Accessibility

<font color=red>Web Extra:</font> County centralizes paratransit service, rebids contracts

Posted on January 20, 2010

As of Jan. 1, Broward County, Fla., transitioned its door-to-door paratransit services to a centralized call center and rebid contracts with service providers, in an effort to consolidate the service and make it more efficient.

Previously, nine different companies had contracts to provide paratransit service for the county but the number was reduced to five under the new contracts, says Robert Nelson, the county's director of transit. Before the switch, the service providers all made their own reservations and handled routing separately.

As Nelson describes it, the county's transportation department had been looking at ways to make paratransit trip routing more efficient — the county provides about 900,000 paratransit rides per year. "We ran some tests with some routing software and that got us thinking we needed a centralized call center so the trips are flowing through one source, not nine different sources," Nelson explains.

While budget concerns played a part in the impetus to make the change, Nelson says improved customer service and efficiency are also targets. The county hopes to be able to track clients' trip patterns, special transportation needs and experience with the service through the call center, which is also outsourced.

A recent blog post on SunSentinel.com cited critics of the change who have voiced concern over delays in service for the area's disabled residents. The post noted that the county's three longest-serving providers lost out to lower-cost bidders. Critics have questioned whether the new providers would be ready for the Jan. 1 start date with vehicles in proper condition.

"We've just started our third week of this new program, and it's had some hiccups in terms of transitioning clients into a more centralized service model, but it's getting better everyday," Nelson says. "Some of our long-term clients would say, 'but I had my favorite driver.' So we're being very delicate with that by delivering enhanced customer service."

According SunSentinel.com, the county faced a $109 million budget deficit this year, forcing commissioners to order the restructuring of the tax-supported paratransit service. By rebidding the van contracts and switching to the centralized call center, officials believe they will save $8 million.

In addition, Nelson says, "The upside will be the opportunity to leverage the developing technology in this industry that would be more cumbersome if we didn't have a centralized call center. I don't think there will be any downsides, but we have to be mindful of the clients' history with the program and recognize that centralization is a different model and we've got to work with them in a collaborative way."

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Q’Straint’s Quantum makes passenger safety push-button easy

Wheelchair and scooter users want independent transportation, and bus drivers have a schedule to maintain. Until now those two objectives often conflicted.

Conn.'s rural residents die at higher rates due to poor access to healthcare

Rural areas have fewer doctors and public transportation is centered in more urban areas.

Pa.'s LANTA hosts seeing eye dog training

The training was conducted by Lehigh Valley volunteers in conjunction with The Seeing Eye, a Morristown, N.J.-based organization.

WMATA taps taxi companies for subsidized Md. paratransit services

The decision was a win for disability rights activists who pressed WMATA officials to avoid companies such as Uber, because they lack vehicles with wheelchair-ramps and have been sued for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Capital Metro steps up to rescue those impacted by Hurricane Harvey

The agency was able to send five vehicles for the transport of 10 wheelchair passengers from a medical facility in Corpus Christi, Texas to a shelter in San Antonio. They are also offering free passes and travel training to those people that are in shelters in Austin.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close