National Academies Press: OpenBook

Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs (2007)

Chapter: Chapter Five - Conclusions

« Previous: Chapter Four - Paratransit Manager Profiles
Page 28
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14120.
×
Page 28
Page 29
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14120.
×
Page 29
Page 30
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14120.
×
Page 30

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Based on the survey results, the following are some of the key conclusions of the synthesis. In reviewing the current requirements to be a paratransit manager: • A majority of paratransit manager positions (66%) required a college degree or higher. • Most agencies required five years or less of experi- ence, including supervisory experience, to qualify for the position (75%). • The starting salaries for paratransit managers varied considerably, with $40,000 to $49,000 being the range most frequently cited (27%), followed by $75,000 to $99,000 (17%). The lowest starting salaries were found at rural and small agencies and the highest starting salaries at large agencies. • Technology was the skill most often reported as neces- sary for a paratransit manager (38%), followed by knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (31%) and business/management (31%). In reviewing information from the survey results on the actual experience of current paratransit managers: • A substantial majority of current paratransit managers had college degrees or higher (69%). A much higher per- centage of current paratransit managers had graduate degrees than just undergraduate degrees (50% versus 19%), which was consistent with the education require- ments found in the position descriptions. • Paratransit managers’ major areas of study were business/ management (32%) and “other” (32%), followed by public administration (28%). • Most paratransit managers (62% total) had been in their current positions for five years or less, with only 15% in their current position for more than ten years. • Current paratransit managers had considerably more experience than the position description required, with 42% having more than ten years of passenger trans- portation experience and another 27% having five to ten years of experience before taking the paratransit position. • Current paratransit managers reported salaries that were significantly higher than the starting salary reported for the position. More than 45% of paratransit managers reported salaries of $75,000 or more, whereas only 23% 28 of the position descriptions noted starting salaries of $75,000 or more. • Most current paratransit managers were hired externally for their positions (58%) and a significant number were hired either externally or promoted internally without paratransit experience (38%). • A slight majority of current paratransit managers (52%) reported that it was the “challenge” that attracted them to the position, and only 8% mentioned that it was the pay. • The skills for which current paratransit managers had received training in the past five years included cus- tomer service, management and supervision, and sexual harassment (31.7%); performance evaluations (27%); sensitivity skills (25%); and team building (25%). • Of the current paratransit managers surveyed, 14% had participated in Easter Seals Project ACTION’s Mobil- ity Planning Services Institute. • Thirty-two percent of the paratransit managers surveyed had attended or participated in workshops and panels on paratransit topics at the CTAA Annual Expo. • Fourteen percent of the current paratransit managers sur- veyed had participated in the CTAA course on Passen- ger Service and Safety, with 11% having participated in the CTAA Certified Community Transit Management course. • Current paratransit managers reported infrequent atten- dance or participation at TRB-sponsored conferences. • Fifty percent of the current paratransit managers had attended or participated in an APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference, with 25% having attended an APTA annual meeting. • Only 8% of the current paratransit managers had enrolled in a transportation degree program at a U.S.DOT- sponsored University Transportation Center. • A considerable number of current paratransit managers (46%) reported making $75,000 or more; however, 27% were making $49,999 or less. In reviewing the survey results on the importance of a paratransit manager having certain skills: • Most respondents viewed dealing with the media, com- puterized scheduling, safe driving practices, labor rela- tions, and affirmative action as very important. • An overwhelming majority of respondents reported working with boards, written communications, oral com- munications, sensitivity, management and supervision, CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS

