Bus Stop Announcement Plan, Draft
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires public transit agencies to provide on-board bus stop and bus stop transfer information. The specific requirements for stop announcements and route identification are set forth in 49 CFR 37.167. The required fixed-route bus stop announcements are for:
• Stops associated with major intersections,
• Stops associated with major destination points,
• Stops associated with transfer points to other fixed-routes
In addition, announcements are also required in the following situations:
• Any stop when requested by an individual with a disability,
• At sufficient intervals along a route to permit individuals with visual disabilities to be oriented to their location,
• Where more than one route serves the same stop, external announcements need to be made so individuals with visual impairments or other disability can identify the proper vehicle to enter.
Scope of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan
This Bus Stop Announcement Plan specifies how the automated annunciator system for all Sun Tran buses shall operate. In all situations where the annunciator system is not working, Sun Tran drivers are required to (1) make all of the same announcements themselves, and (2) report the malfunctioning system to maintenance for repair.
In this plan, key definitions and criteria are listed for what will be announced, policies are spelled out, and specific wording of different announcements are delineated.
Definition of a major intersection
Sun Tran will announce upcoming bus stops near major intersections. Sun Tran defines a “major intersection” as an intersection where the upcoming cross-street is an Arterial Street as defined by City of Tucson Major Streets & Routes. Arterial Streets are the major roads which occur each mile in a grid-like pattern in and around Tucson.
• Examples of Arterial Streets traveling east-west are Wetmore, Prince, Ft. Lowell, Grant, Speedway, St. Mary’s, Broadway, 22nd St., 29th St., 36th St., Golf Links, Ajo, Irvington, Valencia.
• Examples of Arterial Streets traveling north-south are La Cholla, La Cañada/Flowing Wells, Mission, Oracle, Stone, 1st Ave/Euclid/Park, Campbell/Kino, Country Club, Alvernon, Swan, Craycroft, Wilmot, Kolb, Pantano, Camino Seco, Harrison, Houghton
• Note: these do not include the Collector Streets (as defined by City of Tucson Major Streets & Routes) which are halfway between the Arterial Streets. Examples of Collector Streets are Rosemont, Columbus, Tucson. In some cases these are announced if population density is particularly high in that area or if route travels down that road, (e.g., Glenn, Pima, 5th St., Drexel, Palo Verde)
• Note: Since Sun Tran routes sometime travel through Pima County, the Pima County equivalents for Arterial Streets will also be announced as major intersections. Announcements of major intersections will thus include County Major Routes and County Scenic Routes as listed in the City of Tucson Major Streets & Routes map.
Sun Tran will announce the major intersection even if the nearest bus stop is up two blocks away. For example, Sun Tran will announce “10th Ave. and 22nd St.” even though the nearest bus stop is at the intersection of 10th Ave. and 21st St.
If a major intersection is announced in one direction, Sun Tran will always announce that stop in the opposite direction too, even if it may not meet the criteria for a major intersection in both directions.
Criteria for what constitutes a major destination
Sun Tran will announce “major destinations” that meet the following criteria:
• Public High Schools and private High Schools with student body >1000
• Public Colleges
• Major hospitals
• Major parks: larger than ½ mile x ½ mile in size
• Neighborhood Centers & Regional Centers of Tucson Parks & Recreation
• Large Scale Pima County Community Centers
• Major Government Offices : Courthouses, Ward offices, City Hall, County Building
• Libraries- large & mid-sized libraries as defined by Pima County Public Library
• Transit Centers and hubs
• Major Transit offices of Sun Tran and Sun Van
• Park & Ride lots
• Other transportation centers: Airport, Greyhound bus station
• Shopping Malls & commercial districts: not shopping centers
• Major sporting venues
• Major business districts: Aeropark, UA Tech Park
• Major organizations serving the visually impaired
• All time points listed on the website or in the Ride Guide
• Busiest stops- stops with an annual average of 80 or more riders disembarking per day from either direction (weekday average)
Additional policies related to major destinations
• Sun Tran will announce major destinations that are located within a quarter mile of the nearest bus stop.
• If multiple stops on a route serve a major destination, Sun Tran will announce the destination only one time. Sun Tran will make the announcement at either the first stop or the closest stop, and will make that determination on a case by case basis.
