GoDurham Innovates its Way Through Driver Shortage for ADA Paratransit – Increases Rider Satisfaction with Lower Costs

Anna Lam | November 4, 2021 | paratransit,News
GoDurham Innovates its Way Through Driver Shortage for ADA Paratransit – Increases Rider Satisfaction with Lower Costs

National Express Transit (NEXT) and UZURV – the Adaptive TNC – Recruit and Fully Onboard FTA Compliant Drivers in Just 50 Days

Durham, NC, Lisle, IL and Richmond, VA As with many other public transit agencies across the country, GoDurham Access, the ADA Paratransit service for the City of Durham, 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 provides on-demand, curb-to-curb or door-to-door paratransit service in cities and communities across the United States. Through investment in new technologies and a commitment to partnership with our clients, NEXT has a proven ability to manage and improve productivity and on-time performance in demand-responsive environments. Most importantly, NEXT has an intense commitment to safety throughout its operations and works to make sure all riders have a safe, consistent, and highly satisfactory experience.

In keeping with their promise of providing service excellence to its customers and passengers, 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 on July 19, 2021.

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 9th, 2021 – 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 a number of 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 are able to 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

“GoDurham Access is committed to a high level of service for our riders, and continually work with our partners to come up with innovative solutions to improve the rider experience,” said Brian Fahey, Transit Administrator at GoTriangle. “The partnership with NEXT and UZURV has been a tremendous win for Durham. It provides a flexible option for us and aligns with our goal of continuing to increase rider satisfaction.”

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.

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Founded in 2017, UZURV began providing safe, reliable and federally compliant on-demand paratransit for the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) in Richmond, VA. Since that time, UZURV has expanded its operational presence, and today, UZURV serves more than 20 transit agencies, healthcare providers, and non-profit organizations across twenty states. UZURV’s adaptive TNC service approach is designed to help communities lower the cost of paratransit service delivery while substantially improving the rider experience. UZURV ensures safety by delivering services that are federally and contractually compliant and that address the safety concerns and service needs of riders. The technology platform also enables real-time ride oversight by the company’s in-house operations team. As a result, the platform keeps trips on time and drivers and riders safe and supported. For more information on UZURV, visit: https://uzurv.com/.

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