Big things have been happening over the past year at Metro Mobility, and this week the service which provides rides for people with disabilities got a big honor. The Minnesota Public Transit Association (MPTA) named it as its Transit System of the Year.
The MPTA gives the award to a transit system that has "demonstrated achievement in efficient and effectiveness," which really means how well an agency has met goals in the areas of ridership, costs, safety and how well it's met goals and objectives.
Over the past four years, ridership has jumped 24 percent from 1.49 million rides in 2010 to more than 1.85 million on 2013. Ridership for 2014 is projected to rise another 8 percent to nearly 2 million, according to the Metropolitan Council.
This year, Metro Mobility instituted a new $1 downtown fare, changed its "no show" policy and adopted schedules that now show riders the maximum amount of time riders can expect to stay on the bus. You can read more about that here.
New computers were installed on buses to give drivers, customers and dispatchers real-time schedule information and it began testing a new automated phone system, which will allow customers to schedule and amend trips 24 hours and get calls when their ride is within 10 minutes of their stop.
More changes are in store for 2015. The service currently contracts with five providers, but would like to reduce that number to three. Transfer rides would be eliminated. The agency also is looking to implement an electronic-fare system similar to the “Go To” system used on regular-route Metro Transit buses
“We measure operational success in terms of rides and on-time performance, but our mission is really far greater than that,” said Metro Mobility Senior Manager Andrew Krueger. “Metro Mobility service provides freedom, mobility, and independence so customers remain active and engaged in their communities."
To that end, Metro Mobility is seeking feedback on the changes it has made and is looking to make. It held meetings this week in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here are upcoming meetings:
Thursday: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oxboro Library, 8801 Portland Avenue S.
Sept. 16: 5:30-6:30 p.m., Westcott Library, 1340 Westcott Road.
Sept. 22: 5:30-6:30 p.m., Rum River Library, Rooms A and B, 4201 6th Avenue.
Sept. 23: 12:30-1:30 p.m., Community Center, Rotary Room, 1255 S. Fuller Street.
West St. Paul
Sept. 24: 5:30-6:30 p.m., Wentworth Library, 199 Wentworth Avenue E.