• An example of the first stop announcement: Route 1 travels on 4th Ave. and that stretch of 4th Ave. is a major destination. Sun Tran will announce “4th Ave at University” just the one time as it travels south on 4th Ave.
• An example of the closest stop announcement: Route 8 traveling by Park Place Mall. Sun Tran will announce “Broadway at Park Place Mall” at the stop closest to the main entrance.
• If there are 2 major destinations served by the same stop, Sun Tran will only announce one destination to keep announcement times to a minimum. Sun Tran will decide which is the most prominent destination based on where riders go and announce only that one. For example, the Amtrak station and Ronstadt Transit Center are at the same location. Because most riders are more interested in transferring to other buses rather than traveling via Amtrak, Sun Tran will announce only the Transit Center.
Announcements related to transfers to other routes
Sun Tran is required to announce transfers to other routes. This includes transfers to other Sun Tran routes, Express Routes, the Downtown Loop and Sun Shuttle routes to outlying communities. It will also include announcements to the Sun Link Modern Streetcar once passenger service is initiated.
A complicating factor in announcing transfers is that some of the routes mentioned above do not necessarily run the same hours. For example, some of the busier routes will run from 6 AM to 11:30 PM while other regular routes only run from 7 AM to 8 PM. Express routes run only during morning peak hours and evening peak hours. And Sun Shuttle routes also run a limited schedule. In addition, the automated system on a bus cannot distinguish when another bus is or isn’t running. As a result, Sun Tran will not announce “transfer to Route….” as this could be misleading. Alternative wording to mention a possible transfer is “with scheduled connections to Route…”, “with periodic connections to Route…”, “connection to Route…”, or “with transfers, when scheduled, to Route…”
In some cases, multiple routes serve some of the same bus stops while traveling on the same street. In these cases, transfer announcements will be made where the routes first come together, (at the first potential transfer location,) and at the last stop before the routes diverge, (at the last potential transfer location). Sun Tran will not announce all the transfer options between the first and the last transfer locations on roads shared by multiple routes.
Transfers in the downtown area: Detours, special events and construction in the downtown area frequently alter the routing of multiple routes. As a result, the crossing points of different routes in the downtown area change very often. These frequent changes make it impossible for Sun Tran to program automatic announcements of transfers in the downtown area. Riders that wish to hear announcements for transfers in the downtown area should request that their drivers personally make the announcements.
Stops requested by individuals
Sun Tran drivers are required to honor all requests from passengers to announce a bus stop. Drivers will make these announcements themselves. The passenger is not required to make this request upon boarding the bus. The passenger must, however, give the motor coach operator sufficient advanced notice so that the motor coach operator is able to announce and to safely stop at the requested bus stop. The driver will not ask if the rider has a disability but will announce any stop requested.
Sun Tran commits to make announcements at a minimum of every 5 minutes to orient visually impaired community as to their location. In most cases, additional announcements will not be necessary, however in some situations (e.g., neighborhood routes such as Route 2, 22 and 26 that cross few major intersections; Express buses traveling down Interstate) announcements will be made at specific locations to orient visually impaired passengers as to their location. If necessary, a stop will be announced that is not at a major intersection but is near midway between other announcements.
When the front door of the bus is opened the on-board announcement system will automatically announce the route number and the final destination that the bus is serving. This information will be announced from the bus’ curb side, external speakers. The system will be on at all times and it will not be limited to only buses on roads shared by multiple routes. The driver will not be able to turn on or off the external speaker system. Malfunctioning external speakers shall be reported the same day and shall be repaired in a timely manner.
Timing of the Bus Announcements
The ADA regulation specifies that that there must be sufficient time at the end of each announcement for (1) the individual to hear the announcement for their desired bus stop and to pull/push the “stop request” cord/button, (2) for the “stop request” bell and words to be sounded and displayed, and (3) for the motor coach operator to respond to this request by pulling safely over to the bus stop. The following variables influence the timing of the stop announcement: the amount of time it takes to complete the announcement, the reaction time of the passenger and driver, the estimated speed of the bus, and the accuracy (approximately 66 feet) of the signals from global positioning system (GPS) satellites. Each of these taken together determines the location at which the bus stop announcement should begin. This location is known as the “trigger point”.
In almost all cases, announcements will be triggered automatically at a distance of 600 feet (or 800 feet) from the location in question. This will allow for riders to hear the complete announcement, press the stop announcement tape, or pull the cord, and for drivers to be able to safely stop.
