REGION — LIFT services will see changes in management, ways to reserve a ride and rate structure beginning this summer.
Services provide transportation for passengers who are functionally unable to use fixed-route services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Upcoming changes were prompted by an increase in ridership and an audit recommendation to reduce operations costs.
“NCTD has seen an increase of 160 percent in cost and a 53 percent increase in ridership on the LIFT program since fiscal year 2012,” Kimy Wall, CMP manager, marketing and communications, said.
A welcome change this summer is riders will be able to make and change reservations online 24/7. This allows greater flexibility than the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. phone hours that are now provided, and will continue.
“Currently passengers call in to a live person to make, change or cancel a reservation,” Wall said.
Beginning in fall 2017 rates will change from a $3.50 one-way flat fee, to a fare based on the number of transfers a trip would have if the customer were using NCTD’s fixed-route services.
NTCD did not provide a rate comparison, but said customers will be told the cost of their trip when they make a reservation.
Along with rate changes an EZ-Wallet payment processor will be implemented to allow riders to pay for their trip with a credit or debit card.
MV Transportation will begin managing LIFT operations July 1, as initial changes go into effect.
Going forward there will be increased staff resources for MV, enhanced training requirements and new technology.
New software reporting systems will give NCTD in-house oversight of LIFT operations, and greater opportunity to improve the customer riding experience.
Passengers who use LIFT services must be certified through an online and paper application process. The application includes medical records and is reviewed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
All LIFT riders will be required to be re-certified in fall 2017. Certification for some applicants may include an in-person interview or functional assessment.
If either is required, NCTD will cover the costs for transportation to and from the evaluation center.
There are 5,600 customers certified to use LIFT services, which is 1.66 percent of NCTD’s total ridership for the 2016 fiscal year.
Information meetings on LIFT service changes are scheduled for March and April.
March 30, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Carlsbad Senior Center, Activity Room 799 Pine Avenue, Carlsbad
April 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
San Marcos Community Center
3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos
April 6, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Escondido Public Library
239 S. Kalmia Street, Escondido
April 12, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oceanside Public Library Mission Branch, Community Room
3861 Mission Avenue, Oceanside