Tips for Scheduling a Ride
OATS Transit is more than half-way through the statewide implementation of our new scheduling and dispatching system. We understand that change, big or small, can be difficult. Many frustrations reported by some riders stems from the fact that you now must plan out your trip before the OATS Transit vehicle shows up at your door.
The new software is affecting the way that you schedule your ride and we dispatch our vehicles. The outcome will be greater efficiencies in our entire system and better use of funding resources we have available. Most riders have been used to free/reduced cost rides compared to other public transportation providers, but that is only because we have funders paying part of the cost of your trip. What you may not know is that those agencies also need to reduce their expenses so they can continue to operate in the future just like us.
Unfortunately that means we have less funding to cover the full cost of your trip. Our goal is to continue providing the same level of routes/schedules/trips that we have been without having to significantly reduce service.
Here are some things you can do that will help you, our office staff, and our drivers:
Plan your trip in advance. Planning includes any en-route stops such as the bank or other errands you will need to do while out. All stops must be scheduled before you get on the vehicle. You will need to provide the scheduler with detailed information when you call, so be prepared. Our vehicles must run on schedule so they stay on time.
Call your local OATS Transit office now to schedule your trip. In the past, you may have scheduled with a volunteer, driver or other third party. We know this is a big change for many but is necessary in order to create the efficiencies mentioned above. If you need assistance with making a call, or reminders from someone, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone who can assist you. We are upgrading our phone capacity to better handle calls so if you currently experience difficulty getting through to dispatch, know that this issue will soon be resolved.
If hearing/talking on the phone is difficult for you, Missouri has an excellent free resource to anyone who is hearing or speech impaired. Simply dial 711, or go online to www.relaymissouri.com to sign up for the service. They will assist you with your communication needs.
Know your local schedule. You can find schedules by clicking here, or by requesting one from your local OATS Transit office or a driver.
Plan ahead for fares. Our drivers cannot make change, so you will need the exact fare when you board the bus. In many areas, we have fare cards available or you can pay in advance for your trips by calling your local office.
Please be patient with us. We know that is hard to hear, but if you give this new process time to work, you will see the benefits for everyone involved!
The goal with the new system is to increase productivity, improve efficiency in service, handle more riders with better routing of vehicles, operate with less funding resources, less backtracking with vehicles, and better reporting mechanisms to our contract agencies. This also means less paperwork for our drivers so they can spend more time focused on driving and taking care of your needs.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work our way through the learning curve with the new system,” said Dorothy Yeager, OATS Transit Executive Director. “I know in some areas it’s been a painful transition and I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. But, I cannot stress enough how this is the first step towards our vision of less paperwork, reduced costs and, ultimately, a more robust and efficient transit service.”