The speed of the bus is the factor that is most variable. On roads where buses travel faster, the trigger point must be adjusted so that the announcements start sooner.
Wording of the Announcements
Sun Tran will limit the length of the announcement as much as possible so that the announcement is triggered close to the stop being announced. Unfortunately, the speed of the announcement cannot be altered since riders with hearing impairments need the announcements to be spoken at a limited rate, but the number of words being announced can be controlled. Sun Tran hopes to limit all announcements to 6 to 8 seconds. As a result, the following wording will be used.
Wording for Major Stops: (just the name of major intersection, not “approaching…”) The street being traveled on will be mentioned first and the cross street second. See the examples below:
• Alvernon and Broadway
• 6th Ave and Ajo
• Prince and Flowing Wells
Wording for transfers: “with scheduled connection(s) to route….” No mention of word “transfer”. Instead of “scheduled”, could say “regular” or “daily”. What else? “with connections when scheduled to..” See the examples below:
• With scheduled connections to Route 3
• With scheduled connections to Routes 5, 9 & 20
Wording for Major Destinations: If a major destination is at a major intersection, then the destination will be preceded by the word “for”. If the major destination is not at a major intersection, then just the destination name will be announced. See the examples below:
• Mission and Ajo for Mission Library.
• Oury Neighborhood Center (not at major intersection)
Wording for orientation announcements: For Express buses traveling on long stretches with no stops. See the examples below:
• Traveling on I-10 toward downtown Tucson (if this can’t be done automatically, then drivers will need to do this manually)
Combinations of announcements: For combinations of announcements involving major stops, transfers and/or destinations, see the examples below:
• Major stops & transfers: Alvernon and Broadway with scheduled connections to Routes 8 & 108X
• Major stops, transfers & destinations: Euclid and 6th St. for Tucson High School with scheduled connections to Routes 8 & 108X.
Participation of other local transit systems for Bus Stop Announcement Plan
Sun Express: Since Sun Express is a part of the Sun Tran fixed route system, Sun Express will comply with all aspects of this Bus Stop Announcement Plan with one exception: Because of the history of requests from Sun Express riders for more quiet and fewer announcements, the Orientation Announcements will be required every 8 minutes on Sun Express routes. In most cases of these cases, an announcement will be made to indicate continuous travel along a major roadway (e.g., I-10, Golf Links, Oracle, River). In other cases, a stop will be announced that is not at a major intersection but is near midway between other announcements.
Downtown Loop: The Downtown loop is a free fixed-route transit service that provides easy access to downtown community services, government offices, courts, educational facilities, and area businesses Monday thru Friday during regular work hours.
The Downtown Loop vans are not equipped with an automated annunciator system, so it is required that the operator use the PA system to announce major intersections, destinations, and transfer points to other routes. The operator will announce major destinations and intersections at each of the 13 stops it serves. The operator will announce the Ronstadt Center as the sole transfer point because (1) the Downtown Loop does not share the greater majority of its bus stops with Sun Tran, Sun Express, Sun Shuttle or the Sun Link Modern Streetcar, and (2) the routing downtown is so frequently detoured by construction efforts and special events.
Downtown Loop operators are required to honor all requests from passengers to announce a bus stop. Operators will make these announcements themselves. The passenger is not required to make this request upon boarding the bus. The passenger must, however, give the van operator sufficient advanced notice so that the van operator is able to announce and to safely stop at the requested stop. The operator will not ask if the rider has a disability but will announce any stop requested.
Sun Shuttle: Sun Shuttle will adopt all aspects of this Bus Stop Announcement Plan in the interest of seamless travel throughout the region.
Sun Van: As a paratransit provider that offers curb to curb services, Sun Van is not required to adhere to these FTA requirements for bus stop announcements
Sun Link: The Bus Stop Announcement Plan will be shared with the management team of the Sun Link Modern Streetcar when they are closer to providing passenger service.
