Mass Transit - 26



Forbes said. "That's how engaged
they are; that they may suggest
the next month's safety message
because of a trend they see out in
the field."
Once the monthly safety message has been established, it's posted in every company room and is
used to start every single meeting.
At the start of a meeting, someone
will read the safety message and
reflect on how it applies to them.
"...By way of speaking about
[safety] and always speaking
sabout it, we speak it into existence," said Palm Tran Director of
Support Services Gilbert Morales.
The safety message is just
one aspect of the safety culture
at Palm Tran. In 2017, Pam Tran
developed an agency-wide program, Palm Tran Statistic (PT
STAT), that brings people together from different functional areas to develop, present and
implement initiatives aimed at
improving performance metrics.

26 |

installed safety
shields on 100
percent of PSTA's
bus fleet.

Mass Transit | | FEBRUARY 2020

There are 10 PT STAT teams,
some of which include safety and
accident reduction; reduction of
rollcalls; on-time performance;
and ridership. Forbes shares
it's created a lot of synergy and
teamwork within the agency.
"We have an organizational
philosophy that creates innovation and high performance, and
not about the individuals, but
about the team," Forbes said. "I
believe [in] creating a space and
environment where everybody's
slices of genius can be unleashed
and harnessed and turned into a
work of collective achievements."
One slice of genius came from
the safety and accident reduction
team, which developed a project
called the Flashing Light Campaign. Cars were running into
the backs of buses, so the team
developed a project to retrofit all
the buses with a flashing light to
increase visibility and to improve
nonpreventable accidents.
"We started this initiative
with our fixed-route fleet and
we've now extended that to include all our paratransit vehicles,"
Harrington said. "Putting these
flashing lights on the vehicles has
really helped reduce the number
of people who are running into
the back of those vehicles."
Other safety initiatives from
PT STAT teams include reducing
side swipes by adding reflective
tape to the side rear of buses and
reducing the number of wheelchair incidents by implementing
a mandatory wheelchair securement policy.
"We've seen metrics really
moving in the right direction,"
Harrington said. "We've also seen
a significant reduction in customer concerns, so the customers are
happier too with the same service
we're providing."
In addition to the safety message and the PT STAT teams,
Palm Tran is providing de-escalation training to help bus operators deal with a range of difficult
situations. Forbes explains that

while, yes, accidents are a safety
concern, another safety concern
is carrying thousands of people
each day.
"What we have been doing is
putting more tools in the operator's toolbox," Forbes said.
The de-escalation training,
which started four years ago,
takes place in a town hall setting
and usually lasts three to five
days to train the nearly 400 operators. It consists of going over
techniques to deal with difficult
situations and the results speak
for themselves.
"To [the] point on the number
of customer concerns that have
gone down, we believe that's a
direct indicator of that training
we invested in," Forbes said.
Palm Tran isn't the only agency to implement de-escalation
training. PSTA also invested in
de-escalation training for nearly
400 bus operators following the
installation of the safety shields.
Miller explains PSTA saw this
training as a way to reduce altercations related to fare payments.
The training gives operators techniques on how not to escalate
concerns about fare payments or
how to read the temperature of a
situation so nothing bad happens.
"I think that has been very effective," Miller said. "I know our
employees like that."

By investing in
safety, agencies
invest in results

Investing in equipment and safety
training creates a safer work environment for bus operators and
a safer commute for passengers.
Transporting thousands of customers a day means there's thousands of interactions a day, some
of which may be difficult. By giving operators the necessary tools
to deal with these sometimes-difficult situations, agencies will
start to see clear improvements.
"Safety is in our DNA and
we're starting to really see the results of that," Forbes concluded.

Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook: What's the Secret to Quality Leadership?
People & Places
NRC Chairman's Column
SporTran's Bold Vision for Northwest Louisiana Transit
2020 Mobility Outlook
Investing in a Peace of Mind
Combatting Distracted Communities to Boost Rail Safety
Modernizing the Message
Social Hubs
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook: What's the Secret to Quality Leadership?
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - NRC Chairman's Column
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - SporTran's Bold Vision for Northwest Louisiana Transit
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - 16
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - 2020 Mobility Outlook
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Investing in a Peace of Mind
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - Combatting Distracted Communities to Boost Rail Safety
Mass Transit - 29
Mass Transit - 30
Mass Transit - 31
Mass Transit - Modernizing the Message
Mass Transit - 33
Mass Transit - 34
Mass Transit - 35
Mass Transit - Products
Mass Transit - 37
Mass Transit - Social Hubs
Mass Transit - 39
Mass Transit - 40