THE PARATRANSIT TRIP
Paratransit provides shared-rides, door-to-door and transit feeder services for daily trips and non-emergency transport. In most cities, paratransit trips must be reserved one to two days in advance. Typically, reservations are made by telephone, although some cities provide web-based reservation systems. In most cities, same-day paratransit trips are unavailable. Passengers are assigned pickup times, typically with 30-minute windows; they must meet the vehicle within five minutes of arrival under penalty of marked as a “no-show”.
Trips are provided either door-to-door or to the nearest accessible transit service, depending on the user’s evaluation. The vehicle may pick up additional riders en-route for shared trips.
RISING COSTS & THE URGENT NEED FOR REFORM
Reforming paratransit systems’ policy, management and operational models is urgent and essential. The systems are interfacing with aging, often inaccessible transit infrastructure, sitting on the cusp of a sharp increase in the elderly population in cities across the United States and facing dramatically rising costs.
Growth in ridership on paratransit systems presents a major challenge to transportation agencies. Paratransit costs have increased in recent years due to growing enrollment and utilization. High vehicle costs, urban congestion, and long trip lengths also play a role in high trip costs, according to a report issued by The Citizens Budget Commission. The disproportionate impact of these cost increases puts paratransit providers in a difficult position. Transportation agencies are disincentivized from increasing the quality of paratransit service, which would induce greater demand for services, resulting in cost increases.
A REVOLUTIONIZING SOLUTION; PIKME
A major paratransit fleet operator company in the U.S with large insurance clients has been facing these and many more issues in efficiently running their fleets to provide quality services to their riders. PikMe, a groundbreaking fleet utilization, and management platform came up to help them take care of the problems and help them run their fleet much more efficiently while saving a considerable amount of operational costs. PikMe has implemented its revolutionizing technology to improve, streamline and automate the fleet operators’ daily operations including customer onboarding, ride bookings and reservations, dispatch and routing; all while effectively improving the overall rider experience, asset utilization and decreasing the effective running cost for the fleet operator.
“PikMe is the new way of moving,” – said Prabhat Kumar, Founder and CEO, PikMe “you can do so much more with the same employee footprint with critical process optimization and automation.”
SAME DAY RIDE RESERVATIONS ENABLED
The PikMe platform comes equipped with a powerful admin dashboard that provides a centralized view of the fleet and all its assets and an interactive user application that enables a convenient point of contact to the riders. This has enabled the said fleet operator to provide what has now been a long-desired service for the paratransit riders; same-day ride reservations. Riders are now able to book specialized, private and pool rides for the same day with the fleet operator which has drastically increased the convenience quotient for the riders and in-turn increased the overall active bookings/day for the fleet operator.
EFFICIENT VEHICLE DISPATCH AND AUTOMATED ROUTING
PikMe’s efficient system of vehicle type matching, dispatch, and automated routing has taken over the traditional telephonic or radio dispatch and highly inefficient manual routing by the dispatchers and the drivers. The automated system effectively matches the correct vehicle type to a request to maintain the highest efficiency and asset utilization, whereas the AI-powered automated routing provides the most efficient and quick routes to the vehicles to maintain the lowest latency rates. All of this combined makes for the most desirable ride experience for the user while effectively saving significant amounts of money for the fleet operator which, earlier, would have been wasted in excessive fuel consumption due to inefficient routes, ineffective asset utilization, and canceled rides due to high latency rates.
A BOOST IN TRIP PRODUCTIVITY
With the rapid increase in the overall productivity of all the systems and processes used by the fleet operator, one of the most impactful increases in productivity and efficiency has been seen on individual trips. PikMe has enabled the fleet operator to earn more out of each trip with its effortless and highly effective asset management. With an efficient scheduling system for the vehicles run by the fleet operator, PikMe has managed to effectively take out the utilization gaps in scheduling and has also increased the productivity of all the vehicles during will-call reservations with their customers where vehicles have to wait till the customer is ready to be dropped back.
BETTER FIRST/LAST MILE CONNECTIVITY
PikMe is constantly working on improving the first/last mile connectivity for customers and mobility service providers. A lot of paratransit users just want rides from their homes to the nearest public transit stop like bus stops and subways. after taking the public transportation they want rides from the public transit stop to their final destination. Providing these kinds of mobility services has always been a challenge for the fleet operators, PikMe is working on solutions to make this process streamlined and easier for the service providers and the customers.
A PHENOMENAL USER EXPERIENCE
PikMe’s interactive user app is also making things a lot more convenient for the fleet operator and their customers. The app enables users to make convenient ride reservations right on their smartphones without the hassle of getting on a telephonic conversation. The app also provides useful real-time information to the riders about their past, ongoing and upcoming rides that provides an exemplary user experience to the riders. In addition to this, the user app also provides the riders with useful in-app-notifications and messages, multi-language support, various convenient payment options and a robust customer feedback mechanism that makes up for the ultimate end-to-end user experience that PikMe provides.
SMALL TWEAKS CAN LEAD TO BIG SAVINGS
PikMe’s cutting edge technology and algorithms are well disguised under a truly simple-to-use system. The system has already started saving a considerable amount of revenue for the fleet operator by making adjustments and optimizing the critical processes that are most likely to be the cause of wasted revenue. The system effectively saves revenue by its highly efficient route optimization, assigning right vehicle types to ride requests for the highest asset utilization rates, reducing latency in ride allocation, decreasing rider and driver waiting times with real-time in-app notifications and messaging, streamlining automated processes and better reporting. Most of these optimizations are done by the highly efficient system automatically with minimum input requirements.
PIKME – FEWER DEPENDENCIES, HIGHER EFFICIENCY; URBAN MOBILITY REDEFINED
Paratransit has come a long way; still, there’s a constant change needed to improve the services and make it easily accessible to everyone. PikMe is proving to be a step in the right direction. Paratransit fleet operators have always tried to improve on many aspects of the service and the business which is now possible with PikMe. Implementing PikMe to run their business has helped the fleet operator to improve their efficiency while significantly reducing their dependencies on multiple systems like call centers and dispatchers. This has allowed the fleet operator to focus on improving their business and services rather than spending precious time and money trying to manage various fragmented processes that were used to run the service before.
PikMe has been able to successfully replace multiple systems the fleet operator was dependent on, with a truly efficient, robust and easy-to-manage automated system.
“In a short time, we’ve achieved a significant improvement in service provider and consumer satisfaction while boosting the efficiency and quality of mobility services,” said PikMe officials “we’re constantly improving our platform and adding more features for both, transit operators and consumers; there’s a long way to go and we’re very excited to see what we achieve next.”