News & Events
Metro Bus receives Innovative Solutions Award for Mobility Training Center project
ST. CLOUD (10/1/15) — The best and brightest were honored at BusCon’s Breakfast Awards Ceremony on Wednesday in Indianapolis, including the inaugural winners of METRO’s Innovative Solutions Awards.
Evolving from a successful Community Outreach and Travel Training program, St. Cloud Metro Bus Mobility Training Center is a unique facility that combines the elements of paratransit eligibility screening/ability assessments, travel training and community outreach into a single customer-friendly location. Since launching the Travel Training program six years ago, Metro Bus has developed mutually beneficial relationships within the network of care providers, senior living sites, social service agencies and organizations that support people with disabilities and seniors.
The Mobility Training Center is a resource for the whole community. Inexperienced bus riders can learn how to use our transit system within a controlled setting before venturing out on an active route. People with special needs will receive specialized training if they don’t qualify for Dial-a-Ride service.
“I attribute the success of this program to our team of dedicated transit professionals,” said Ryan Daniel, Executive Director of Metro Bus. “Without their talents and passion for the mission of meeting the transportation needs of our community, this recognition wouldn’t be possible.”
Among the staff that Daniel recognizes as key players in the development of the Mobility Training Center is Debbie Anderson, Community Outreach and Mobility Manager, and Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations and Planning.
“Debbie and her team worked directly with HMA architects to design the assessment course and to create this controlled learning environment,” said Daniel. “Tom managed the construction project with Winkelman Building Corporation. Tom’s keen eye and attention to detail ensured quality of craftsmanship within the facility. He also secured the long-term lease of the second floor, which offsets the operating expenses of having an additional facility.
These are the people responsible for the innovation that earned this project national recognition.”
In all, METRO honored four transit agencies for implementing a new initiative that helped them save money, run more efficiently, streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction and safety, or increase ridership.
Metro Bus Executive Director receives national honor — named one of Mass Transit Magazine's Top 40 Under 40
ST. CLOUD (9/18/15)—Mass Transit, the only magazine exclusively dedicated to public transportation, announces its Mass Transit Top 40 Under 40 list, honoring those professionals who have made significant contributions to the public transit industry. Honorees were judged on criteria that included job commitment, industry involvement and contribution, achievement in his or her position and innovation in his or her field. Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan Daniel, was named to this year's list.
Mass Transit Publisher John Hollenhorst. “The individuals chosen this year are exemplary in their respective areas and show a strong dedication that exemplifies the best of the best.”
“With an aging workforce and so many more retirements in our industry every year, it’s wonderful to see the high caliber of industry professionals in the next generation,” adds Editor Leah Harnack. “It was challenging to narrow it down, but we are confident that this exclusive Mass Transit Top 40 Under 40 list is made up of professionals who are not only extremely deserving of this honor, we expect they will continue to play a significant role in public transportation for decades to come.”
Winners will be showcased in the September/October cover feature of Mass Transit magazine and online at www.MassTransitmag.com.
Metro Bus seeks input from riders, part of long range plan update project
ST. CLOUD (9/4/15)— Metro Bus hopes learn more about its customers, their travel habits and needs through an on board survey Sept. 9 and 10.
“To improve our service and update our long range transit plan we need input from many sources,” said Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning, who is leading this project at Metro Bus. “We received a fair amount of feedback with our online community survey and booth at Benton County Fair. Now we are asking forinformation from our riders directly.”
The last on board rider survey of this nature was in 2008, when Metro Bus last updated its long-range plan. Question range from identifying trip purpose to how many times they typically ride, as well as basic demographic information. The survey also asks riders to rate various aspects of the service, and a question about where to add new service.
This spring, the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization hired consultants to assist Metro Bus with this project. The consultants and leadership from Metro Bus have met with local city officials and leadership from St. Cloud State University to learn about their immediate and long-term needs and plans. This onboard survey is one of many outreach activities the agency is conducting as part of updating it long-range plan.
Metro Bus has been asked to explore expanding service to St. Joseph. It would require the city joining the transit commission. To help city officials and residents make an informed decision, Metro Bus will have a special online survey for St. Joseph residents this fall.
Dial-a-Ride No-Show Policy updated to align with national standards
New policy effective 8/20/15
A no-show occurs when an individual schedules a ride and fails to use the service by missing their scheduled ride or does not give sufficient cancellation notice (less than 2 hours).
