A new policy at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) addressing no-shows and late cancellations of reserved trips could save the agency about $1 million dollars per year.
The policy, which goes into effect Sept. 1, temporarily suspends the agency's MetroAccess paratransit service to customers who repeatedly don't show up for their reservations or who fail to cancel their reservations within the cancellation time frame.
Federal regulations allow for the suspension of customers who establish patterns or practices of missing scheduled trips. WMATA's new policy was endorsed by it's Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Advisory Committee last spring.
In the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2003, no-shows and late cancellations accounted for 28% of all MetroAccess trip requests. A "no-show" is when a MetroAccess vehicle arrives on time and waits 10 minutes for a customer who fails to show up. A late cancellation occurs when a customer cancels his or her trip but fails to do so by 4:30 p.m. the day before a trip.
The policy proposal has four tiers of dealing with the suspension of customers who demonstrate patterns of missing scheduled trips:
1. Three no-shows or six late cancellations in a rolling 30-day period results in a two-week suspension of service.
2. A second violation within 12 months results in a three-week suspension.
3. A third violation within 12 months results in a four-week suspension.
4. Subsequent violations within 12 months result in four-week suspensions.
Any customer cited is able to appeal, as provided by federal regulations.