ORT Chief Getting Up To Speed

by Paul Gatling  on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 9:35 am  

JG: No doubt, whatsoever. If we look at Washington, D.C., and I know we are nowhere the size of Washington, D.C., but when you get on and off a train or a bus, the majority of people are business travelers. Now, they may not be three-piece suit and tie business travelers, but the working professional. And that’s anybody from McDonald’s all the way up to suit and tie. Those are the folks that I really want to see starting to use ORT.


NWABJ: Are there any specific projects or policies that you are working to implement right away or have started right away?

JG: The first thing is to review all the projects and policies that are here now. I think probably for me personally the first thing I’m going to start pushing the staff on is the public parking lot driving, where we are actually [driving] into parking lots. Parking lots are a waste of time, and what I mean by that is when you get into a parking lot, we’ve gone from an average of 17 miles per hour on a surface road down to 3 miles per hour in a parking lot. We start to waste time. We reduce efficiency and increase chances for accidents every time we pull into a parking lot. I’m talking about with the fixed-route buses. Paratransit buses are small enough to get in and out and act like a regular vehicle. That’s what they are designed for. But the big fixed-route buses, they should not be in a parking lot. Those buses are not originally designed for that.


NWABJ: So, looking at routes, looking at pickup and drop-off points, those are immediate areas to address?

JG: Efficiencies and inefficiencies. I can understand why it is the way it is because it grew from a dial-a-ride program into a paratransit into what it is now. But as we grow and separate paratransit services from fixed-route services, there are certain things that need to be shed from the fixed route, and allow the paratransit services to continue to provide.


NWABJ: So, specifically, what can you do increase the use of ORT buses in the next year?

JG: The first thing is to take a look at the routes. Find out what they are serving and why they are serving. Take a look at the ridership and what those needs are. Then start making the adjustments from one route to the next route. I have already made a commitment to the folks in Rogers that I would start there, because they were the first ones to ask, ‘Will you take a look at our routes?’ Yes. First come, first served. So we’re going to look at Rogers, then Bentonville, then Springdale and then we’re going to look at Fayetteville. No specific plan on which one goes second, third or fourth. But we’ll take it one step at a time and look at route efficiencies and look at where the needs are, and if we are providing the services needed. And if not, how can we?


NWABJ: And lastly, what is success for ORT? How would that be defined or described?

JG: Good question. The best way to describe a successful ORT would be accident-free on a daily basis, quality of service, being on time and quality results.



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