Customer Spotlight GoDurham ACCESS

Paratransit fleet enhances service levels and ensures safe travel.

GoDurham ACCESS, which is run by National Express Transit, is a demand-responsive, ADA-paratransit service for the City of Durham and Durham County in North Carolina. Ridership includes people who have a disability, are age 60 and older, or live in the county’s rural areas. Plus those who need a ride for work-related, medical, human services, government, personal care and other eligible trips. These riders depend on GoDurham ACCESS for reliable, curb-to-curb transportation—a responsibility this fleet takes seriously.

  • Dispatchers and fleet managers need to track and monitor each vehicle in real time.
  • Vehicles need to be well maintained to ensure safe, reliable service.
  • Drivers need to operate safely and arrive on time, every time, every day.

Because so many people rely on GoDurham ACCESS for essential transportation, this fleet relies on Zonar smart fleet management solutions to manage and monitor each vehicle online. With this operational edge, GoDurham ACCESS is better equipped to focus on serving each rider than fleets who still wrangle with avoidable inefficiencies.

Making sure up to 500 riders arrive on time, every day.

Service levels are everything. Drivers need to GoDurham ACCESS runs 58 vehicles to transport 400 to 500 people every day. Most of the vehicles are cutaways. Plus, the fleet features a few vans of various years, makes and models. Using Zonar Ground Traffic Control, our secure online fleet management platform, dispatchers view the entire fleet, track each vehicle and monitor its activity. Assistant General Manager, Eduardo Sobalvarro, also accesses Ground Traffic Control to ensure each vehicle has been inspected, is phoning home and is relaying healthy diagnostic readings.

Remotely monitoring each vehicle and its health online enables them to prevent breakdowns and delays that would otherwise leave riders running late or stranded on the side of the road.

Live Maps makes on-the-go navigation a snap.

Paratransit fleets don’t run on fixed routes, and traffic will be traffic. Sometimes, even the most conscientious driver can end up going in the wrong direction. And new drivers may need a bit more help, more often. With the Live Maps feature in Ground Traffic Control, GoDurham ACCESS is well equipped to help any driver find their way and avoid delays.

Sobalvarro explains, “One of my new dispatchers has access to view the new Live Maps. And he loves it. Says it’s way better than the location on a map. You get the precise location. And it helps with newer drivers who don’t know where they’re at or what turn to take. Dispatcher goes in there, puts in the address of where that driver is supposed to be, and gives them turnby-turn directions to get back on track. Huge timesaver.”

Some of the larger fleet vehicles aren’t easy to navigate through narrower roads. Using Live Maps in Ground Traffic Control, GoDurham ACCESS dispatchers keep drivers from getting stuck or wandering around for hours. Another day, another way to maintain optimal, reliable service.

Inspections are verified, and major defects are addressed—right away.

Healthy vehicles are reliable vehicles. GoDurham ACCESS uses Zonar’s electronic verified inspection reporting (EVIR) system to ensure each inspection is performed properly—no exception. Every day, Sobalvarro accesses the inspection results through Ground Traffic Control to ensure each one is performed properly. And, maintenance technicians review the uploaded results to see if any issues or major defects were identified so repairs can be prioritized as soon as possible.

Inspections are done. Results are uploaded for immediate access through Ground Traffic Control. And major defects are prioritized. All to maintain service levels and protect against breakdowns.

Service complaints receive appropriate responses, more quickly.

Of course, any fleet that serves the public inevitably receive complaints; top issues being late arrivals and speeding vehicles. However, through Ground Traffic Control, GoDurham ACCESS dispatchers and fleet managers like Sabalvarro remotely track more than just real-time vehicle location.

They also track:

  • vehicle activity such as powering on and off, speed, braking, turning, idling and so on
  • historical path to see exactly where the vehicle traveled
  • posted speeds to determine if the vehicle was speeding and by how much
  • time spent in specific locations

With objective, undeniable vehicle data, GoDurham ACCESS personnel can address complaints accurately and reach appropriate resolutions more quickly.

Falsely accused drivers are exonerated.

Fleet data empowers Sobalvarro to exonerate his drivers when they’re falsely accused of performing unsafely or being late. When he receives a complaint, Sobalvarro accesses detailed fleet data within Ground Traffic Control to investigate. By looking at the address, he identifies where the driver was and for how long. “I get complaints that the vehicle did not arrive at the address, and I can see that it did. I can look at the path and see that the vehicle was, in fact, sitting there for seven minutes.”

On the other hand, if the data shows that the complaint is valid, Sobalvarro investigates further to determine the root cause.

For example, if a rider was picked up or dropped off late, “Zonar helps me track the path of the vehicle to find out why. What happened out of the ordinary? What caused them to be late? And a lot of times I discover that assisting another rider took longer than usual.” No reason to punish the driver for helping another rider.

And objective conversations are opened.

Sometimes, an issue needs to be addressed. Sobalvarro shares an example of a complaint about one driver who was late. By mapping the vehicle’s location and path, he saw that the driver turned a 10-minute break into a 90-minute break. “We were able to pinpoint exactly where the driver was at, where the cross streets were, when the engine was turned off and on again.”

Based on the Zonar fleet tracking data, they were able to have an open, objective conversation with the driver and the union.

Partnership supports continued commitment to ridership.

GoDurham ACCESS has used Zonar smart fleet management since 2020, at which time the fleet was looking for a provider to digitize paper processes and support green initiatives. According to Sobalvarro, “Zonar was one of the top providers, that was also approved by the California Highway Patrol. So that was a plus to get away from the paper and the books and everything electronic.”

And, across locations, Sobalvarro has been using Zonar solutions for years. He’s seen firsthand how our ongoing upgrades to Ground Traffic Control have continually enhanced the solution’s effectiveness.

The close partnership between GoDurham ACCESS and Zonar is on track to continue. GoDurham ACCESS remains committed to serving each rider with safe, reliable transportation. And we remain committed to upgrading current solutions and innovating new solutions that support their dedication and initiatives.