Harford Transit LINK - 2019 Outstanding Transit System Awardee
Harford Transit LINK had many achievements during Fiscal years 2017 and 2018, including a 10% increase in ridership, a 75% improvement in overall employee attendance (in turn creating a 25% reduction in overtime), a reduction in accidents, a 40% reduction in incidents, and significant salary increases.
Harford Transit LINK implemented a pilot route in May 2017 to service the county’s major employment hub to determine effectiveness. In the first 6 weeks of service 1,037 trips were associated with this stop. In October 2018, this pilot route was converted to a permanent route due to continual increased ridership and improved access to the Harford County’s employment opportunities.
This agency had a reset of the entire database and hierarchy for the demand response service. The software upgrade was completed to realign the demand response scheduling to reflect actual operations. This update created the ability to provide service to more clients while improving operational cost control. The software upgrade also improved the customer service notification system, modifying the robo-calling system to meet customer expectations and on-time service.
In previous years, Harford Transit had experienced a large staff call-out on pre-and-post holiday workdays. In 2017 this was reduced by 50%. In 2018 they saw a 90% reduction in the pre-and-post holiday call outs. They also saw a 75% improvement in overall attendance, which led to a 25% reduction in driver overtime versus previous years.
Incorporating a systemic approach to reviewing accidents and incidents and targeting driver training to review and study specific accident and incident types led Harford Transit to experience a 50% reduction in accidents in FY17 as well as a 25% reduction in accidents in FY18. Increased ride-alongs with drivers, utilizing Smith System driving techniques, and documenting the process and reviewing results with the drivers to specify improvements has created a 40% reduction in incidents. This technique has allowed drivers to become more aware of defensive driving, proper spacing, etc. These ride-alongs have been a big part of their customer service improvements. The installation of onboard surveillance cameras across the fleet reduced inconsequential passenger claims and improved the accuracy of drivers’ accident reporting statements of events. Another safety measure this agency focused on was redefining a tire blowout as a reportable accident with disciplinary consequences, as well as including safety discussion on this subject. By doing this, this agency was able to reduce the cost of tire & rim blow-out and tire repairs from $25,000 to below $6,000.
During a driver shortage in Fiscal year 2017, Harford Transit was able to gain County support to increase starting drivers’ hourly salary from $13.22 to $15.00 and provide benefits for eligible staff. In Fiscal year 2018 the driver salary was once again increased from $15.00 to $15.30 along with adding paid lunches. Harford County also implemented a timekeeping system which provided better management of time and labor costs.
Harford Transit implemented quarterly all associate meetings. These meetings included reviewing accident and incident types, targeted driver training, and important operational updates to all staff.