- Author: Jerom Theunissen
- Date: December 17, 2019
A new report by the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago lays out 32 recommendations for improving public transportation for the…
Introduction by Judy Shanley, PhD, Easterseals Asst. VP, Education & Youth Transition and Co-Director, National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM)
As an NCMM Co-director and a technical assistance provider, I am privileged to be able to meet and roll-up my sleeves with innovative and creative mobility managers. This is the case with Patrick. I learned about Patrick’s work to share vehicles with other agencies when there was a need – to identify gaps in service for riders and develop innovative solutions that involved lending his vehicles to other agencies. Riders were able to access health care appointments and sustain employment because of Patrick’s flexibility and his “filling the transportation gap” solutions. I asked him to describe the impetus for his vehicle sharing program, and he responded with the following.
Article by Patrick Cipres, Havasu Mobility Supervisor, Lake Havasu City Operations-Transit
Before I begin, I would like to briefly touch on my background. I have been in my role as a mobility supervisor for a small urban municipality for over two years. Prior to this I was fortunate to have held senior leadership roles in the commercial and automotive fields. I have observed over the years the most successful individuals I have had the opportunity to work with had attributes in communication, collaboration and customer service. I quickly learned that if I wanted to change processes, policies and exceed expectations, I would need to proactively move forward and facilitate those changes.
Communications skills are key
Had communication been lacking on my part, I would not have been very successful in my coordination efforts for mobility. Early on, I formulated an action plan to set realistic goals for our agency and to provide measurable results. For the action plan I researched what worked and what did not. Overall, the department was well grounded with experienced employees and a mix of older and newer equipment. My first goal, and most important, was to go out and introduce myself to the partner agencies in the community that also provided transportation to the same rider types that we were currently servicing. These were a mix of FTA 5310 and privately funded organizations. This action was well received by all the agency personnel I met with, some I would not meet again until a later date. Because of my continued attendance in federal and state trainings and transit related conferences we would eventually meet again and share ideas and best practices we had learned since we last met. My network of transit colleagues continued to grow from directors, managers, planners, and MPO’s all the way to drivers, dispatchers, counselors, grant writers and schedulers. My reach was not limited in my state of Arizona but to all over the country.
Asking for feedback
I quickly began reaching out to others for feedback or direction on an assignment I was working on. This feedback provided me information that would help me a make a comprehensive decision and then modify it to fit the need. After a short time, the coordination action seemed to be the most favorable decision to benefit all agencies involved. I found that we all need to have partners to help us succeed. Some may not ask for various reasons, but want to, others may ask but are not sure if they are asking the correct questions. I strongly feel we need to help each other succeed no matter what level we are in the industry. That is why coordination works. With federal, state and private fund opportunities frequently changing, we need to focus on how we will continue to provide our much-needed service, and coordination planning is often overlooked as a solution that is quite simple.
Image Credit: Ken Lund, Flickr, CC
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