Management & Operations

A laundry list of challenges

Posted on August 1, 2004

In METRO's inaugural paratransit survey, conducted in June and July of this year, operators were asked to describe their biggest challenge in providing paratransit service. Not surprisingly, budget and cost-related problems were cited most often, but responses varied widely. We've provided some of the more interesting and insightful answers.

  • There is no standardized wheelchair built to integrate with vehicles.

  • Many clients need and expect a lot more assistance than is required by ADA regulations.

  • Clients are never ready when the ride arrives.

  • Meeting all ride requests within ADA parameters with available resources is a constant struggle and everyday juggling act.

  • Construction sites on the road, winter conditions and users who take so long that it puts drivers behind schedule.

  • There is an ever-increasing demand for equipment and a lack of availability.

  • Demand for more paratransit services increases mileage and accelerates wear and tear on vehicles.

  • Paratransit vans cannot keep up with demand like commercial vehicles can, thus they require engine and transmission replacements prior to the end of their useful life.

  • Meeting the demand for growth in paratransit service with increasingly strained resources.

  • Recruiting and keeping operators.

  • Adjusting to the daily and weekly changes to service demand.

  • Accessibility to specific addresses.

  • The multitude of makes and models of mobility devices is challenging.

  • Drivers sometimes lack knowledge of the service area.

  • Rider education is difficult.

  • City congestion.

  • Delivering service with the highest possible on-time performance.

  • Being able to provide trips and good service to all customers, while at the same time controlling the ever-increasing costs associated with paratransit service.

  • Trying to set policies and procedures.

  • The size of mobility equipment is getting larger, and the ramps on the lifts are not able to accommodate the length and/or width of the devices. There needs to be more regulation in the manufacturing of mobility equipment.

  • Number of trip requests is steadily growing while, at the same time, the traffic in areas served continues to worsen due to increased population. This serves to slow down vehicles and aggravate the ability to respond to increased demand.

  • Addressing the safety issues of transportation of scooters. There is no good way to adequately secure a scooter, and even if there were, the passenger cannot be safely secured to the scooter itself. We think that the ADA should mandate that individuals in these mobility devices transfer to a seat.

  • Effective scheduling of service. Installing new paratransit computer software can replace an outdated system.

  • Traffic congestion and road construction cause serious time delays.

  • Customer expectations don't always match ADA regulations.

  • Fleet is not large enough to accommodate service needs.

  • People change scheduled rides too frequently.

  • The time it takes to properly maintain equipment is costly.

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