Public participation in the development of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan
A draft of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan was developed and sent out to advocacy groups for public comment. A notice of a community input meeting and a copy of the draft were placed on the Sun Tran website and sent to visually impaired and disability advocacy groups such as (a) City of Tucson’s Commission on Disability Issues (CODI), (b) DIRECT Center for Independence, (c) Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired (SAAVI), (d) Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Center Blind Rehab Unit, (e) Tucson Society of the Blind, (f) Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind, (g) the Southeastern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Council of the Blind, and (h) assorted individuals that are active with disabled and blind communities and/or transit activists. Three public meetings were held for comment on the following dates: (1) public meeting open to all on 10/11/12, (2) the October Commission on Disability Issues (CODI) meeting on 10/17/12 and (3) a meeting for students, teachers and orientation & mobility trainers at Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind on 11/16/12. Individuals were able to provide comments during these meetings and were also able to submit comments by phone or e-mail.
On the following pages is a list of comments taken through the public participation process for the Bus Stop Announcement Plan. The comments were grouped together by topic, and are listed with Sun Tran’s responses to each comment.
Public Comments related to Bus Stop Announcement Plan
Sun Tran grouped similar comments together and the responses to these comments are provided below. Within each category, the responses mentioned most often in the community input process are listed first.
Announcement System Settings
Annunciator system volume:
Make it impossible for bus drivers to turn annunciator system off or reduce the volume.
Sun Tran response: Drivers can no longer turn the annunciator volume down. However, drivers can turn the system off in special situations. Sun Tran will not make it impossible for drivers to turn off the system, because there are some situations where this is necessary. (For example, when a bus stop is temporarily discontinued or the bus is on detour, Sun Tran does not want the annunciator to announce certain stops.) Drivers are required to get permission from a supervisor to turn the system off. In addition, whenever the annunciator system is turned off, a warning message is sent to the supervisors working in Dispatch.
Invest in annunciator systems that adjust the volume automatically based on ambient noise.
Sun Tran response: All of the Sun Tran buses currently have an ambient noise adjustment that is fully automatic, and Sun Tran can control the gain to slightly boost the volume level on all buses.
Older buses are slightly noisier, so announcements in older buses may need to be louder than in newer buses. Could you make announcements in these buses louder?
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran can control the gain to slightly boost the volume in the older buses.
Ambient noise is louder in the back. Is there a way to make the announcements louder in the back?
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran cannot differentially adjust the volume for different parts of the bus. We recommend that riders with vision and/or hearing impairments use the front of the bus whenever possible.
For internal and external announcements: research which frequencies are easiest to hear for hearing impaired community and make announcements at those frequencies. For example, rider says that he can’t hear high frequencies, and our announcements are all done Counter-examples abound where Mars in libra monthly horoscope proves not as ineffective, and Venus, not as unable to charm as one might believe. with a female voice.
Sun Tran response: It would be cost prohibitive for Sun Tran to re-record all of our on-board messages using a male voice, especially since it could be equally hard for other riders to hear lower frequencies. Sun Tran has determined that the higher pitched frequencies travel better through the low-pitched ambient bus noise.
Announcements should be made by recordings of real people, not a voice simulator.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will continue to work with recordings from real people.
Continue instructing the voice talent how to pronounce street names, route numbers, etc.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will continue to coach the voice talent on pronunciation.
General Comments about Announcements
Ensure that all announcements give riders enough time to respond and for drivers to safely pull over.
Sun Tran response: The annunciator system will be triggered to start the announcements at a distance of 600 feet from the stop in order to allow riders have enough time to respond and drivers enough space to safely pull over for a stop. Sun Tran will lengthen the trigger distance to allow for longer messages (or higher bus speeds) as needed on a case by case basis.
Quantity of announcements:
Too many announcements for destinations, transfers and intersections could be a distraction and annoying for passengers and drivers.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will attempt to limit the number of announcements. Our concern is that too many announcements will not only annoy customers, but also cause riders to tune them out as noise. For that reason, Sun Tran is currently planning to announce all stops near major arterials, but not smaller streets. However, Sun Tran will consider for the future also announcing stops near collector streets as well. This would ostensibly mean that a new announcement would on the average be made every half mile, as opposed to every mile. That decision will be made in the future depending on the quantity of announcements and the perceived need.
Announce everything (all destinations, all transfers) especially downtown.
Sun Tran response: The intent of the FTA regulation is to provide visually impaired riders cues as to their location, but not to turn all buses into tour guide buses. Sun Tran does not intend to announce all potential stops and all potential destinations, as this could be annoying to passengers. And downtown, very few announcements will be programmed into the annunciator system and made because the routes are so frequently detoured in this part of Tucson. Passengers can easily transfer to most other routes at the Ronstadt Transit Center. And passengers can always request that a particular stop (not on the annunciator list) be announced by the driver.
