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Streamlining ADA-Paratransit Eligibility Processes at CapMetro in Austin

Goal

Improving the ADA-paratransit eligibility process, focusing on efficiency and inclusivity to ensure a better applicant experience.

Partner
CapMetro
Location
Austin,Texas
Launch
October 2023
Service Type
ADA-Paratransit

Overview

CapMetro's Access service in Austin is an ADA-paratransit service that is vital for offering demand responsive transportation to individuals with disabilities that are unable to ride CapMetro’s fixed-route system.This eligibility process is crucial for preserving the efficiency and sustainability of the paratransit system but also for ensuring its quality and safety. By ensuring that all riders meet federal eligibility guidelines, CapMetro ensures that Access remains a dedicated resource for those that are eligible, allowing for agency cost efficiency mechanisms while complying with federal regulations.

Challenges

  • Balancing personalized service with strict federal regulations: CapMetro faced the challenge of maintaining a people-centric approach while rigorously adhering to complex federal regulations.
  • Navigating disparate systems for eligibility verification: The original system required the use of multiple databases and programs, complicating the completion of the ADA-paratransit eligibility process.
  • Overcoming inefficiencies of manual, paper-based workflows: A manual workflow with extensive paper documentation led to inefficiencies and difficulties in tracking the eligibility process timelines.

“We’re required to comply with numerous regulations and focus on creating a people-centric process. Previously, our procedures had to be adjusted to accommodate the constraints of our software, necessitating the use of various databases and programs to manage an effective eligibility workflow. With the introduction of Spare, we were fortunate to have the capability to customize our digital workflows to better align with our existing processes.

Sara Sanford
Sara SanfordInterim Vice President of Demand Response and Innovative Mobility

Solution

Spare’s eligibility software brought transformative improvements to the CapMetro Access Eligibility process, including:

  • Introducing digital workflows: Previously burdened with extensive paperwork when applying for eligibility, the process is now simplified and automated. With Spare Engage, applicants can smoothly go through various steps, including application submission, professional verification, review and notification, and appeal processes. Seamless communication between administrators and applicants ensures applicants are informed every step of the way.
  • Ensuring compliance with ADA mandated timelines: Timed processes help CapMetro to more easily track to the 21-day federally mandated timeframe to complete the eligibility verification process. With Spare's eligibility software, there's significant improved time management with all eligibility and rider-based workflows, but also the flexibility to pause the processing timer if required.
  • Integrating with dispatch: Once an applicant is confirmed eligible, a unique profile is set up for them within the Spare ADA-paratransit system. This allows riders to effortlessly book rides via the app, website, or a simple phone call, receive notifications about their upcoming trips, and board hands-free.

Results

With the introduction of Spare’s eligibility software, the application process for obtaining Access service has been greatly simplified and streamlined key outcomes CapMetro has realized include:

  • Efficiency: CapMetro has fine-tuned their eligibility workflows and improved their rider management. As a result, their digital workflows are better aligned to their process, ensuring a smooth experience for riders·
  • Transparency: Spare’s eligibility software offers heightened transparency; both riders and their caregivers can clearly see the status of their application. Additionally, they receive more frequent updates about their place in the application queue·
  • Ease of Application: Prior to Spare's introduction, riders typically had to order application forms via mail or email. Now, they can directly access CapMetro’s online portal to apply for services. This also benefits care providers, allowing them to swiftly complete professional verifications online, reducing the need for paper-based communication·
  • Individualization: The eligibility process ensures services are provided only to those who have a disability that prevents them from riding fixed- route services. This requires a deeply personalized approach. Spare's digital platform enables them to effectively navigate this complex process, ensuring they can cater to the unique requirements of every applicant.

To learn more about CapMetro's journey to transform ADA paratransit, check out this webinar Q&A with Chad Ballentine, former Vice President of CapMetro.