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CAT Mobility trips experiencing delays with departure of Yellow Cab Contractor
Posted on June 27, 2018
All trips being handled in-house
Savannah, GA—The Chatham Area Transit Authority is experiencing temporary delays and a higher demand than usual for CAT Mobility transit services due to the departure of its contractor, Yellow Cab last month.
Officials were notified late afternoon on May 17, 2018 of the decision by Yellow Cab and have been handling all customer trips in-house for the CAT Mobility program (formerly known as Teleride) with the extra assistance of operators, supervisors, and other support personnel as well as other area transit providers.
CAT mobility services are for people with disabilities who are determined eligible for the transit program and may not be able to ride CAT’s larger fixed-route buses. If CAT mobility customers are able to ride the larger buses and board at the system’s various bus stops, they are encouraged to do so during this transitional period since the transit network offers more choices, better frequency on major routes, and a cheaper fare.
On a typical weekday, within the CAT Mobility department between 200 and 250 people call for reservations for trips to medical appointments, grocery stores, shopping centers and other locations.
CAT used its contract with Yellow Cab for what it considered “overflow” when the agency did not have enough vehicles or personnel available to handle all requested reservations.
“The unexpected exit of Yellow Cab put us and the customers who rely on the service in a very unfortunate situation and we are doing our best to handle the higher demand,” Chief Executive Officer Curtis Koleber said. “We are continuing to work on both short-term and long-term solutions and I ask our customers and the community to please work with us as we work through this setback.”
Officials ask customers to make sure the CAT Mobility staff has their updated contact information such as a current address, telephone number(s), etc. This is important because when a driver does not see a customer at the designated pickup location, the driver will attempt to call the customer before leaving for the next scheduled customer. Staff indicated valuable time is lost when drivers must circle parking lots or narrow streets searching for customers, who might be waiting at a different entrance than the one provided to the reservationist when the trip was booked.
In addition, at least two days advance notice is requested if a trip must be cancelled. If this is not possible due to a last minute change, customers are encouraged to call as soon as possible so the extra seat may be assigned to another person needing a ride.
Actions taken by staff to handle the higher-demand in requests includes the following:
Human Resources and Vehicles
- Contracted with temporary drivers and obtained additional vehicles
- Requested several CAT operators and supervisors work extra hours to assist
- Obtained assistance from other transit providers in the area: Coastal Regional Commission & Transition Commute Solutions
Call Center Operations
- Added temporary staff for the increased volume of calls to minimize hold times
- Designated a key staff person for questions regarding ETAs and another person to respond to questions about fixed-route buses
- Added another reservationist to speed up the reservation process
- Increased phone update messages
- Created and distributed informational customer flyers
Enhanced Communication tools in vehicles
- Received 11 portable radios for vehicles that did not have them
- Ordered additional portable radios
- Making plans to place tablets in vehicles for GPS tracking and schedule updates
A new fleet of paratransit vans for this program arrives within the next 60 days and the agency is continuing to hire and train more CAT Mobility operators. A class of 11 people began training today.
“We are committed to do our very best to ensure all booked trips are completed and appreciate the extra hours so many of our employees are working as we deal with the abrupt departure of Yellow Cab. Because of the work of our team, each day our on-time performance gets a little better, but we are experiencing delays and do have an action plan that is attainable,” Chief Operations Officer Michael Brown said.