Length of announcements:
If there are multiple destinations & transfers in an area, then break them up so that the announcements are not so long: (e.g., at Broadway @ Wilmot, announce transfer to Route 3 (or 8) but don’t announce Fox News: Connecticut’s Exchange Director Defends Glitches, Fix to Come FridayEven Access Health, Connecticut’s state-based health health insurance exchange that is touted as one of the best in the country, can’t escape the case of the ‘glitch. Park Mall. Announce Park Mall only at entrance to Park Mall.)
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran plans to do this when possible.
Repeat the announcements just afterwards so that people can better process info.
Sun Tran response: There is not sufficient time to make the announcement and then repeat it. The bus would be past the intersection by the completion of the second announcement.
Get the external announcement system working for all buses and routes. One rider casino online said he never heard an external announcement from Sun Tran. Another only heard external announcements once or twice in 5 years.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran has determined that the external speakers get damaged over the years by being outside in the weather and especially when going through the bus wash. Sun Tran is looking into a fix for the external speaker system.
External announcements need to be louder and timed differently– not when doors are opening, the bus is braking, the brakes are letting off air, the bus is kneeling or the ramp/lift is being deployed. One travel instructor suggested that the external announcement is triggered 3 seconds after the doors open.
Sun Tran response: The external messages for Sun Tran buses are triggered whenever the doors open. Sun Tran believes that the problem of not being able to hear the message is principally with the damaged external speakers. Once that problem is addressed, Sun Tran will determine if the issue of the competing noises will still need to be addressed.
Investigate why external speakers stop working and come up with a temporary fix for existing buses. For example, tape plastic over speakers before sending it through bus wash.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran’s Maintenance and Parts Departments are looking for solutions to this problem. Once a workable solution is found, Sun Tran’s Parts Department will order new waterproof speakers and mechanical components to minimize the water damage. The Maintenance Department will then install the speakers and mechanical components. This will be a lengthy process, but Sun Tran is committed to repairing the external speakers on the entire fleet.
Set design specifications for future buses for the external speaker systems so that they don’t require temporary fixes or constant replacements.
Sun Tran response: The manufacturer of the Sun Tran buses (Gillig) has seen this scenario throughout the country and is addressing the problem. As a result, the newer Gillig buses have external speakers that are more water resistant.
If the speakers get ruined by the carwash or by the rain, can they be put just inside the doors and facing out?
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran is looking into many solutions to address the problem.
Look into what other bus systems do with this external speaker issue.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran communicated with ABQ Ride in Albuquerque and found that they use weather-proof speakers.
External Bus Announcements at Transit Centers:
As visually impaired riders are not certain where a bus is parked at the transit centers, an outside voice announcement system would minimize the need to ask others for assistance.
Sun Tran response: The external messages for Sun Tran buses are triggered when the doors open. Even if they could be programmed to repeat themselves while the door remains open, Sun Tran does not feel that it would be practicable and helpful to have multiple buses at a Transit Center simultaneously announcing their route numbers. Sun Tran will continue to identify the route number at the parking bays using large format type, high contrast backgrounds and Braille lettering. Sun Tran will be able to maintain consistent parking areas for routes at Ronstadt Center as construction winds down at both the Ronstadt Center and throughout downtown for the Modern Streetcar.
Announcements of Transfers
Don’t make announcements for transfer. They’re not as necessary as announcing the major intersections and external announcements.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will comply with the FTA’s requirement that transfers be announced.
I want to hear transfer announcements.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will comply with the FTA’s requirement that transfers be announced.
Wording for transfers:
Sun Tran asked for suggestions for the wording of announcements of transfers. The following suggestions were made:
• “Scheduled connections to Route….”
• “Periodic connections to Route…”
• “Scheduled routes”
• “Possible routes”
• “Transfer point for …”
• “Periodic scheduled connections to…”
• “Transfer available for …”
• “Transfer when available to Route 4”
• “Occasional connections to Route…”
• “Optional connections to Route…”
Sun Tran response: The pros and cons of the wording were discussed at length during the public meetings. After long discussion, Sun Tran staff decided it will be most beneficial and least confusing to use the wording “scheduled connections to Route….”
