian seems very interested in public input, so write to 
him, or even ask him to meet with your group if you feel that’s necessary, but 
I got the feeling he’s willing to do whatever he can for us, given the money he 
has to work with.  This last phrase is the key here, we have to get more money 
if we want more service, talking buses, or whatever.  The same is true for 
dial-a-ride issues.



StarMetro did install the call recording system.  They deserve a thanks for 
achieving an important request.  I’m sure it cost quite a bit of money, so next 
time, if StarMetro isn’t able to give us something we ask for, it may be more 
helpful if we go to the city commission to explain what it is, and ask them to 
allocate money for it.



In the mean time, we are getting regular progress reports from StarMetro, 
getting many things done which we ask for, and we’ve got a willing ear for any 
of our requests.  This is much more than we’ve had in the past, and I’m 
appreciative of it.



Hth,



Chip






Chip Orange
Florida Public Service Commission
Computer Systems Analyst
850-413-6314


From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
[mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Robert Miller
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:56 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [tabi] Re: StarMetro Update

Hi Brian,

I have responded to each of your points directly below each.

Happy Holidays to everyone at TABI. Before the year ended,  I wanted to provide 
an
update on what we are doing at StarMetro. If you have any questions on any of 
these
items or have other questions, feel free to let me know.
1.      Technology – StarMetro currently has an IPhone App on the App Store. We 
are
waiting to market it until the Android App is completed and to have more time to
test it. If you have an IOS device, go ahead and download it. We would 
appreciate
your feedback. We are also working with our vendor on providing our transit data
to third party vendors, such as Google Transit. The data feeds and Android App 
should
be in completed in the 1
st Quarter of 2015.

What is the point of waiting man power and money developing separate apps for 
the I-phone and android since Google has already done the work for you with the 
transit option in Google maps.  If you want people with I-phones to test your 
app, it would be nice to know the name of the app.

2.      Amenities – It is our goal that every bus stop have an amenity (two seat
bus pole, bench, shelter, etc.). To  accomplish this, we have updated our Bus 
Stop
Policy, included funding in the recent Sales Tax Referenda, and selected vendors
for a shelter and bench program. The contracts with the vendors should be 
completed
by March with installation starting shortly thereafter. Over 300 shelters, 
benches,
or 2 seat bus poles should be installed in 2015.

I have some real concerns with placing 2 seaters on bus sign poles.  First of 
all will they stick out in the path of the side walk.  If someone is sitting on 
one of the seats, blind people may not know they are there and may get struck 
by a cane or a nice wet lick by a guide dog since they would be at the right 
level for a big smack.  How will we be able to get to the pole to read the 
Braille sign to read it if some one is sitting in front of the pole.  What does 
it take to get planners at Star Metro to start thinking blind?  As much cane as 
we have raised apparently no one there has caught on yet.

3.      Bus Stop Sign Redesign/Braille Plates – We are redesigning our Bus stops
signs to be more visible and contain more information. Staff will start 
installing
these signs next year. Since we have over 800 bus stops, it may take over a year
before this project is completed. Braille plates will be updated as new signs 
are
added.

Brian, If you will look back to your prior post and updates, the Braille signs 
should have been completely installed at the end of the summer and the last 
time I checked there is still no Braille sign on the post at my stop hence my 
remark about the constant lies that keep coming from Star Metro.

4.      Service Changes – StarMetro is implementing an annual route change 
process
to allow for more public comment, more analysis, and more outreach on changes. 
Route
changes should only take place in December. From January 1 to March 31, we are 
taking
public comment on possible changes the public would like to see. Please email
brian.waterman@xxxxxxxxxx<mailto:brian.waterman@xxxxxxxxxx>
or
Charles.main@xxxxxxxxxx<mailto:Charles.main@xxxxxxxxxx>
with suggested changes or questions.

What is the point, you get plenty of public input but we don't get any out put. 
 All we get is lies and promises that don't do anything to improve the quality 
and frequency of bus service, in fact most of the changes  are designed to 
reduce service such as the Southwood and Red Hills changes which pushes more 
and more disabled people to Dial A Ride.  But since you are asking for public 
input, give us 20 minute head ways and more evening and weekend service so we 
don't have to be prisoners in our homes after 7 PM unless we live on the south 
side. 40. 60 and 120 minute head ways are unacceptable since bus drivers aren't 
allowed to coordinate over the radio if they are running 2-5 minutes behind.  I 
would much rather be 2-5 minutes late than have to wait in the heat or rain up 
to another hour and 20 minutes for the next bus I thought that was what radios 
were for.  Why was this allowed when the hub system was in use? but not now.  
Unfortunately this practice shows that Star Metro has no concern for the riders 
convenience.

5.      Dial-A Ride Update
a.      Call Center Recording
- The call recording system is fully operational. This technology is helping us
to ensure customer service is maintained through analysis of randomly selected 
phone
recordings and follow-up on recordings where a customer/staff member has raised 
an
issue.  Recordings are being used as a training tool as well.

Congratulations, this only took about 8 years to implement.  This request was 
made at one of the TD meetings several years before Donna Peacock retired.

b.      Online Scheduling
- Online scheduling is a web based application enabling customers to confirm, 
cancel
or book trips online without the need to speak with a reservationist.  This 
system
is currently being tested and we anticipate rolling this out to the public in 
the
first quarter of 2015.

