February 24, 2014

Texas paratransit improves with Routematch tech

Texoma Paratransit System (TAPS) has reported that the organization has experienced operational improvements across its demand response and fixed-route services by continually adopting RouteMatch Software's intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies. The Texas agency has experienced greater cost savings, increased ridership and passengers per revenue mile, as well as a reduction in no-shows, according to a company statement.

RELATED: "Enhancing Paratransit Operator Customer Service Skills."

Serving seven counties in a region approximately 62 miles north of Dallas, TAPS implemented RouteMatch's technology platform as well as tablet mobile data devices and Notification Module for improved passenger communications and automated phone reservation system. Together, this platform of ITS technologies has allowed TAPS to evolve from a traditionally operated demand response provider to an agency that has added fixed route services and has become more agile and efficient in serving an expanding rural and urban region.

"There are so many RouteMatch tools and features we have used that have been to our benefit," said Brad Underwood, TAPS CEO/executive director. "My particular favorite is the notification tool. We have received many compliments from customers who are happy with this function. If you're a heavy demand response system like TAPS, your clients always want to know when their bus will be there and be reminded of their appointments. This tool lets them have that information at their fingertips."

Customer-facing technology solutions such as the Notification Module not only produce rider goodwill, but have also saved TAPS money, lowered the cancellation rate, and reduced the number of no-shows.

"It has been a great asset," explained Underwood. "This year the tool will pay for itself just in the area of no-shows, and not wasting dispatching or driver resources. It also opens up the schedule so that we can serve someone else, when there's a need."

TAPS has increased ridership to 497,000 in 2013, with a goal of 700,000 in 2014. TAPS performs approximately 3,000-3,500 trips per day, with 1,200-1,500 of these being demand response. In 2013, the agency added three additional deviated fixed routes, bringing their number of fixed routes to 15.

RouteMatch scheduling and routing technology helped make this expansion possible. As Underwood explained, "We were able to see all of our historical data in RouteMatch. By analyzing RouteMatch reports for where most of our demand response trips were going, we could then plan our additional fixed route trips. Not having to perform individual demand response trips is saving us a lot of money."

But perhaps the greatest improvement in terms of overall efficiencies and operational improvements has been TAPS' use of tablet technologies. In early 2012, TAPS made the decision to invest in RouteMatch's tablet solution after evaluating costlier alternatives.

The agency determined that the tablet's combination of flexible technology, reliability and web-enabled driver/dispatcher communications abilities was the best choice for a transit agency that values and implements innovative solutions. The tablets were pre-loaded and configured to automatically connect with RouteMatch's end-to-end passenger and vehicle management platform and integrated peripheral devices.

Moving further into 2014, TAPS has some big plans. There is potential to add 16 highly populated counties to their service area due to increases in Medicaid-related transportation needs.


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