Announcements of Major Destinations
Announce major destinations only when the destinations are within two blocks of the bus stop. If a destination is more than two blocks away from the bus stop, then don’t announce it- even if it does fit the criteria for a major destination.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will announce major destinations that are within a quarter mile of a bus stop. This is roughly the same distance as two blocks. If the destination is further than a quarter mile away, then the destination will not be announced.
Can you make announcements for special events (like the 4th Ave St Fair, Tucson Rodeo, Gem Show…) as major destinations?
Sun Tran response: The process of adding and deleting programming for bus stop announcements is too cumbersome and time-consuming for temporary activities like special events.
Announcements of Major Intersections
Wording of announcements for Major Intersections:
I would prefer “Broadway at Alvernon” instead of “Broadway and Alvernon”. I can’t see which road I’m on, so the word “at” makes more sense.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran announces upcoming major intersections by first calling out the street being traveled, then the upcoming cross street. For example, for buses traveling on Broadway approaching Alvernon, the announcement is “Broadway & Alvernon”. Sun Tran will consider if there is sufficient funding to re-record all announcements of major intersections to change the wording from “and” to “at”.
Announcements where the stop is actually 1 -2 blocks away from the major intersection:
Could you mention the actual location of the bus stop and not just the major intersection? For example, the Campbell & Grant stop is actually Campbell at Edison. Don’t announce it as “Campbell @ Edison”, call it “Campbell & Grant @ Edison”. Or say “Campbell & Grant stopping at Edison”, or “Campbell and Grant, deboarding at Edison”
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran recognizes the confusion this issue may cause but believes the re-wording will be too lengthy and more confusing for more riders. Even if the stop is at Campbell and Edison, which is 1 block away from Campbell and Grant, it will be announced as “Campbell and Grant”.
When announcing a major intersection (e.g., “Campbell and Grant”), the stop should be named consistent with how it’s listed in the Ride Guide, website and Trapeze system (which Customer Service Representatives use). For example, in the Ride Guide the bus stop is listed as “Campbell & Grant”, but on the website it’s “Campbell & Edison”.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will work to make the stop names consistent between (1) announcements, (2) website, (3) Trapeze, and (4) Ride Guide. All four of these information sources will say the names of the two major street (e.g., “Campbell & Grant”).
Announcements and locations of stops relative to the intersection:
I would like to know about what corner the bus stop is on: Can you say North, South, East or West after announcing a major intersection? Or maybe Near or Far?
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran is concerned that the additional words will cause confusion and lengthen the message. Sun Tran requests that riders needing this information ask either the driver or a Customer Service Representative at 792-9222.
I would like to know how far away the stop is from the intersection.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran is concerned that the additional words will cause confusion and lengthen the message. Sun Tran requests that riders needing this information ask either the driver or a Customer Service Representative at 792-9222.
When there are two stops on both sides of a major intersection:
When there are bus stops on both sides of a major intersection, can Sun Tran announce both stops, but identify them as different by saying “before” or “after”, “north”or “south”, “east” or “west”. For example, at Grant & Oracle and Grant & Campbell, there are bus stops on both sides of the cross streets.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran requests that riders needing this information ask either the driver or a Customer Service Representative at 792-9222.
Drivers and announcements
Driver responsibilities related to announcements:
Require that bus drivers make announcements when annunciator system is down.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran requires, through our Operators’ Code of Conduct, that drivers make announcements when the annunciator system is not functioning. Sun Tran requests that riders call our Customer Service department (792-9222) when announcements are not made so that we can correct the situation.
Require that bus drivers personally make an announcement when requested by a rider instead of saying “listen for the announcement”.
Sun Tran response: Drivers are required to make announcements when requested by a rider. Sun Tran requests that riders call our Customer Service department (792-9222) when announcements are not made so that we can correct the situation.
Please allow everyone to make requests to the drivers for special announcements, not just people with disabilities.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran does not want drivers to be guessing or judging if a rider has a disability. As a result , Sun Tran directs drivers to make announcements for all riders making that request.
In case of driver neglecting to make an announcement:
Come up with a plan for riders with visual impairments to get to their stop if they miss it because the driver neglected or forgot to announce their stop. It’s a lot of trouble and potentially dangerous for visually impaired riders to get back to the right stop when dropped off on return route. This is especially true if the route is interlined, the streets are torn up by construction, there’s no crosswalk, or if the rider becomes disoriented.
