[tabi] Summary Notes from Conference Call Lynda Jones, Robert Miller, John Plescow, and Evelyn Worley

  • From: "Waterman, Brian" <Brian.Waterman@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:25:33 +0000

On Friday, July 11, StarMetro staff conducted a conference call with Lynda 
Jones, Robert Miller, John Plescow, and Evelyn Worley to discuss the fixed 
route system. It was a very productive conversation that provides the 
foundation for continued discussion and system improvement. Here is a summary 
of the items discussed and next steps for us.


Next Steps

How could we make stop placement for uniform?

StarMetro is working on a Bus Stop Policy to address the placement of bus stops 
and bus stop features. This policy should be completed by the end of September 
with implementation to start immediately after approval. The goal is to provide 
a consistent look and placement for our stops. In the meantime, we will 
re-inventory the system to identify and improve bus stops.

Improving frequency of service

StarMetro is revamping the route change process to increase public involvement 
and transparency in decision-making. This policy is being worked on now and 
should be completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, StarMetro staff 
will continue to seek funding opportunities and partnerships to increase 
frequencies on our routes.

Technology update

StarMetro and its vendor is working diligently to provide smartphone 
applications and other programs to make it easier for our customers to use the 
system. This is a high priority for us. StarMetro will start working next month 
on redesigning its website to provide more information to our customers on our 
system. Staff will work with you to make sure the new website is easy to 
navigate for those with screen readers and related devices. As for 
GoogleTransit, adding this feature is taking longer than expected. We ask for 
your continued patience.

New Technologies to Improve Dial-a-Ride Services

To improve transportation services, StarMetro has installed Mobile Data 
Terminals (MDTs) with GPS Mapping in Dial-a-Ride vehicles.  MDTs provide 
real-time computer communication with vehicles allowing scheduling changes or 
additions to be sent directly to vehicles. The GPS technology will allow 
drivers to get to their destinations a lot faster.  MDTs allow for dispatch to 
know the precise location of all drivers and to move passengers onto other 
vehicles in the event that drivers are running behind. Prior to the 
implementation of MDTs drivers had to manually input the time and odometer 
mileages reflected at the time when customers were picked up and delivered. 
This caused further delays.  Dispatch monitors all issues with scheduling and 
can move trips around as needed.  This was not possible prior to the 
implementation of MDTs. If drivers have any concerns about their schedules they 
are required to contact dispatch or their supervisor so that changes could be 
made to the trip manifest.

As with any new technology, testing and monitoring performance is critical to 
success. This usually takes some time to ensure that any issues are well 
documented and properly handled. As we gathering feedback on the performance of 
this technology, StarMetro has reinstituted the use of a paper trip manifest to 
ensure customers are not inconvenienced during the testing phase.

StarMetro has also begun the implementation of an Interactive Voice Response 
(IVR) system, by which customers will receive telephone, email or text 
reminders with information pertaining to their trip. This system will remind 
customers the day before of a pending trip as well as an imminent arrival 
notice when the vehicle is 20 minutes away. This technology is currently being 
tested and it is anticipated to be fully operational this summer.

StarMetro has implemented Call Center Recording technology and this system is 
currently being tested.  Incoming and outgoing communication between citizens 
and call center and dispatch staff will be recorded to ensure citizens receive 
the best customer service possible.

Soon thereafter, StarMetro will be implementing an on-line scheduling feature 
enabling Dial-a-Ride customers to schedule, make changes or cancel trips online 
(the same time windows will apply). Another feature will allow citizens to 
leave comments or concerns on-line without the need to speak to a live person. 
The later technology would assist with the tracking and handling of comments or 
concerns, as well as providing prompt customer feedback. All these technologies 
should be fully operational this summer.

Announcing Bus Stops

Our operators are instructed and frequently reminded of their requirement to 
announce bus stops. If you do not hear a bus driver announcing bus stops, let 
us know. In the meantime, we are currently putting a list of stops for the 
operators to announce and to be consistent for each route, along with pursuing 
funding opportunities for automatic stop announcers.

C.K. Steele Plaza - Braille Plates and Crosswalks

StarMetro staff will update braille plates at the Plaza and repaint crosswalks 
to improve access and safety.

Where are we in adding the braille plates?

In late June, StarMetro placed an order for another 300+ braille plates for bus 
stops. We should receive them by the end of July. All braille plates should be 
up by the end of August. Once the bus stop policy is completed, we will 
re-inventory stops and replace any missing braille plates. As for providing 
customers the stop codes through the website, this will require some additional 
thought on how to do this effectively. In the meantime, please email Brian 
Waterman of any stop codes you would like and he will send them to you.

Thank you for supporting StarMetro. We will work on these items and provide you 
an update every two weeks. If you have any other concerns, please let us know.

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

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  • » [tabi] Summary Notes from Conference Call Lynda Jones, Robert Miller, John Plescow, and Evelyn Worley - Waterman, Brian