“What a god-send 5M has been! Booking is a breeze, especially with access to more accurate location data. Scheduling is so much better – no more zigzagging routes. And word has gotten out about this and we actually have had some former drivers return to us now that the routes make sense. Our productivity and on time performance have both improved. And get this: one of our long time dispatchers couldn’t get over the dispatching tools and alerts that 5M provides. He told me the 5M was reading his mind, anticipating problems, automatically providing solutions and giving more accurate ETAs. And I can also tell you that the transition to 5M was flawless in part because of the phased approach used, but in large part due to the TSS trainers, who worked tirelessly to train my staff in record time. Additional kudos to the TSS staff who tuned the scheduling algorithms and helped set up the parameters to perfection. What a difference 5M has made!”
Global Paratransit, Inc
Global Paratransit, Inc. (GPI) is one of our newest 5M users, switching to 5M in January 2019. GPI serves the Access Services’ Southern region, which encompasses 378 square miles and most of southern Los Angeles County. The Southern region also extends into Orange County to Disneyland in Anaheim. GPI operates all functions out of its Gardena facility, with a fleet of over 250 vehicles and via taxi subcontractors, noting that its primary taxi subcontractor has co-located some of its dispatchers at Global’s operations facility. In FY 2018, Global served 1.09 million trips, 57% of which were served by taxi subcontractors. See also the article about GPI in our What’s New tab.
“The 5M system is phenomenal. I learned it in about an hour or two. With 5M, it’s all there at the click of a button. It helps us a lot with our hold time, and I can run a report on everything. One of my favorite reports is the GPS, so I can see exactly what the driver did. It will show you exactly what you need to know.”
“The 5M paratransit reservations, scheduling, and dispatching system used by two of our contractors has stabilized and improved performance over the past year. At a time when hiring drivers has been extremely challenging, 5M seamlessly integrates taxi subcontractors with employee drivers and gives dispatchers modern tools to be more efficient The two contractors using 5M provide more than 5,000 weekday passenger trips and in 2017 achieved an on-time performance of 91.7% in the challenging Los Angeles area.”
“There is a report on 5M that I’m able to run, where I can see the cancellations and standing-time orders. So let’s say that a client has been canceling for the last two weeks, I’m able to see how many times they’ve canceled and can call them to see if they went on vacation or if they want to permanently cancel, so we can use those resources where needed.”
SAN GABRIEL TRANSIT
San Gabriel Transit
San Gabriel Transit (SGT) serves the eastern region of the Access Services’ paratransit system and has been using 5M since 2007. At approximately 394 square miles and encompassing eastern Los Angeles County, the service area is the largest Access region by area. In 2016, SGT served over 915,000 trips, second most of any Access contractor. Fifty-three percent of these trips were served by taxi subcontractors.
SGT’s employee-operated fleet consists of over 200 agency- and contractor-owned vehicles. Through taxi subcontractors, SGT uses an additional 400 independent contractor resources—all certified to service ADA trips. SGT has a second, separate contract with Access Services to schedule and transport riders for eligibility trips throughout Los Angeles County, served mostly by dedicated vehicles operated separately from SGT’s ADA paratransit service.
Access Services (Access) is the designated agency in Los Angeles County for coordinating and providing ADA complementary paratransit services on behalf of 45 member municipalities and public transit agencies. Originally created in 1994 as a private, non-profit company, it is now a public agency.
Access Paratransit has the second largest ADA paratransit ridership in the US. Over four million ADA paratransit trips are served annually, with an average of between 11,000 and 12,000 passenger trips per weekday, over a vast service area of 1,325 square miles. Because the ADA paratransit area is so large, it has been divided up into six regions, four in the LA Basin. The service fleet consists of 848 dedicated vehicles plus approximately 1,300 “ADA-paratransit-certified” taxicabs operated in semi-dedicated and non-dedicated fashion.
Since 2007, California Transit, Inc. (CTI) has served Access Services’ west central region, an area totaling 119 square miles. The area includes downtown Los Angeles, several central Los Angeles neighborhoods, and neighborhoods and municipalities in the Westside. In 2016, CTI served over 502,000 trips, ranking fourth among the Access paratransit contractors. CTI’s taxi subcontractors served approximately 44 percent of these trips.
