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LANTA ADA Compliance Review - December 30, 2011

Location: Allentown, PA
Date of Final Report: December 30, 2011     

Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) Transmittal Letter 

April 3, 2012
Re: ADA Complimentary Paratransit Service Compliance Review Final Report

Dear Mr. Meyers:

Thank you for your responses to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) findings during the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Complementary Paratransit Service Compliance Review conducted at Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) from April27-30, 2009. FTA would like to thank you and your staff for the cooperation provided during the review. At that time, you were informed that FT A would issue a draft report of the findings, on which LANT A would have an opportunity to provide comment, and a final report would then be released. Your comments to the Draft Report have been incorporated into the Final Report and a copy so marked is enclosed for your records. As of the date of this letter, the Final Report became a public document and is subject to dissemination under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974.

FT A recognizes that it has been over two years since our onsite review and that changes have likely occurred in LANTA's paratransit program. We appreciate the efforts that LANTA has already taken to correct the deficiencies identified. We also value the ongoing cooperation and assistance that you and your staff have provided during this review.

Contained within this letter is a summary of the remaining open findings of noncompliance made in the report. In order to expeditiously close-out your review and release LANTA from the corrective action phase, please inform FT A within 30 days of the corrective actions LANTA will undertake in response to the findings. When providing proposed corrective actions, include the planned and actual completion date of the corrective action, the current status and the contact person for each corrective action, and all supporting documentation.

Open Findings:

4.1 ADA Complementary Paratransit Service Criteria and Complaint Handling Process

4. LANTA provides Metro Plus service on Sunday during the same hours of service as its fixed route. With regard to Metro Plus service on Sunday, there is a discrepancy between the Customer Ride Guide and LANTA's website. Metro Plus does not provide service prior to 7 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, although many fixed routes began operating between 5:15 and 6 a.m. This discrepancy in weekday service hours does not meet the requirement under §37.131(e) for hours and days of service. [1]

4.2 ADA Complementary Paratransit Eligibility

8. The Metro Plus Customer Ride Guide indicates that LANTA makes a determination of conditional or unconditional eligibility. At the time of the site visit, LANT A granted conditional eligibility, but did not impose conditions on individual trip requests. The Metro Plus rider database in use at the time of the site visit did not include sufficient information on each rider's functional abilities for a call-taker or scheduler to determine if a rider could use fixed route service for a given trip, should LANTA choose to impose conditions in the future. [2]

14. LANTA automatically enrolls any applicant who is 65 or older in the Shared Ride Program, and shifts persons with ADA eligibility to this program when they reach age 65; this does not conform to the process requirements of§ 37.125. Billing a ride to another program is acceptable if the service is identical to that provided under Metro Plus complementary paratransit, but a person's ADA eligibility must be established and preserved regardless of age, and the process must be fully in conformance with the ADA regulations in all respects regardless of the person's age or eligibility for other programs. [3]

23. For FY 2008 and FY 2009 through March 2009, Metro Plus recorded a no-show rate of 6.3 to 6.5 percent of the total trips requested. In addition, about 21.7 to 22.0 percent of trips were recorded as cancellations. LANTA does not differentiate or define or include late cancellations in its calculations.[4]

4.3 Trip Reservations and Scheduling

1. LANTA recorded seven trip denials for the 10-month period prior to the review. LANT A could not determine whether these denials were for trips requested by ADA or non-ADA passengers. [5]

4.5 Service Performance

2. The travel time standard for Metro Plus is twice the amount of time that an equivalent trip would take on the LANTA fixed route system, including transfer time. There is no standard for the maximum overall trip time or the percentage of trips that may exceed such a maximum time. The LANT A travel time policy is inconsistent with the requirement that ADA complementary paratransit service be comparable to fixed route service, 49 CFR § 37.121, and the long trip times constitute a capacity constraint. [6]

8. LANTA's on-time performance for pickups was 68 percent for ADA trips in March 2009 and 65.6 percent for January to March 2009. This falls substantially short of LANTA's on-time pickup performance standard of 90 percent. Late pickups comprised 22.8 percent of all pickups. This level of performance is an "operational pattern or practice that significant! y limits the availability of service to ADA para transit eligible persons ... " which is inconsistent with 49 CFR § 37.131(f)(3)[7]

9. Based on LANTA's standard for on-time drop-offs, on-time performance for ADA trips during January to March 2009 was 72.5 percent, i.e., 27.5 percent of trips were later than the rider's requested appointment time. This level of performance is an "operational pattern or practice that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons ... " and is inconsistent with§ 37.131(f)(3).[8]

10. LANTA stated that use of the "raw" data from Trans View underestimates the actual on-time performance for Metro Plus pickups. Based on LANTA's analysis, the review team adjusted the on-time performance of pickups for ADA trips for January to March 2009 by 3.9 percent, to 69.5 percent. This adjusted on time performance for pickups is still well below LANTA's standard of90 percent. In addition, this level of performance is an "operational pattern or practice that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons ... " and is inconsistent with§ 37.131(f)(3)(i)(A).[9]

II. Based on an additional analysis of 30 long trips, 57 percent had travel times that were in excess of fixed route travel times for the same origin/destination pairs. Based on this analysis, it appears that LANTA has a significant number of trips with ride times in excess of comparable fixed route travel times.[10]

Please provide your response within 30 days of this letter. Should you have any questions about the enclosed report or this letter, please contact Mr. Aaron Meyers, at (202) 366- 3055 or via e-mail at aaron.meyers@dot.gov.

Sincerely,

John R. Day
ADA Team Leader
FTA Office of Civil Rights

Enclosure
cc: Linda Ford, Acting Director, FTA Office of Civil Rights
Brigid Hynes-Cherin, Acting Regional Administrator, FTA Region 3
Monica McCallum, Regional Operations Division Chief
David Chia, Planners Collaborative


[1] LANTA's 12/911 I submission corrected the discrepancy in the Customer Ride Guide, however the public information available on LANTA's website still incorrectly states LANtaVan provides service on Sundays from "9 a.m. to 7 p.m." See "http://www.lantabus.com/lantaplus.html"
[2] Please respond to whether LANTA's database is designed to capture this information.
[3] LANTA's 12/9/11 submission only showed the record of a customer whose billing code was changed. The screen shot provided did not indicate whether the rider has retained ADA eligibility. Please provide a screenshot supporting the assertion contained within your submission.
[4] LANTA must revise its No Show/Late Cancellation policy. While LANTA does not include Late Cancellations in the determination of whether or not a rider is to be subject to suspension for excessive No Shows, as a matter of policy, a customer cannot be considered a late cancellation unless the customer cancels a ride less than two hours prior to the scheduled time. Additionally, a person can only be considered a No Show if they do not actually take the ride.
[5] LANTA must differentiate between ADA and non-ADA passengers.
[6]  LANTA's 12/9/11 response "proposed a monthly sample of 50 ADA trips as a way to report to LANta on our compliance with this standard." Please provide your proposed monthly sample for the most recent month available.
[7] LANTA's 12/9/11 provided "on-time performance reporting through October 31, 20 ll." LANTA's cover letter disputed this performance finding based on "raw data," however LANTA did not provide its revised methodology in addition to its performance report. Please provide your methodology in your next submission.
[8] See footnote #7 (above)
[9] See footnote #7 (above)
[10] See footnote #7 (above)

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