As with many other public transit agencies across the country, GoDurham Access, the ADA paratransit service for the City of Durham, N.C., has faced COVID-related driver shortages and decreased multi-passenger capacity due to social distancing rules. While at the same time, facing increased demand for ADA paratransit service.
To prevent service degradation, GoDurham needed a way to quickly implement a solution to both challenges — more vehicles available for paratransit service and more drivers. Fortunately, working with their prime contractor National Express Transit (NEXT), the paratransit provider for GoDurham Access, GoDurham realized they could quickly implement a technology solution that could supplement both the GoDurham Access fleet of paratransit vehicles and their driver base.
NEXT tapped UZURV® — the “Adaptive Transportation Network Company” (Adaptive TNC) — to quickly expand GoDurham’s ride options with a non-dedicated fleet of fully FTA compliant drivers. NEXT and GoDurham received board approval of an agreement to add UZURV’s mobility platform as a supplemental service provider in July.
UZURV then immediately began the process of recruiting a fully vetted and credentialed fleet of independent contractor drivers who utilize their own vehicles to provide door-to-door paratransit service.
All UZURV drivers passed Federal Transit Administration-compliant background checks and complete drug and alcohol testing — both pre-service and random testing as required meeting all federal, state, and local requirements for operation as a supplemental service provider for GoDurham and NEXT.
On September 9 — just 50 days after the agreement was approved — UZURV service began in Durham. Just two weeks later, the program achieved its full target daily trip volume. And by the end of September, NEXT and GoDurham further expanded service hours with the UZURV network and increased daily program service volume to support 20% more trips per day than original expectations. NEXT was able to successfully leverage UZURV to provide GoDurham with flexible service that met and continues to meet the increased transportation needs of their passengers.
In addition, the technology partnership and operational integration with UZURV was seamless.
GoDurham Access uses Ecolane, the scheduling and dispatch software, which supports direct integration with the UZURV API. The integration and “one-system” approach provided several key benefits for NEXT, paratransit riders and GoDurham Access:
- NEXT dispatchers push trips to UZURV from within the Ecolane system and receive details of the completed trips back into Ecolane.
- Riders can track their UZURV vehicle in real-time via the Ecolane mobile app.
- Client reporting on UZURV and NEXT trips can all be done from within the Ecolane platform.
UZURV supplemental service has had promising results. The average cost per trip has been 30% less than the previous sub-contractor and UZURV is achieving an average on-time percentage of 98.5% (within a 15-minute window). GoDurham reports that customers are overwhelmingly happy with the new service, especially visually impaired customers who enjoy the door-to-door nature of the service.