Mayor Duggan authorizes emergency contracts to continue 1,000 daily rides for disabled community January 1
Detroit Mayor Duggan today announced that he has approved six-month emergency contracts with four paratransit providers to assure continued service for 1,000 disabled riders who rely on DDOT every day.
“With today’s actions, all of DDOT’s paratransit clients will be assured uninterrupted service,” Duggan said. “Starting next year, DDOT will use its own staff to book reservations and provide follow-up customer service. I expect our clients to see steady improvement in the quality and reliability of the service in the first half of 2023.”
The Administration is using its emergency procurement authority under the City Code (Sec. 17-5-91), which allows the Chief Procurement Officer to enter into contracts for services in emergency situations. The Federal Transit Authority had sent letters on both November 17th and November 30th indicating failure to provide this service would constitute a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and would lead to serious federal consequences. The emergency contracts do not require City Council approval.
In January, the Detroit Office of Procurement will begin a new bid process for permanent paratransit companies.
The four transit providers awarded the 6-month emergency contracts are:
- Moe Transportation
- Big Star Transit
- Checker Cab Company
- Delray United Action Council
City Council had a previously approved a contract with People’s Express.
The contracts will provide the same level of service at 1,000 rides, but at a higher cost than the contracts previously rejected. “Our costs for 6 months have risen from $4.7 million under the contracts previously submitted to $5.8 million for the emergency contracts,” said DDOT Director Mikel Oglesby. “We knew it would be more expensive to do rapid, emergency contracts, but that was far less costly than the federal penalties DDOT was facing if we didn’t act.”
In January, the city will begin a new bidding and procurement process for a long-term paratransit services contract that would go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2023.
How the new system will work
Despite the change in providers, riders will still call 313-208-7363 to access paratransit services. Those calls will now be answered by DDOT employees at their offices on Warren Avenue, who were hired specifically to handle all paratransit-related eligibility screening, scheduling, dispatch, call center and customer service operations.
DDOT already was bringing those services in house starting January 1, 2023, regardless of who the service providers would be, as part of its ongoing efforts to provide better and more reliable paratransit service. As of today, DDOT has hired and is training 27 new staff members to provide these services and will have a total of 32 on board by the end of December.
Once a rider has been deemed eligible and has scheduled a ride, DDOT staff will dispatch the ride to one of its five providers. Riders also will be able to call the same number to provide any feedback on their paratransit experience.
DDOT askes for public’s patience during transition
DDOT officials are asking for riders’ patience and understanding as they put their emergency plan in place to maintain existing service levels starting January 1st.
“In everything we do, we are putting the needs of our paratransit riders first and want to make this transition as smooth as possible,” said Oglesby. “We are asking for everyone’s patience as we make this transition to new providers and bring many of the support services in-house. There may be a few bumps at first, but we really believe that our riders will see a significant improvement in service quality and reliability very soon.”