[Nfbmo] City Utilities response to City Council's inquiry.

Magoon Erin magoone at gary-springfield-mo.net
Sat Feb 23 05:30:18 UTC 2013

Here is a copy of the email that the general manager of City Utilities
secretary forwarded to me.  I have included in the body of this email
the two attachments he refers to, I have also attached them for

I know for a fact they lied twice, and suspect other lies.  The lies I
know they told are; they never once apologized to me for leaving me at
the mall.  Also, the changes to the routes and the addition of the new
route have not improved on time.  The delays got better for about three
days and now they are back to how they were before the route changes, if
not worse.  In addition, I, and none of my friends, ever saw or heard
about the cards or the people on the buses or at the downtown transfer
station.  Gary for one rode the routes the day they were introduced and
nobody offered him assistance of any kind.

First the general manager's email, then my letter to the Concilman and
finally City Utilities response:

Subject: FW: Response to Passenger Comments to City Council

Mr. Mayor & Burris:

At your Feb. 11 City Council Meeting, there were two CU transit
customers/passengers who had issues with how we communicated our recent
route changes and service issues experienced using our Access Express. 
In addition, Councilman Seifried asked for a CU response to how we
communicated our route changes.  Attached are two items:

-  the original complaint sent to us via the City

-  a document describing the process we used for changing the routes (as
a side note, the route changes have been successful in improving our
rider on-time delivery), how we reacted to our mistake with missing our
pick up of Ms. Magoon, and some background regarding our Access Express

It is our intent to provide the best transit services we can given our
financial constraints.  I am sorry that you had to deal with these items
because we did not deliver the level of customer service expected by a
couple of our passengers.  That said, we will learn from these items and
continue to strive to provide great customer service.

Scott A. Miller

My Letter:

to Councilman Jerry Compton
regarding bus services.
Date: January 11, 2013

Dear Councilman Compton:

My name is Erin Magoon. I am totally blind and have a Golden Retriever
service animal. I am writing you to express my deep concern about issues
that have arisen at the City Utilities Transit Department since the new
director took over.

There have been several changes made to the bus schedules, times and
routes. There have been no public hearings on the matter. I have been
informed public hearings are not necessary unless more than twenty-five
percent of the overall routes are being changed. Even so, since a
majority of the changes impact disabled people along the routes, I find
this disconcerting.

Changes to several routes and the addition of one new route, went into
effect on Monday, January 7, 2013 and there are no Braille, audio or
otherwise accessible maps or time schedules available for these changes
to those of us who are blind orvisually impaired.

These changes have affected other members of the disability community
and our concerns are appearing to fall on deaf ears. I have called the
director several times and she has not returned my phone calls.

I ride Access Express in addition to the fixed route and on Sunday,
January 6, 2013, I was not picked up. I followed the protocol of what
you do when Access is late. My scheduled pick up was for 6:20 pm, which
means they can arrive between 6:00 pm and 6:40 pm. I called the phone
number at Access at 6:45, five minutes after the twenty minute window
and left a message.  I was finally called back thirty-five minutes later
by a supervisor who informed me he could not raise the driver and that
driver had missed two other pick-ups as well. I was taken home,
eventually, but I had to use the fixed route buses, which is extremely
difficult for me right now, due to a recent knee surgery. If you
remember it was extremely cold that night and I was outside waitThe next day, Monday, I called to talk to the woman who used to be the
representative for passengers with disabilities. She told me that was no
longer her position and directed me to call Sheila Schmidt the new
Director. I did so on both Monday and Thursday of this week, left
messages and have not been contacted by her nor a member of her staff. I
am still not aware of what happened that night, if I should have taken
other actions or what the future protocol should be to prevent me from
waiting in the cold for all that time.

I am again extremely concerned by the apparent lack of concern and
communication between the director, her staff and the bus riding
community especially those of us with disabilities.

Several friends and acquaintances as well as I, are attending the City
Utilities Board of Public Utilities board meeting on January 31, at 3:00
pm to raise our concerns about this matter. We intend to come to the
city council meeting on Monday February 11th to raise our concerns with
the Council as well.

I am hearing a lot of rumors and gossip about potential changes in the
transportation system that is causing me great distress. It has always
been my philosophy to go straight to the source when rumors come up. I
cannot seem to get any answers about the bus changes from the new
director or her staff so I am left to speculate which I do not like
doing. Perhaps you have a suggestion on how I can get clear, direct
communication in this matter.

thank you very much for your time and attention to this issue. I look
forward to hearing from you soon.


