Laketran updates no-show policy for Dial-a-Ride and ADA service

Because of recent changes by the Federal Transit Administration, Laketran is updating its no-show policy to comply with new federal regulations to better meet the needs of its customers.

On July 24, the Laketran Board of Trustees approved an updated, federally regulated no-show policy regarding Laketran’s Dial-a-Ride and Americans with Disabilities Act service.

Providing more than 260,000 annual trips, Dial-a-Ride is Laketran’s assisted, shared-ride public transportation that provides door-to-door service to any destination in Lake County and limited medical locations in Cuyahoga County.

Dial-a-Ride is primarily used by seniors and people with disabilities to access work, medical appointments, shopping and recreation. To use Dial-a-Ride, customers must schedule an advance reservation two to 10 days prior to their trip.

To comply with federal regulations, Laketran has a no-show policy to discourage customers from missing their reservations. A no-show occurs when a driver arrives at the pickup location and the customer does not take the originally scheduled trip or if a customer calls to cancel their trip less than two hours before the bus is scheduled to arrive, according to a Laketran news release. Customers who have multiple no-shows by repeatedly missing scheduled trips or failing to cancel trips in a timely manner may be suspended from the service for a period of time.

“With any service provided to the public, there are schedule changes and someone may forget to cancel a trip,” said Ben Capelle, Laketran’s deputy general manager. “The majority of the people we serve on Dial-a-Ride are senior citizens and people with disabilities, and being flexible is necessary. However, to maintain efficiency and customer service, we try to avoid no-shows as much as possible.”

Laketran’s revised no-show policy brings some leniency to passengers.

Major updates to the policy include:

• Return trips are not immediately canceled if someone doesn’t not take their original trip.

• Laketran can now only suspend service for up to 28 days for excessive no-shows.

• An appeals process has been put in place for customers to appeal a no-show or suspension.

Laketran has been proactive in curbing no-shows with recent technology upgrades, the release stated. To reduce no-shows, customers now receive an automated confirmation phone call the night before their trip and have an option to cancel their trip during the call.

In 2016, Laketran launched Request-a-Ride, an online reservation option for customers to manage the scheduling and canceling of their trips. Laketran also offers a 24-hour cancellation line, 440-350-1099, for customers to call and cancel their trips ahead of time.

Board President Brian Falkowski said reducing the number of no-shows has always been a one of the agency’s priorities.

“With fewer no-shows, we are able to operate more efficiently and continue to provide a high level of customer service. We understand situations happen that are beyond the rider’s control. This policy takes that into consideration and is reasonable for riders and for Laketran from an operational standpoint.”

The transit agency provides an average of 1,000 Dial-a-Ride trips per day. No-shows account for 2 percent to 3 percent of those trips.