CTI’s operations and dispatch facility are located near downtown Los Angeles. Their fleet consists of 113 Access-owned vehicles and five vehicles owned by CTI. Like SGT, CTI uses multiple taxi contractors, collectively supplying 81 certified taxis.
While all of 5M’s capabilities and functions are used by two of its service provider contractors (SGT and CTI), Access Services uses 5M to consolidate reporting for all of its contractors. This involves collecting information from other software packages (Trapeze and ADEPT) and infusing the trip data into 5M’s battery of reports, which enable trend analyses for specified performance metrics for the system as a whole, as well as by provider, by vehicle, and by driver. Access Services picked TSS Paratransit for consolidated reporting because 5M’s battery of standard reports are vast, detailed, easily configurable, and provide the information Access Services’ staff needs.
Operations Monitoring Console
5M also provides Access Services with an operations monitoring console (OMC) for monitoring daily performance; for example, the OMC allows Access Services staff to view live statistics for on-time performance, numbers of completed and pending trips, cancellations and no-shows for the providers using 5M. With this information, Access Services’ staff does not have to wait until the next day for daily reports; instead, it can use the live information to work with providers to solve problems—in real time.
Shared Resources Reduce Hold Times
Serving adjacent regions, SGT and CTI operate a unified call center, where reservations, scheduling, and customers’ same-day issue functions are handled by a common staff using the 5M software. Although each contract hires their own CSRs, employees from one contract are available to assist the other contract when needed. With information supplied by 5M, managers move reservationists between lines for each region in order to reduce hold times.
No Pre-Scheduling Reduces Hold Times and Training Needs
Our 5M software allows SGT and CTI reservation agents to offer two pick-up times before or after the requested pick-up time, increasing the probability of the rider receiving a usable time. Trips are not inserted in a run at the time of booking, alleviating the need to pre-schedule the trip onto a specific run, minimizing call—and hold—times. Since reservation agents do not need to be routers, less expertise and training of reservation agents is required.
Address Verification Increases Service Productivity
5M includes several address verification features beyond the standard reservation procedure. SGT/CTI reservation agents use 5M’s on-screen map to confirm nearby cross streets with the customer and query pickup notes. Preferred Access pick-up locations and GIS coordinates are easily identified on the map, minimizing operational snafus and increasing productivity.
Lightning-Fast Scheduling Increases Staff and Service Productivity
The combined SGT/CTI scheduling function takes advantage of 5M’s unique batch scheduling algorithms. This process simultaneously schedules trips onto dedicated runs and full-day runs for taxi drivers and creates clusters in different timespans for taxi drivers who log in on the fly. The entire batch process takes less than one minute to schedule over 5,500 trips with very few trips left unscheduled or unassigned.
Mixed-Fleet Approach Reduces Unit Costs
Supported by 5M, both SGT and CTI use an efficient and cost-effective mixed-fleet approach. Our software simultaneously creates runs for employee drivers, taxi drivers who request runs in advance, and taxi drivers who log into the system on the fly.
Trip Exchanges between Providers Increases Productivity
5M’s joint scheduling function enables SGT to use CTI vehicles (and vice versa) to improve efficiency of the combined fleets. SGT and CTI’s respective sets of dispatchers employ this trip exchange strategy in real time, resulting in reduced deadhead miles, increased productivity, and reduced costs.
Superior Dispatch Capabilities Allow a Higher Vehicle-to-Dispatcher Ratio, Decreasing Labor Costs
With 5M, SGT and CTI dispatchers identify absent or late drivers and reassign their first trips to other van runs or to taxis. Dispatchers do not have to monitor the driver roster; the system proactively alerts dispatchers if a driver has not logged in on time, has not pulled out of the yard on time, or if an employee driver has not returned to the yard by the expected time. Our software alerts dispatchers to where their attention is needed and suggests runs to fit unassigned trips, allowing dispatcher-to-vehicle ratios that exceed the normal range.