Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 2




ISSN 0364-345X
The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis


Paratransit and On-Demand Services:

Are Opportunities to Introduce New Mobility Options
Limited by Existing Technology?
Vice President of Business Development
TSS Paratransit

how best to incorporate newer mobility resources-like TNCs-into its grand
plan. If you were to ask me where the
public transit industry is heading, this
is it.
In recognition of this new frontier,
what APTA calls the future of mobility, DART is in the midst of seeking
software-or a cadre of linked software
products-that would help its eventual
contractor in this new role and also help
the agency monitor the contractor and
its various services.
Paratransit and on-demand transporWhile FTA is looking
summer, enables ADA
tation software suppliers have an opporfor good ideas through
paratransit trips to be
tunity to produce a solution-or work
its Mobility On Demand
sent to certified drivtogether-to meet the vision of DART
numbers of
program and is even willers through a separate
and our industry's other innovators. As
ing to press the envelope
app. But as creativity has
an example, Denver RTD recently impleagencies have
on some policies, APTA
emerged, traditional paramented a "trip exchange" technology
continues to encourage
transit software systems
system that will enable shared capacity
its members to expand
have not kept up, and
among its Call-n-Ride services, human
the types of mobilindeed Nashville is drawservice transportation providers and
ity options offered to
ing together different
potentially its ADA paratransit service.
services for the
riders-with many public
software systems to supBut there's a nagging issue. The undergeneral public.
transit agencies across the
port this new model.
lying base paratransit software needs to
country doing just that.
Meanwhile, increasing
be reinvented. Paratransit software has
In efforts to meet ADA
numbers of agencies have
been plugging along for the last 40 years
paratransit obligations more efficiently
implemented on-demand transportation
with small derivatives of optimization
and effectively, I am seeing more new
services for the general public, which
algorithms produced in the 1970s and
service models than ever before. These
some call "microtransit." They have done
1980s. Flashy add-on modules can't hide
include using taxis for increasingly
so because traditional fixed-route service
the fact that the base software is still
larger volumes of trips, such as in Los
either doesn't work in a particular area
producing sub-optimal results. Remember
Angeles where over half the ADA paraor at certain times of day, or to provide
the old adage about insanity?
transit trips are now served by "certifirst-mile/last-mile access to high-quality
As transit agencies wish to truly
fied" taxi drivers.
transit services, or because the agency is
transform their paratransit services and
In addition, public transit agencies
unsure about the potential demand and
their service models, they will need neware using non-dedicated service providwants to test the waters, or to help reduce
generation technology platforms that
ers not only for ADA paratransit trips
demand at their station parking lots.
don't take the same old approach.
but also for the new breed of "alternaMany public transit agencies have
Indeed, what our industry needs is
tive" services being offered to ADA
operated such services directly or with
software that connects trips in new and
paratransit customers. These alternative
paratransit contractors. Denver Regional
more productive ways, that optimizes
services have primarily involved partnerTransportation Disthe use of taxis and
ships with taxis and/or transportation
trict (RTD) has been
other non-dedicated
Transit agencies will
network companies (TNCs) and offer
doing this for more
service providers, that
ADA paratransit customers new mobility
than 10 years with its
gives dispatchers the
need new-generation
options while affording public transit
Call-n-Ride program.
tools they need to
technology platforms
agencies an opportunity to save money.
Additionally, agenproactively improve
that don't take the
Specifically, these agencies are betcies are beginning to
today's service, that
ting that more savings will result from
utilize TNCs, taxis
supports the new flasame old approach.
demand shifts to lower-subsidy services
and, in some cases,
vors of service modthan the additional subsidies paid out
wheelchair carriers
els, and that bridges
for new trips induced by these innova(to ensure service equivalency) as less
the gap between advance-reservation
tive new on-demand offerings.
expensive options. In all of these cases,
and fully on-demand services. OtherNashville Metropolitan Transit
the agencies are using the new crop of
wise, public transit agency innovators
Authority not only is planning to impleon-demand software or TNC apps.
will be hamstrung. The time for reinvenment such an alternative service but is
Putting it all together under one roof
tion is now.
also planning to take advantage of TNC
is Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).
driver resources for ADA paratransit
DART envisions hiring a single contrac"Commentary" features authoritative points
trips. How? By utilizing a third party to
tor to manage and coordinate all its
of view from various sources on timely and
engage TNC drivers willing to become
demand-responsive mobility resources,
pressing issues affecting public transportation.
"ADA paratransit certified" and ensurincluding ADA paratransit service,
APTA would like to hear from you. If you are
ing that these drivers are trained and
microtransit, taxi subsidy programs for
interested in submitting an original, thoughtundergo drug and alcohol testing, etc.
seniors and persons with disabilities,
leader Commentary for consideration,
This model, in use by GRTC Transit
plus some fixed-route shuttles as well. As
please contact Senior Managing Editor
System in Richmond, VA, since last
part of this vision, DART is strategizing
David A. Riddy at

IN THE 40 YEARS I have been working
with public transit agencies and others to help
provide more and/or better service to persons
with disabilities and others reliant on demandresponsive transportation, I have never seen a
more vibrant time than now.

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2 | Passenger Transport

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APTA Officers

Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Chair
David M. Stackrow Sr., Vice Chair
Kim R. Green, Secretary-Treasurer
Doran J. Barnes, Immediate Past Chair

Executive Committee Members

Doug Allen, Virginia Railway Express
Lester W. Bryant, VIA Metropolitan Transit
Dorval R. Carter Jr., Chicago Transit Authority
Frederick L. Daniels Jr., Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid
Transit Authority
Nuria I. Fernandez, Santa Clara Valley Transportation
Carolyn Flowers, AECOM
Freddie C. Fuller II, CH2M
David A. Genova, Regional Transportation District
Andre Gibson, Memphis Area Transit Authority
Andrew Johnson, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
Adelee Marie Le Grand, Regional Transit Authority of
New Orleans
Jack Martinson, Alstom Transportation Inc.
Bacarra Sanderson Mauldin, Birmingham Regional
Paratransit Consortium dba ClasTran
Diana C. Mendes, HNTB Corporation
Brad Miller, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Jeffrey A. Nelson, Rock Island County Metropolitan
Mass Transit District
Greg Percy, Metrolinx
Leanne P. Redden, Regional Transportation Authority
William T. Thomsen, Urban Engineers
Jeffrey Wharton, IMPulse NC LLC
Charles R. Wochele, TransitConsult LLC

President and CEO

Paul P. Skoutelas

Deborah Bongiorno, Assistant Vice PresidentMember Services
Pamela L. Boswell, Vice President, Workforce
Development and Educational Services
Mary Childress, Chief Financial Officer and
Vice President-Administration
Linda C. Ford, General Counsel
Arthur Guzzetti, Vice President, Policy
Jeff Hiott, Assistant Vice President-Technical Services
and Innovation
Ward W. McCarragher, Vice President,
Government Affairs
Petra Mollet, Vice President, Strategic and
International Programs
Rosemary Sheridan, Vice President, Communications
and Marketing
Richard A. White, Senior Advisor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9

Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 1
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 2
Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 3
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Passenger Transport May 2018 Vol 76 No 9 - 5
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