Can you give a update on what is going on with the developer of this 
application.  I sent Andrea a list of problems with the app for people using 
speech and the only response I got was that she sent my concerns to the 
developer and that was about 6 weeks ago.

c.      Interactive Voice Response (IVR
) - The IVR system will send customers automated notices via voice mail, e-mail 
or
text message (customer can choose how they want to receive this information) 
reminding
them of upcoming trips, trip booking confirmation, trip cancellation 
confirmation,
as well as imminent arrival confirmations (Vehicle is 20 minutes away).  This 
system
is currently being tested and we anticipate rolling this out to the public in 
the
first quarter of 2015.

This is nice but I think most people would much rather be able to get to work, 
doctor's appointments and the grocery store on time.  The money would be better 
spent hiring more drivers and putting more vans on the road
.

d.      Electronic Fare cards
- The electronic fare cards provide an additional option to exact change and 
paper
tokens when using DAR. We have started testing this system and are working with 
our
Contractor to fix glitches in the system.  We anticipate rolling this out to the
public in the first quarter of 2015.
We want to thank those who have helped us test the online scheduling, the IVR 
system
and the new fare cards.  Your input helped us fix many issues which internal 
testing
alone would not have found. We look forward to continue working with you in 
2015.

Here again Star Metro can't think blind.  There is no way for a blind person to 
tactually determine which way to slide the card in the reader and there is no 
audibal out put to let you know how many trips are left on your not so smart 
card.  So far neither Sila, my self or the driver have been able to get the 
reader to even read the card.  Personally I didn't see anything wrong with the 
tokens and again this is just another waist of money.  If the smart card system 
was purchased with federal grant money then the facts I listed above should 
most definitely put this system in violation of the 21st century communications 
act that should be in effect before this system is working.  Please get the 
message,  give us more drivers and vans and quit wasting man power and money 
that doesn't do anything to provide good dependable quality transportation.  
Depending on the driver to tell us how many trips are left on the card is not 
acceptable.  It hasn't worked on the fixed routes  for stop announcements and 
won't work here.

.
Brian S. Waterman, AICP
Transit Planning Manager
StarMetro
Office:
(850) 891-5564
Cell:
(850) 339-996



From: Waterman, Brian<mailto:Brian.Waterman@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 3:28 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [tabi] StarMetro Update

Happy Holidays to everyone at TABI. Before the year ended,  I wanted to provide 
an update on what we are doing at StarMetro. If you have any questions on any 
of these items or have other questions, feel free to let me know.


1.       Technology – StarMetro currently has an IPhone App on the App Store. 
We are waiting to market it until the Android App is completed and to have more 
time to test it. If you have an IOS device, go ahead and download it. We would 
appreciate your feedback. We are also working with our vendor on providing our 
transit data to third party vendors, such as GoogleTransit. The data feeds and 
Android App should be in completed in the 1st Quarter of 2015.

2.       Amenities – It is our goal that every bus stop have an amenity (two 
seat bus pole, bench, shelter, etc.). To  accomplish this, we have updated our 
Bus Stop Policy, included funding in the recent Sales Tax Referenda, and 
selected vendors for a shelter and bench program. The contracts with the 
vendors should be completed by March with installation starting shortly 
thereafter. Over 300 shelters, benches, or 2 seat bus poles should be installed 
in 2015.

3.       Bus Stop Sign Redesign/Braille Plates – We are redesigning our Bus 
stops signs to be more visible and contain more information. Staff will start 
installing these signs next year. Since we have over 800 bus stops, it may take 
over a year before this project is completed. Braille plates will be updated as 
new signs are added.

4.       Service Changes – StarMetro is implementing an annual route change 
process to allow for more public comment, more analysis, and more outreach on 
changes. Route changes should only take place in December. From January 1 to 
March 31, we are taking public comment on possible changes the public would 
like to see. Please email 
brian.waterman@xxxxxxxxxx<mailto:brian.waterman@xxxxxxxxxx> or 
Charles.main@xxxxxxxxxx<mailto:Charles.main@xxxxxxxxxx> with suggested changes 
or questions.

5.       Dial-A Ride Update

a.       Call Center Recording - The call recording system is fully 
operational. This technology is helping us to ensure customer service is 
maintained through analysis of randomly selected phone recordings and follow-up 
on recordings where a customer/staff member has raised an issue.  Recordings 
are being used as a training tool as well.

b.      Online Scheduling - Online scheduling is a web based application 
enabling customers to confirm, cancel or book trips online without the need to 
speak with a reservationist.  This system is currently being tested and we 
anticipate rolling this out to the public in the first quarter of 2015.

c.       Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - The IVR system will send customers 
automated notices via voice mail, e-mail or text message (customer can choose 
how they want to receive this information) reminding them of upcoming trips, 
trip booking confirmation, trip cancellation confirmation, as well as imminent 
arrival confirmations (Vehicle is 20 minutes away).  This system is currently 
being tested and we anticipate rolling this out to the public in the first 
quarter of 2015.

d.      Electronic Fare cards - The electronic fare cards provide an additional 
option to exact change and paper tokens when using DAR. We have started testing 
this system and are working with our Contractor to fix glitches in the system.  
We anticipate rolling this out to the public in the first quarter of 2015.

We want to thank those who have helped us test the online scheduling, the IVR 
system and the new fare cards.  Your input helped us fix many issues which 
internal testing alone would not have found. We look forward to continue 
working with you in 2015.


Brian S. Waterman, AICP
Transit Planning Manager
StarMetro
Office: (850) 891-5564<tel:%28850%29%20891-5564>
Cell: (850) 339-9969<tel:%28850%29%20339-9969>

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