MATAPLUS and STAC WORKSHOP REPORT August 25, 2016
By Bobbie Fields
MATAplus and the Specialized Transportation Advisory Committee met to discuss some of the changes we both would like to see at MATA. STAC members in attendance included, Allison Donald, Rexcey Bowers, June Mangum, Christina Clift, Savannah Morris and Bobbie Fields. MATA representatives were Ms. Glenda Wade, LaBarbara Houston and Mr. Steven Fields.
The topic of discussion centered on the daily operations of MATA and the buses. Ms. LaBarbara talk about the signing of the ADA, what paratransit is; the dispatcher’s duty, making reservations, applying for MATAplus, no shows, the driver’s duty and the appeal process.
The workshop didn’t focus on any of the management responsibilities or the policies and procedures. All of the material covered in the workshop could be found in the Riders Guide. I was expecting more about the ADA regulations and how they are implementing them into the day to day operation of MATA.
Ms. LaBarbara supplied DATA from July, to give us an idea of how many people they serve daily and their performance. At the moment there are 7,877 rider’s registered, they made 18,048 trips for the month at a distance of 8.12 miles per trip. The average trip only lasted 32 minutes per person. They were able to transport 1.6 passenger per hour. They also claim to be at a 90 per cent on time performance rate.
Mr. Fields provided one of the new buses for our inspection. I agree that they are roomier and quieter than the other buses but it concerns me about how low they are to the ground. This may cause the buses to scrub the street and speed bumps in some places. The driver may not be able to take the bus on certain parking lots and driveways. There is a problem with the ramps deployment and storing system as well.
MATA has promised to hold more workshop like this one in the hope of becoming more transparent. I hope the next one will be more about the policies and procedures, funding, equipment and maintenance.