[tabi] A summary of TCB's meeting with Dial-A-Ride Personnel

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 22:22:39 -0500

My apologies. I often forget to set the background correctly so those with 
vision can actually see my text. This is a resend. Please forgive the 


Sila (the tech blonde) 

Hello TABI and other interested parties,

Yesterday, TCB was pleased to have Ivan Maldonado , Quintus Douglas, and Andrea 
Rosser from Dial-A-Ride at our meeting. For those interested but unable to 
attend, the below is a summary of information provided and questions and 
answers covered during our discussion.

Thank you, Andrea, Quintus and Ivan for sharing information with us and for 
working as partners to make our system better. 

·       Ivan Maldonado is the Director of StarMetro and may be contacted or 
copied with problems, concerns, and compliments at Ivan.maldonado@xxxxxxxxxx

·       Quintus Douglas supervises Dial-A-Ride (DAR) and may be contacted at 

·       Andrea Rosser is the Mobility Coordinator and mainly works with 
community coordinated transportation (Cecily Rose and Big Bend) related issues 
and concerns. She and her assistants will personally assist patrons to learn 
how to ride the fixed route system, make transfers and plan trips. She may be 
reached at Andrea.rosser@xxxxxxxxxx

1.    Q. How can TCB partner with DAR to request additional funding to hire 
more drivers and/or purchase additional vans? 

A.   Apply for a Federal Transit Administration Grant. Communicate with City 
Commissioners during budget planning sessions. There are plans for purchase of 
three natural gas vehicles to add to the DAR fleet. Should be on the road by 
April, 2014.

2.    Q. What other cities are using the new Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) system? 
How long did it take them to get the system running smoothly?

A.   12 other cities. Takes approximately 6 - 9 months to iron out kinks. 
Talley's system has been in place for approximately four months. It is expected 
to vastly improve by February 2014. PassWeb equals screen reader compatibility. 
In future, patrons will be able to schedule and cancel trips and check on 
existing trips electronically. 

The current situation with DAR is putting undue stress on drivers, not only 
being overbooked, but causing them to back-track. Drivers are encouraged not to 
"disobey" the MDT so that problems can be identified. Quintus is working 
closely with this system and drivers.

3.    Q. Why are patrons still being told they can't check on a ride until 
after 30 minutes? 

A.   Unsure. Telephone recording software should put a stop to this. MDT 
software allows dispatchers to know, within a few minutes of when the driver 
should arrive. Possible future plans for an IVR auto call system to advise 
patrons of what time to be ready.

4.    Q. When will the telephone recording software be installed? 

A.   By the end of 2013. Unsure how or who will monitor employees.

5.    Q. Until then, is there any kind of accountability for those working in 
the call center and dispatch who are repeatedly dishonest, rude, and careless? 

A.   Quintus works with them. In some situations, patrons have and can be sent 
tokens as a type of compensation. 

6.    Why wasn't there more pre-planning for the increased DAR ridership 
StarMetro personnel knew decentralization (NOVA 2010) would cause? 

A.   Quintus asked for 15% increase for Dial-A-Ride. Was only allowed 10%.  

7.    Q. What are the penalties for having customers on the bus over the 
allowed time (one hour)? 

A.   Nothing in place at this time. MDT allows Quintus to monitor drivers in 
real time, offer additional training, and if driver is running late, move 
patrons to different manifests. 

8.    Q. Why do other city's Para transits have a 30 minute window, yet 
Tallahassee's is longer? 

A.   Other cities don't deal with money/patrons pre-pay. Some other cities use 
smaller vehicles to serve furthest areas. Tallahassee unique. (trees) 

9.    Q. Are there fines or any kind of action being taken because of the 
abnormalities occurring?

A.   In certain situations, patrons have and can be sent tokens as a type of 

10.                    Q. If patrons need to change their trips home due to 
work demands, will DAR be able to accommodate them as we were previously told? 

A.   Commuter services of North Florida will issue an emergency voucher for 
participants. To qualify for this service, folks must use StarMetro 
transportation (includes fixed route and DAR) at least three days per week). 
Andrea will send a link.


·       Four years ago, DAR provided 54,000 trips annually. They now provide 

·       Future plans to tighten up qualification process. However. DAR assures 
that patrons who use fixed route system, when they can will not automatically 
be disqualified. 

·       DAR recently changed their phone tree because folks were having trouble 
getting through.

·       The electric buses are being used on the Canopy route and have resulted 
in saving approximately 3,000 gallons of fuel.  

·       Changes are in store for the Red Hills and Tall Timbers routes for 
folks traveling to Southwood. Shuttles are planned to augment the approximately 
4 a.m. and 4 p.m. regular runs.

·       There will be a resulting change to Ride Guides. They are downloadable. 

·       Plan to have at least 50% of bus stops equipped with either seats or 

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