Access Services…Behind the Scenes
Volume 5, Issue 10: January 6, 2012
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that we are now 12 years from Y2K.
With the start of a new calendar year, the staff at Access has been busy working on a number of
exciting programs. The Annual Meeting is fast approaching on March 28, 2012. I look forward to
seeing everyone in attendance! The Community Advisory and Transportation Professionals
Advisory Committee members approval will be on the January 23, 2012 Board of Directors
Agenda. It is hard to believe but the Operations staff is busy working on the Third Annual Access
Bus Roadeo scheduled for July. In the next few months staff hopes to be presenting our first
alternatively fueled minivan vehicle purchase to the Board for approval. I would also like to
mention a project Linda Ross, Manager of Human Resources, and I have just begun (and we are
both very excited about) a wellness campaign for Access employees with the goal of not only
improving the overall lifestyle of our employees but also to actively manage our healthcare cost.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that 2012 is the best year yet!
Shelly Verrinder, Executive Director
TAP Card/ Customer Service Center Update
Demand for the new TAP card has significantly exceeded our initial projections. This demand,
along with card manufacturer supply issues as a result of the natural disaster that occurred in
Thailand, created a huge influx of calls coming into the Customer Service Center in October and
November with 9,400 and 10,300 calls respectively. To accommodate the additional phone calls
to the Customer Service Center, Access hired temporary employees for the months of September
through December to assist not only with the calls, but also with the processing of requests, and
The good news is that calls have subsided considerably for the month of December with just over
4000 TAP-related calls. One reason for the decrease in calls is the direct result of action taken by
Access to simplify the process for our customers with respect to the card activation process and
options. Working closely with Ready Credit, the company that activates the TAP cards, the phone
tree was dramatically altered to provide the caller clear options that include activating only the
TAP card without activating the pre-paid Visa option. Therefore, now when the customer calls the
toll-free number they have the following phone tree options clearly defined:
1. Activate TAP card and pre-paid Visa
2. Activate TAP card only
3. Information on prepaid Visa
4. Information on TAP Card
5. Activation Status
Therefore, if the caller is interested solely in activating the TAP card without the pre-paid Visa,
they select option #2, enter the 16 digit card number and the transaction is complete. This should
eliminate some of the concerns particularly with respect to customers needing to provide sensitive
information (i.e. social security number) and confusion regarding the necessity to activate the pre-
paid Visa component of the card.
Going forward, as Acting Director of Customer Support Services, I am and working closely with
management to implement strategies to reduce hold times and improve productivity in the call
center. One strategy currently in progress is the development of a scope of work to outsource
ASI…Behind the Scenes Page 1
certain types of incoming calls that are more administrative in nature so that more customer
service related issues can be addressed with less time on hold.
On a strictly TAP card related update, the use of the TAP card by customers has risen
dramatically as evidenced by the chart (left):
This clearly demonstrates that many more customers are utilizing the TAP card as well as the
willingness and ability to use fixed route and rail services.
David Foster, Acting Director, Customer Support Services
Transit/ Paratransit Graduation
Nineteen scholarship recipients, including Access’ Appeals and Eligibility Coordinator, Norma
DeAlba, completed the 2011 Transit and Paratransit Management Program presented by the
University of the Pacific – Eberhardt School of Business.
The management program consists of nine comprehensive courses: Overview of
Transit/Paratransit Today, Managing the Operation Effectively, Budgeting and Customer Service,
Enhancing Leadership Effectiveness, Marketing and Customer Service, Risk Management and
Safety, Designing Innovative Organizations, Overview of Legislation and Policy, and Legal Issues
in Employee Relations.
Upon completion of the program, the students will have increased their professional development
skills and become strong candidates for leadership positions. Congratulations Graduates!
Charace Thompson, Sr. Admin Assistant
Advanced Mobility Securement
On November 2-3, 2011, Access hosted the Advanced Mobility Device Securement Skills
Development Workshop. National Transit Institute (NTI) Instructors, Adrian Moy and John
Cleveland, presented this important ‘train the trainer’ class that furthers the mission of Access’
safety culture by ensuring that our customers, particularly those with mobility devices, are being
secured by knowledgeable and well-trained operators.
Representatives attended the workshop from non-profit and public transit agencies, as well as
staff from Access’ service providers. They learned federal guidelines regarding proper securement
techniques and had the unique opportunity to demonstrate what they learned by securing mobility
devices on a cutaway, a mini-van, and a fixed route bus.
Charace Thompson, Sr. Admin Assistant
Global Holiday Luncheon
On December 17th, Access Services staff attended the Global Paratransit Holiday Luncheon. The
event served as an opportunity for Global Paratransit to offer thanks to their committed employees
by providing them with food and holiday festivities.
Management served a variety of entrées such as steak and chicken in addition to other goodies.
Management opened the invitation to the families of the staff, providing a jumper and other
entertainment to keep the little ones occupied while the parents were able to indulge in the
The event was so highly attended that Santa Claus himself was able to take photos and hear
those last minute Christmas wishes.
Congratulations to Global Paratransit on their efforts to strengthen employee morale and celebrate
ASI…Behind the Scenes Page 2
Hamilton Franco, Dispatch Coordinator
APTA Legislative Committee Meeting
I attended a meeting of the APTA Legislative Committee in Washington, DC in early December. In
addition to meeting with our Federal Advocate, Len Simon, and his staff and outlining our federal
affairs activities for the coming year, APTA staff gave a helpful update about where things stand
on the federal level. Other tidbits that I picked up include a House proposal to tighten Buy America
requirements for transit vehicles. Proposals of this nature have implications for Access Services,
which uses minivans to perform a majority of its trips. If Congress banned transit agencies from
purchasing vehicles with any foreign parts, it might force the agency to purchase larger, less
In addition, the Senate Banking Committee has asked the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) to undertake studies on the Coordination of Transportation Services and Paratransit
Services. I have already talked to the researcher for the Coordination Study and am planning to
discuss Access Services with the group who is working on the paratransit study.
Andre Colaiace, Deputy Executive Director,
Planning & Governmental Affairs
Helping Hand Winner for November
Access Services hosted a workshop on “Diversity and Inclusion” on Saturday, August 22. The
workshop was sponsored by Darlene Cohen, SPHR, and featured two prominent experts in the
field of diversity: Mr. Grant Dorster from Pop & Associates, and Ms. Kymberly Garrett. The
workshop explored hidden biases, where they originate, how biases function, and how biases can
become discrimination. Approximately 25 Human Resources professionals from the Southern
California area attended the workshop, participating in at-times uncomfortable exercises shedding
light on our own attitudes and unconscious bias. As leaders in the HR field, we can have a
significant impact on our company’s cultures and become effective Diversity Change Agents to
increase inclusion in our work force.
Hamilton Franco & Cynthia Perkins-Stevenson
“Six years ago I lost part of my sight and was told by doctors that I could no longer drive. I
was referred to Access by the Department of Rehabilitation.
I thank God every day for Access because it allows me to keep my independence
somewhat and also being a single parent with a 10-year old it allows me to move about and
not have to depend on others to take me places I need to go.
I don’t know what I would do without it. Access paratransit is heaven sent!! Thank you very
Lakethia, Los Angeles Rider since 2003
ASI…Behind the Scenes Page 3