Q: Can you talk a little more about the providers that you already have an agreement with to be a part of this project, and about the private providers who would be responsible for bringing in participation?
Questions & Answers
A: The three agencies that are currently a part of the project are Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT), San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD), and City of Escalon. Coordination with private providers such as taxis and TNCs, as well as the VTO, would be the responsibility of the Project Team. The Project Team will want to work closely with the Firm on policy setting, pricing, geographic constraints, etc.
Q: Can you talk a little more about the call center situation? Oftentimes, there is an existing call center for service in the area that you can piggyback on. Are you suggesting that there is an opportunity here for a separate call center provider to be engaged?
A: All three of the partner transit agencies currently provide their own call center functions for which they contract on their own procurement schedules. However without knowing the volume of calls that would be produced by the Valley Flex overlay, they were hesitant to commit to using their existing call center services at this time, hence the interest in the Firm’s ability to bring call center functions.
Q: Is it acceptable to have a non-local entity handle the call center function?
Q: Is it your expectation that we provide a MaaS application that call center staff would have access to, and that call center staff would verbally transmit the information back to the customer?
A: Yes, that would be the mechanism that we expect would be used by any call center that is taking part in the MaaS platform.
Q: What is your plan for getting access to the RouteMatch, StrataGen, EcoLane, and Trapeze APIs, or otherwise interfacing with them?
A: These are software that the different agencies are currently operating, and we will be asking our partners in the transit agencies, as existing customers of these services, to assist us with access. Since we are not asking our partner agencies to make changes in their own individual software relationships, building a system that can communicate with multiple agencies and scheduling/dispatching backends is fundamental to the MaaS vision.
Q: It seems time is of the essence given CARB’s requirement of having one year worth of operations and data. What is it that you think would be feasible to be up and operating by no later than February 28, 2019?
A: We expect an app/platform that a rider can use to plan and book trips across multiple services, if necessary; includes discovery of what services are available for a particular trip; requesting a trip that makes use of range of available services; receiving confirmation that a ride is booked; and actually making the trip. Fare payment is not expected to be a part of this basic level of service. The backend of the operation is going to happen entirely through the existing services; we are not making any changes to the individual agencies’ operations, only creating a new interface that combines them across jurisdictional lines for the benefit of riders. Basically, we are just creating an overlay of discoverability and ride requesting.
Q: It seems that it is essential to integrate in some way with the systems that are already in place. Will the Project Team be able to provide sufficient incentive for the organizations that already have a software system in place, and for the software providers themselves, to integrate the MaaS solution with these organizations’ existing system?
A: The three agencies above are named partners of the project under the CARB grant and have all committed to taking part in the project, to cooperating with the Project Team, and to providing direct and/or in-kind support to the project.
Q: What is the use and budget that is in place now, and the costs that are related the current system?
A: We are not looking to replace the operational software systems that the agencies are currently running. We are wanting to provide additional software that will interface and communicate with the request-for-ride systems the agencies already have in place.
Q: Can you provide more detail on the budget for the grant?
A: The overall project (including both this program area as well the Valley Go low-income carsharing program in the southern part of the Valley) is based on a $2.25m grant from CARB and another $1.5m in direct and in-kind contributions from project partners. We are not providing guidance on pricing for the mobility platform component at this time.
Q: What do you anticipate the call center volume to be?
A: We do not anticipate a large volume at first but it will be something that will scale-up in time. We estimate the volume to be in the low double digits early on.
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