New STL automated call service eases burden for adapted transit users
Laval’s public transit agency, the Société de Transport de Laval, has launched an automated phone call system which appears already to be improving the lives of handicapped persons who use adapted transportation services in Laval.
The new paratransit services’ automated calls system is believed to be the first of its kind in Quebec. The centralized system of information management is said to reduce waiting time for adapted transportation users.
During a press conference held at the STL headquarters and garage on Feb. 5, Aline Locas, the mother of a paratransit user, said the system has proven itself worthwhile beyond a doubt and has greatly helped her son who is autistic.
“Since December, we’ve been enjoying the new system that confirms that transportation is reserved and on its way,” she told a gathering of officials from the STL, the City of Laval and from the Quebec government. “My son is less anxious in the morning, knowing he hasn’t been forgotten,” she added. “He is relieved and so am I. His waiting time is shorter as he waits for the call to start putting on his coat and boots.”
STL shopped for system
Up until recently, the minibuses and taxis that handle adapted transportation in Laval didn’t have the equipment and systems needed to manage their operations in real time. As planned schedules can be disrupted by things like traffic on the road, delays at clients’ doors and last minute cancellations by clients, the STL had long been searching for something that would provide a real-time environment for scheduling its paratransit transport services.
The new system they came up with was developed from an existing technology used elsewhere in Canada, but adapted especially for the STL. Nearly 14 months of preparation were needed to tailor the system exactly to the STL’s needs. With GPS technology and screen terminals for the partransit vehicle drivers, the new system allows communications to take place with vehicles in real time.
Users are most happy
The system now successfully integrates schedule changes that routinely occur during a normal workday at the service. But, as Aline Locas confirmed from her own experience and that of her son, by far the aspect which seems to be most appreciated by the service users themselves is that it allows automatic calls to be made to clients to advise them of the imminent arrival of their transit vehicle, thus avoiding delays and waiting times.