29 ethics, and customer relations as very important. • Paratransit driving, paratransit reservationist, and man- ual scheduling were viewed as not very important. In reviewing the survey results on what additional skills and training paratransit managers should have to improve their effectiveness: • Total Quality Management was the most requested additional skill that a paratransit manager should have to improve his or her effectiveness (50%). • The most requested type of training was managing the cost of paratransit services (52%), followed by para- transit scheduling and dispatching fundamentals (42%), comprehensive ADA paratransit eligibility (39%), and certified community transit supervisor (39%). In response to the survey question on whether paratransit managers should have a college degree: • A slight majority (52%) believe that paratransit man- agers should be required to have a degree from a four- year college or university, with 35% answering that a degree should not be required and 13% were not sure. • Fifty percent indicated that business/management is the most desirable area of study, followed by transportation with 17% and public administration with 14%. The guidance given to aspiring paratransit managers by survey respondents generally fell into nine categories (atti- tude, customers/clients, experience, business/management, employees and employee development, leadership, interac- tion with internal and external groups, communications skills, and training) and some of the poignant comments included: • “Be prepared to deal with politicians and government bureaucrats who do not understand the big picture in paratransit and expect you to fulfill unrealistic expecta- tions. IT IS A VERY TOUGH REWARDING JOB!!!!” • “Listen to the riders; they are why you have a job.” • “Small issues could become quite exaggerated in a short period of time if not anticipated early by a proactive paratransit manager.” • “Know your people and they need to know you.” • “Ride a route once a week, drive a route once a month.” • “Say what you mean and mean what you say . . . pray daily.” • “If having a board member or passenger take an unan- nounced tour of the operating facility were cause for concern, it would indicate something is in need of immediate attention and corrective action.” The paratransit manager position is relatively new at pub- lic transportation agencies and the survey results do not show a consistent career path to becoming a paratransit manager. The survey results do show that the current paratransit man- ager is highly educated and has passenger transportation experience, but is almost always new to the current position, has little or no paratransit experience, and is not highly com- pensated. He or she took the job for the “challenge” and not the pay or the status of the position. Interestingly, the posi- tion descriptions for paratransit manager most consistently have “technology” and “knowledge of ADA” as the most necessary skills to have, but most paratransit managers do not believe that those skills are as important to their success as ethics, customer relations, communications, management and supervision, and sensitivity. It appears that most paratransit managers receive their training “on the job” and not through any well-defined edu- cational curriculum or industry-provided training. Although paratransit operations is very different from fixed-route public transit, most paratransit managers at fixed-route sys- tems report to the chief operating officer COO or subordinate who has his or her roots in fixed-route operations. This synthesis provides a good first step at understanding the profile of a paratransit manager. However, it is based on a relatively small sample size when compared with the entire universe of paratransit managers. For that reason and for several questions not covered or left unanswered during this synthesis study, it is important to undertake additional research on the subject. Larger surveys that separate rural and urban agencies and can collect considerably more data on how para- transit managers fit into agency organizations and cultures and what specific training needs are necessary to ensure successes could be helpful. Additional research could address attracting new entrants and job retention. The findings of the synthesis could also be considered in TRB Project F-13, Vehicle Oper- ator Driver Recruitment, Retention, and Performance in ADA Complementary Paratransit Operations. In addition, the syn- thesis provides valuable input into the implementation of the other recommendations of the 2005 Consensus Conference for Paratransit Managers. • Develop and encourage adoption of a transit manager degree program. • Stimulate the creation of practicum and internships relating to the preparation of future and current person- nel regarding paratransit management. • Develop and disseminate a course on universal design that builds on the concept of one transportation system for all customers. • Develop and disseminate a story of why people should chose careers as paratransit, transit, or mobility managers to assist in the recruitment of people to the profession. • Create and disseminate a comprehensive list of current academic, continuing education, and other training for use by people interested in becoming paratransit managers. • Explore the creation of a universally recognized transit certification program similar to CTAA’s current Certi- fied Community Transit Management program that would convey stature and recognition.

• Develop and disseminate community projects for ele- mentary, middle, and high school students to actively create awareness of transit careers. • Develop practicum for degree candidates to work with paratransit providers. Another next step could include the development of model job descriptions for paratransit managers to assist employers in 30 selecting managers with the appropriate backgrounds to per- form at a high level. These job descriptions would detail the desired skills, training, and certifications necessary for para- transit managers based on the structures, cultures, and sizes of transportation agencies. Finally, increased focus should be given to the development of additional transportation degree programs with emphasis on paratransit management by U.S.DOT-sponsored University Transportation Centers.

Next: Frequently Used Acronyms »
Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs Get This Book
×
 Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 71: Paratransit Manager's Skills, Qualifications, and Needs examines current requirements for being a paratransit manager and actual experiences of current paratransit managers in their positions. The synthesis is designed to help enhance the paratransit management profession and paratransit service delivery.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!