We don't get the same level of customer service from other vendors and integrators, even for menial issues. That has been very important to us, and it validates our selection of Avail as our vendor.Ryan Suarez
myAvail Gives MCAT’s Riders Big City Service
The Manatee County Area Transit Agency (MCAT) is a small agency with big ambitions. It serves about 2 million riders along Florida’s west coast but prides itself on offering the same level of service as a big city-agency with ten times the number of riders.
Avail’s enterprise transit management system helped the organization achieve that goal by bringing its data into one location that encompasses fleet tracking, passenger information, financial returns, and more.
MCAT adopted myAvail in May 2018 after an outcome-based procurement process that won the Innovation and Creativity Award from the Florida Public Transportation Association in 2018. The agency focused on the outcomes it wanted to see from vendors rather than the technical specifications of each product.
In the end, myAvail met all of the desired outcomes and then some. The system provides customizable dashboards, robust notifications, a real-time passenger information system, and enhanced reporting capabilities.
“This kind of a system is a first for our agency, on fixed-route vehicles,” Trieu Nguyen, business services manager for Manatee County’s transit division, told BUSRide Magazine. “The agency did not previously have any real-time reporting or CAD/AVL capabilities, so this was new for our staff and for our ridership.”
Avail’s team worked with MCAT on every step of implementing the new system on its fleet and training the agency’s staff to get the most out of it. Avail deployed its self-service “Bus in a Box” solution and held one-on-one training sessions for dispatchers, supervisors, and others throughout the organization. After the initial launch, Avail deployed its Follow-on Adoption Services and Training (FAST) team to provide additional training and help MCAT make the most of everything myAvail has to offer.
Adopting myAvail represented a big step forward for MCAT and a big change for its staff. The agency appreciated how Avail went the extra mile to make sure the implementation went smoothly at every step.
“They have been very flexible, and they have adapted to us, as much as we pushed them,” MCAT Planning Manager Ryan Suarez told BUSRide Magazine. “We don’t get the same level of customer service from other vendors and integrators, even for menial issues. That has been very important to us, and it validates our selection of Avail as our vendor.”
It didn’t take long for MCAT’s riders to notice the difference myAvail made in their experience. They could see exactly where buses were and receive service updates on board the bus and on a mobile app. Bus location information also helped MCAT’s staff anticipate customer service issues and identify route pain points to improve long-term efficiency.
“It gives users a measure of confidence that overcomes some of transit’s barriers to entry,” Suarez said. “That direct control also allows us better headway management, customer service, and internal efficiencies, and also provides faster response times when incidents arise.”