Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Busing of Disabled Bumpy; JTA Better but Short of Its Goals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Busing of Disabled Bumpy; JTA Better but Short of Its Goals

Article excerpt

Byline: David Johnson, Staff writer

Costs are down for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Connexion service, but the on-time performance for the service for the disabled, elderly and poor has dropped.

That's what a JTA official had to say at a transportation committee meeting of the city's Council On Elder Affairs Oct. 7 at the Singleton Senior Center in Springfield.

"The focus is again improving efficiency, but we also need to improve on-time performance," said Danny Ours, deputy director of mass transit at JTA. "It's still a two-fold focus."

Ours presented information at the meeting showing on-time performance had fallen to 79 percent in September, after reaching a high of 84 percent in July.

The graph showed that, overall, the JTA had improved service since taking control of the program last year, but had failed to reach its goal.

"We hoped on-time performance would be at 90 percent around this time this year," Ours said.

The decreases in August and September were the result of two independent causes, he said: in August, the number of active vehicles dropped from 104 to 98. The JTA increased the number back to 104 in September, but employee turnover caused the on-time percentage to continue to fall. In addition, the Federal Transit Administration stopped the JTA from automatically canceling return trips for passengers who failed to show up for their initial trips, Ours said.

In 2000, a community-based task force labeled the city's transportation for the disabled and elderly "a disgrace to our city" and an "inefficient and dangerous system." JTA took over as coordinator of the program in March 2001.

According to the data, on-time performance was about 65 percent in September 2001, the last month ATC-Intelitran ran day-to-day operations. MV Transportation took charge of operations for the JTA in October 2001.

To improve on-time performance, the JTA will send letters of warning to passengers who fail to show up and suspend repeat offenders, Ours said. …

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