Paratransit service is an essential component of our transit network in Orange County, as it is throughout the nation. This service provides independence to those who need it most, and because the demand for this lifeline service continues to grow, it has far outpaced the available funding.
A decade ago, Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) paratransit ACCESS Service was growing at a rate twice that of the fixed-route service. Managing that increased demand and the spiraling cost of added usage has been a necessity to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of our entire transit system.
However, managing that growth did not come at a cost to customer satisfaction. Through strategic planning, program structuring and implementation, OCTA has successfully kept paratransit services at a manageable level, while maintaining high customer satisfaction.
A recent customer satisfaction survey of OCTA’s paratransit service, known as ACCESS, showed 88% of those who use ACCESS are satisfied with the service, with the majority of users highly satisfied.
Customers also show increased satisfaction in travel time, on-time performance, bus driver courtesy, cleanliness of the bus, safety on the bus, the reservation process and the cost of riding ACCESS.
This survey comes on the heels of six years of implementing changes to manage the growth of ACCESS, both on the operations side and through community partnerships.
We have been able to improve the efficiency of ACCESS by expanding taxi service during lower productivity hours and using same-day taxi programs as an alternative for paratransit customers.
These changes save OCTA more than $1 million a year. Customers show increased satisfaction in the use of taxi services as well, with 83% satisfied — an increase of 13% from 2008.
Collaborating with local agencies and organizations also has been a key element to reducing the demand on ACCESS. OCTA has provided more than $18 million to various organizations who provide trip services for their ACCESS eligible clients. To date, these grants have provided nearly two million trips, saving OCTA more than $63 million.
Together, these strategies have produced significant cost savings while maintaining the quality of service and transportation options our customers expect and deserve.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Transit violence signals need for more security" here.
While PTC may have just recently entered the consciousness of the public at-large, it has been an issue for freight and commuter rail systems since Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) (P.L. 110-432) in 2008 following the collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles. Since that time, rail organizations have been working toward meeting the federally-mandated PTC implementation deadline of December 31, 2015. With less than six months to go, several commuter rail systems have said that, not only will they not meet the deadline, they will need several more years before having full PTC implementation on their trains.
Disruptive technologies and the new era of information sharing are helping to evolve and advance public transportation in our nation’s greatest cities. Nearly 300 mayors and government officials convened in San Francisco June 19-22 for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Annual Meeting, featuring remarks from President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. I was invited to speak in front of these influential government leaders to discuss “Technology and the Transformation of Urban Transportation.” This article will give readers an inside look at the conversation.
In times of disaster or tragedy, public transit agencies are frequently called upon to assist their communities and other transportation organizations. In case of fire, evacuation or accident, buses may be used to shelter or transport the displaced or injured, or serve as a respite site for first responders.
As a city, Leipzig is an excellent example of the German principals of transport planning and service as well as eastern Germany’s long history. The city has benefitted from large amounts of investment in infrastructure over the years since German reunification and most transport systems seem to be new or rebuilt, expanded and in a very good current state of repair. The most notable element in the transport mix is inevitably the enormous and historic main railway station, which is one of the largest, but certainly not busiest, in Europe.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Regional (commuter) Rail system was inherited from the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads and the infrastructure in many sections of the system has been serving the Philadelphia area for more than 100 years. Fifteen years ago, overhead catenary system (OCS) failures were a common occurrence on SEPTA Regional Rail, a result of fatigue cracks and wear. The all too common OCS failures were frustrating for SEPTA customers who occasionally found it difficult to depend on train service for their travels and for SEPTA, whose crews were constantly working to repair and maintain the system.