On November 20th 2019, the Transit Commission received a report on Para Transpo’s online services implementation plan. The report outlines how online services will be delivered to customers, including enhanced features such as online trip-tracking. An update was received on January 28th, 2020.
OC Transpo will implement online services for Para Transpo customers in two stages:
Stage 1: Interim online booking system
Work continues on the interim web form booking system, and they are on track to roll out the system to all customers early this year. Based on comments from the initial testing that began in December, staff have finished making refinements to the form and to the confirmation e-mail that is automatically sent to customers once a booking request is made. These refinements were made to ensure that the web form is easy to use and understand.
Staff have also finalized the work to set up and test the placement of booking requests into the queue along with requests made by phone. This was done so that all booking requests can be prioritized based on the time a request is received from a customer.
Staff are currently completing the final technical steps to get the interim form ready to be tested by a group of Para Transpo customers who are not able to book by phone, due to the nature of their disability. They expect this phase of the testing to happen very soon. Shortly thereafter, they will then expand the testing to a wider group of customers (including those who have contacted them directly), and then they will then roll out the form to all customers.
Stage 2: Full Suite of Online Services
The development of the full suite of online services is underway and will continue through 2020. Scheduled to be rolled out to customers by the end of the year, the full suite of online services will be integrated with the Para Transpo operations system, and will provide customers with self-serve options so that they can make their bookings online or through a mobile phone app, as well as access other online services, such as tracking the location of a booked trip.
As noted in the November report to the Transit Commission, a customer working group will be established by Q2 to review and provide input into the development of the system. The customer group will be engaged in the project from concept through to design and rollout of the system to customers. The customer working group will be assembled to ensure that customers of all types of abilities are engaged, including, but not limited to: customers who are blind or partially sighted; customers who have physical disabilities; customers who have intellectual or developmental disabilities; and customers with varying levels of computer skill. They also know that the Ottawa Transit Riders group has expressed an interested in participating in this work, and they will invite representatives to join the working group.
Para Transpo are grateful to the many customers who have offered their time for the development and testing of both phases of the new online services. As noted above, they aim to include a number of these customers in the working group and will certainly include many more in the different phases of development and testing of the full suite of online services.
Additional Para Transpo Capacity
As approved by the Transit Commission and Council in the 2020 budget, the Para Transpo operating budget has an additional $2 million investment this year that is providing 55,000 to 70,000 more trips for customers, to accommodate increased ridership demand seen in recent years. This increased capacity is already being delivered.