If an individual receives more than five (5) no-shows in a 30-day period AND the no-shows equal more than 10% of their total trips scheduled for that 30-day period of time, they will be suspended. The 30-day period of time is determined by the date of the first no-show.
When an individual receives a no-show, a letter will be sent to them containing information about when the no-show occurred and will give instructions for how to appeal the no-show. Individuals have 10 business days from receipt of the letter to notify Metro Bus that they wish to appeal the no-show. The appeal may be in writing, by phone, or in person to Metro Bus. Metro Bus will reply in writing or by phone to the individual within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal notice with a determination of the validity of the no-show.
An individual who receives a sixth (6) no-show (and their no-shows equal more than 10% of their total trips for a 30-day period of time) will be notified by letter that they will be suspended. The suspension will go into effect fifteen (15) days from the date of the letter. Metro Bus administrative staff will issue the suspension.1st suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for seven (7) days. 2nd suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for fourteen (14) days. 3rd suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for twenty-one (21) days. 4th suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for thirty (30) days.
Individuals wishing to appeal the suspension may do so by notifying Metro Bus and attend the next Dial-a-Ride Appeal Committee meeting to discuss the reasons for the no-shows. During the time period of the appeal, the suspension will be put on hold. The Appeal Committee may either dismiss one or all of the no-shows or make a final determination to uphold the suspension.
If an individual goes one year without any suspensions (counting from the previous suspension’s start date), their next suspension will revert back to a 1st Suspension of seven (7) days.
The Dial-a-Ride Appeal Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at 11:30 am at the Mobility Training Center, 700 W. St. Germain St., St. Cloud.
Metro Bus seeks community input for service planning, part of long range transitplan update project
ST. CLOUD (7/22/15) — What do you want bus service to look like in the St. Cloud area? What are your current transportation habits and needs? Metro Bus wants to know because it is in the process of updating its long range transit plan to accommodate the community’s changing transportation needs.
“Because this is a long-range plan, input is needed from a variety of sources to forecast what this community will look like in 10 years,” said Tom Cruikshank, Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning, who is leading this project at Metro Bus. “We want to hear from local leaders as well as from those whose daily lives are affected by our transportation system.”
This spring, the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization hired consultants to assist Metro Bus with this project. The consultants and leadership from Metro Bus have met with local city officials and leadership from St. Cloud State University to learn about their immediate and long-term needs and plans. Additional community outreach activities are planned for this fall to get input from those who are current riders as well as the community at large.
“We anticipate receiving a lot of ideas and need feedback from the community to help us prioritize,” said Cruikshank. “For example, what’s more important to you: to change our routes to serve new areas, or to run our service later in the evening on the weekends?”
The community will have the opportunity to weigh in on such topics and give input about their transportation habits with an online survey. A link to the survey can be found on ridemetrobus.com and is available until around August 21. The survey is intended for anyone who lives or travels in St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Sartell areas.
“It’s just as important for us to hear from people who don’t ride the bus as from those who do,” said Cruikshank. “Maybe in some ways more, because we want to attract new people to our system and current riders will also have a voice with an onboard survey slated for after Labor Day.”
Metro Bus has been asked to explore expanding service to St. Joseph. It would require the city joining the transit commission. To help city officials and residence make an informed decision, Metro Bus will have a special online survey for St. Joseph residents later this summer.
METRO BUS LONG RANGE TRANSIT PLAN UPDATE PROJECT
OUTREACH ACTIVITY TIMELINE 2015
April 2015: Consultants and Metro Bus staff met with leadership from St. Augusta, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park & St. Cloud State University.
May: Consultants hosted focus group discussions with business & community leaders
July: Online Community Survey for St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids & Waite Park
Aug.: Online Community Survey for St. Joseph
Sep.: Onboard Rider Survey
Oct.: Community Meetings to get input on plan and proposed changes
Nov./Dec.: Present plan to public and Metro Bus Board of Commissioners
The project is funded through a grant from the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization. Metro Bus is working with the project consulting firm AECOM, based in New York and SRF Consulting Group, a transportation planning firm based in Minneapolis to assist in the update of the long range transit plan. This plan update is required for federal funding, and is updated every five years.