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MVRTA ADA Compliance - December 26, 2006

Location: Haverhill, MA
Date of Final Report: December 26, 2006

Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority Transmittal Letter 

December 26, 2006

Mr. Joseph J. Costanzo
Administrator
Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority
85 Railroad Avenue
Haverhill, MA 01835

Dear Mr. Costanzo:

Thank you for your response to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) letter and preliminary report of findings of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) complementary paratransit compliance review conducted at the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) from March 15 to 18, 2005.  Enclosed is the Final Report that incorporates MVRTA’s official response by attachment.  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.  It will also be made available on FTA’s ADA website here.

Enclosed with this letter is a progress table listing FTA’s understanding of the corrective actions either planned or taken by MVRTA in response to the preliminary findings contained in the draft report.  If you feel that our summarization of corrective actions is inconsistent with your response, please inform us in writing as soon as possible.

Following most of the areas where findings were made, we have:

  • Identified responses that adequately address the finding
  • Requested documentation of results and outcomes
  • Requested MVRTA to clarify specific corrective actions based on MVRTA’s response to the report findings

Please use the enclosed table as the format to report progress to FTA on the corrective actions MVRTA have completed or intend to implement as a result of our findings.  Please identify each response by item number (e.g., A.1, etc.).  The requested documentation, along with updates on the status of implementation of proposed corrective actions, should be provided in quarterly reports to FTA.  Each report should include the planned and actual completion date of the corrective action; the current status and contact person information for each corrective action; and specific reporting requests cited in this letter and on the enclosed table.  The first report will be due on April 16, 2007, and should include data for the months of January through March 2007 and identify any actions completed prior to that date that have not already been addressed.  Additional reports will be due by July 15, 2007, October 15, 2007, January 15, 2008, and each calendar quarter thereafter until FTA releases MVRTA from this reporting requirement.

We recognize the progress that you have made in responding to the findings of the review as presented in your November 7, 2006 letter.  In addition to these efforts, we request that your first progress report more fully respond to the following findings, which are also addressed in the progress table.

B.  ADA Complementary Paratransit Eligibility

4.  Finding:  As of the time of the review team’s site visit, MVRTA was not enforcing conditional eligibility and was providing trips to riders with conditional eligibility as if they had full ADA complementary paratransit service eligibility.

Corrective Action Proposed by MVRTA:  None.

Clarification of Corrective Action:  Please discuss whether MVRTA is considering implementing conditional eligibility for its ADA complementary paratransit service.

E.  Operations

3.  Finding:  The review team did not observe any practice by EZ Trans dispatchers that limited or denied service to its riders.  One limitation in the existing design of the technology, however, was the lack of connection between the mobile data terminals (MDTs) and the ADEPT software used by the dispatcher.  Dispatchers must manually transfer information from one system to the other.

Corrective Actions Proposed by MVRTA:  None.

Clarification of Corrective Action:  Please discuss whether MVRTA has considered providing a direct connection between the MDT software and the ADEPT software.

E.1  On-Time Performance

3.  Finding:  While on-time performance appears to be very good, data collection and performance monitoring among the three service providers vary.  Assist Medical does not record actual pickup and drop-off information for trips assigned to non-MVRTA vehicles.  Andover Livery records only drop-off times and not pickup times.  Also, Assist Medical does not record appointment times.

Corrective Actions Proposed by MVRTA:  Assist [Medical] has begun to submit a separate monthly report which includes passenger name, origin, destination, scheduled pickup time, and/or scheduled drop-off time, actual pickup time, and actual drop-off time for all trips in order to monitor on-time performance.

Clarification of Corrective Action:  Please provide data for on-time performance for trips provided by Assist Medical for the most recent six months.

4.   Finding: While on-time arrival performance appears very good, MVRTA does not regularly monitor drop-off times for trips that have appointment times.

Corrective Actions Proposed by MVRTA:  The MVRTA has established a standard of 95% for on-time drop-offs.  Since Stratagen (ADEPT) software presently measures on-time performance using the pickup window, we are working with the provider to see if a report can be customized so that on-time drop-offs can be measured with the software.  In the meantime, although it is a lengthy process, on-time drop-offs can be measured by going through each driver manifest.

Additional Reporting:  Is MVRTA currently sampling its driver manifests to compute on-time performance for drop-offs?  Please provide data for on-time drop-off performance for the most recent six months.

E.2  Trip Length

6.   Finding:  Trip duration for Andover Livery could not be analyzed because the carrier does not record pickup times.

Corrective Actions Proposed by MVRTA:  Andover Livery records both pickup and drop-off times onto a “Scheduled trips by day” report, which allows periodic review of travel time performance.”

Additional Reporting:  Please provide information on travel time performance for trips provided by Andover Livery for the most recent six months.

We recognize the efforts that MVRTA has already taken to correct the deficiencies identified in the draft report and anticipate your continued endeavors to take further corrective actions as noted in this letter.  We appreciate the cooperation and assistance that you and your staff have provided us during this review.  If you have any questions about this matter, please contact me or Mr. David Knight, ADA Team Leader, at (202) 366‑0805 or at his electronic mail address: david.knight@dot.gov.

It would also be very helpful to us if you would provide a copy of all correspondence to this office to the FTA Region I Civil Rights Officer at the following address:

Ms. Margaret Griffin
Civil Rights Officer, Region I
Federal Transit Administration       
55 Broadway, Suite 920
Cambridge, MA 02142

                                                                                           
Sincerely,

Michael A. Winter
Director, Office of Civil Rights

Enclosure

cc:   Richard Doyle, FTA Region I Administrator
Margaret Griffin, FTA Region I Civil Rights Officer
David Knight, FTA ADA Team Leader

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