The detrimental effects of a no show can significantly impact the bottom line of paratransit agencies. We’ve already discussed methods for reducing the incidence of no shows in this blog article. But there is, as well, a similar issue when it comes to late cancelations. The ADA has some tricky wording around when a late cancelation can be considered a no show. In this TCRP Synthesis entitled Practices in No-Show and Late Cancellation Policies for ADA Paratransit, the argument is made that:
“While transit agencies have in recent years also considered “late cancelations” to be an abuse of the system and have considered this in their suspension policies, the effects of a late cancelations should be operationally equivalent to a no-show in terms of the negative impact on the service.”
“Cancelations made several hours in advance of the scheduled pick-up time would still seem to allow the system’s dispatcher to use the open vehicle time to respond to same day operating issues.”
This statement made by the ADA during a compliance review of a paratransit agency suggests that the responsibility is placed on the agency to recuperate from a late cancelation quickly. Since it may not be considered a “no show” an agency may have no recourse to suspend or mete out disciplinary actions on the rider to prevent abuse.
What do you consider to be a late cancelation? The day before at 5pm or up to 2 hours before the scheduled trip? The ADA suggests that you be clear and fair about your policies with your riders. Their policy is to ensure that individuals are not cut off from vital ADA-complementary transportation or punished beyond a reasonable amount. You may need to justify how a late cancelation is “operationally equivalent to a no show.” And if you can’t, they may dispute the wording of your no show policy.
Having a notification system as well as paratransit software will both allow riders to cancel or confirm their scheduled trips, as well as provide dispatchers with the much-needed time to recuperate from the hole in their schedule. However, the more vital tool in a paratransit software system is the ability to automatically update and re-optimize routes in real time. Regardless of the time of cancelation, an automated scheduling and dispatching system will be able to react far quicker than if the same task were to be done manually.
Minimizing the effects of both no shows and late cancelations is a major benefit of paratransit software with automated scheduling and dispatching. When combined with a notification system, your agency can be far more reactive and far less vulnerable to unexpected events. Learn more about Ripple Notifications, the affordable cloud-based system for automated inbound and outbound communication system.
Watch the Ripple Video here.