Erin MagoonCity Utilities Response:

Item #1 - Summary of Bus Route Change Process


Beginning in October, 2012, City Utilities determined that action was
needed to improve the on-time performance of several bus routes that
consistently ran behind schedule.  Of primary concern were Lines #5 – S.
Glenstone, #7 – S. Campbell, and #9 – S. Fort, as well as the
combination routes of #1 and #2 –  Kansas and Dale.  The solution to
best address the performance concern was to add an additional route at
the far south end of each of the first three of these routes to connect
them and take over some of the loops that caused the routes to run
behind.  To free up resources for this shuttle, we reviewed other routes
for efficiencies.  Changes to coverage were minimal; however, there have
been schedule changes in order to address the on-time performance


Transit Management held several discussions with drivers and formed a
driver sub-committee in November to review and make revisions.  Once
recommendations were established, the Fixed Route Advisory Committee met
on December 11, 2012, to review those recommendations.  The committee is
a 16-member group of passengers, representatives of the disabled
community, and a current bus driver.  (Note – Mr. Gary Horchem is a
member of that committee.)  Revisions to the routes were made at the
request of several committee members.


Having received approval from this committee, Transit took the following
actions to notify its passengers of the upcoming changes:


Posted an overall system map with a narrative summary of changes at the
Bus Transfer Station and the Boonville Transit Lobby 
Distributed this map to passengers on buses 
Placed this map on Transit website as a notice of schedule change 
Placed notices on all bus stop signs, benches, and shelters that were
impacted by a change 
Placed individual route map cards and schedules at the Bus Transfer
Placed these route map cards and schedules on the appropriate buses 
Posted individual route map cards and schedules on the Transit website 
Began the new South route one week in advance to develop time points and
refine the process – this route is free through February as we continue
to refine 
Transit Staff and Director rode the bus routes with upcoming changes to
talk with passengers 
Launched the routes on January 7, 2013, with drivers paying additional
attention tOn January 7, posted Transit staff at the Bus Transfer Station and on
routes to answer passenger questions 
Refined time points for final publication of folded system map 
Developed large print turn-by-turn directions to be sent for Braille
translation.  These were completed in January. 

Lessons learned:


Our manual system of information makes it difficult to make route
changes.  If future changes impacting several routes are recommended
prior to implementation of software, we will allow more time for
creation of documents prior to implementing the change. 


Regardless of whether required, we will conduct a public hearing prior
to any future changes impacting several routes.

Item #2 – Response to Missed Access Express Pickup


Passenger Erin Magoon's complaint is in regards to a missed Access
Express pickup.  We dropped the ball on this one.  She is correct about
our Access Express driver not arriving for her scheduled pickup at the
mall on Sunday, January 6.  The system we use for tracking reservations
inadvertently left the last two pickups off the driver manifest.  Upon
receiving Ms. Magoon's message and realizing the problem, the supervisor
on call requested that the fixed route driver in the area detour from
her route to pick Ms. Magoon up at the mall.  He then arranged with a
second fixed route driver to detour from his route and take Ms. Magoon
directly to her home.  He called Ms. Magoon to inform her of the
arrangements and apologized for the error.  Both drivers did as
requested to ensure that Ms. Magoon arrived home safely.   Good customer
service is our goal and we realize our error resulted in a significant
inconvenience for Ms. Magoon. 


Item #3 – Difficulty Getting Access Express Reservations


The Access Express system is a reservation-based system that provides
curb to curb service for passengers who, due to a disability, are unable
to use the regular fixed route system.  Five specially equipped buses
are available and used for this service. City Utilities makes available
40 hours of service, per day, for the transportation of these
passengers.  The service, provided for $2.50 per ride, has gained in
ridership over the years.  Comparing October 2011 to October 2012 rides
provided for the month increased by 31%.  Similar, but more modest,
gains occurred in November, resulting in a year to year increase of 17%.


As usage has increased, resources have remained constant.  Every effort
is made to accommodate the passengers’ needs with the resources
Erin Maggoon and Spencer, the adorable, amazing and wonderful Seeing Eye
Golden Guide Puppy!
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