Sun Tran response: Riders are encouraged to ask the drivers to call Dispatch for solutions to these situations. Sun Tran will send a supervisor, when available, to assist the situation and possibly offer the passenger a ride. This won’t always be possible, but Sun Tran will do what it can to assist in these situations.
Developing the Bus Stop Announcement Plan
Refining the Bus Stop Announcement Plan:
Consider “beta-testing” the new Bus Stop Announcements for first 2 months. Allow people to comment if the announcements are too many, too few, too soon, too late, too quiet, too long, too brief, etc.
Sun Tran response: Re-programming the annunciator system to include all the new announcements will be a very time-intensive and costly project. Re-doing it again after two months would be prohibitive. Unfortunately, making changes to the programming of the annunciator system can make the entire on-board software system crash. As a result, Sun Tran’s Information Technology department makes changes to the programming only when essential. As a result, it’s also not possible for Sun Tran to roll out the new set of announcements for various bus routes at different dates.
Process of developing the Bus Stop Announcement Plan:
Please send updated notes and Bus Stop Announcement Plan back to the visually/ cognitively impaired community.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will send the Bus Stop Announcement Plan with all public comments and Sun Tran’s responses back to the visually impaired and disabled community when the plan is finalized.
Meet again with group from 10/11/12 meeting (Tucson Society of the Blind, Transit Task Force, Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind) when the Bus Stop Announcement Plan has been updated.
Sun Tran response: A follow-up meeting will be scheduled with participants from the 10/11/12 meeting when the plan is updated to summarize the new Bus Stop Announcement Plan.
Send out powerpoint describing the key points of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan and the Bus Stop Announcement Plan draft to all visually/ cognitively impaired community and ask for comments by phone or email.
Sun Tran response: The powerpoint describing the key points of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan and the drafts of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan were sent out to an extensive list from the visually impaired and disabled community the week after the 10/11/12 meeting.
Process of getting public input for Bus Stop Announcement Plan:
Do additional outreach to develop Bus Stop Announcement Plan.
Sun Tran response: The powerpoint describing the key points of the Bus Stop Announcement Plan and the Bus Stop Announcement Plan were sent out to an extensive list from the visually impaired and disabled community the week after the 10/11/12 meeting. Phone calls were also made to various leaders in the visually impaired community to invite to meetings and to enlist input.
Host additional meetings besides public meeting on 10/11/12 with increased marketing and outreach efforts. For example, at ASDB, SAAVI, Pima Council on Aging, and especially with students and staff at ASDB because many of the students haven’t yet been trained in how to use the system.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran invited staff, students and clients of both Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind and Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired for an additional public outreach event. The event, held at Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind on 11/16/12, was attended by 29 additional members of the visually impaired community.
Advertise via Sun Sounds which is news radio for the blind.
Sun Tran response: This was done prior to the first public outreach meeting on 10/11/12.
Do outreach with state legislators on White Cane Day (10/14/12) in Phoenix.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran did not see that this would directly result in gathering more community input for the Bus Stop Announcement Plan.
Work with organizations like ASDB, American Council for the Blind, SAAVI for outreach.
Sun Tran response: Outreach efforts were coordinated with ASDB and SAAVI for both the 10/11/12 and the 11/16/12 meetings. Leadership from the Southeastern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Council of the Blind were invited to the 10/11/12 meeting.
Research for developing Bus Stop Announcement Plan:
Look at what other systems (e.g., Atlanta, Santa Fe, DC) are doing with their announcements before we make decisions in a vacuum. Even if they have not yet started responding to the new FTA regulation, the new regulation may have been based on what they currently do.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran participated in a Project Action webinar on Bus Stop Announcement Policy on 2/13/13 which summarized many best practices for Bus Stop Announcements in the country. Sun Tran’s Bus Stop Announcement Plan is in line with these best practices.
Who the Bus Stop Announcement Plan should work for:
Make sure the Bus Stop Announcement Plan works for veterans and other riders that aren’t so well coached as some in visually impaired community. (Many veterans with PTSD and new impairments are very reluctant to ask for help.)
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran will continue to work with the Blind Rehab Unit of the Southern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Health Clinic on issues related to traveling by bus.
Make Bus Stop Announcement Plan work for all riders, not just for people with visual and cognitive impairments.
Sun Tran response: Sun Tran’s Bus Stop Announcement Plan and the new FTA regulations related to Bus Stop Announcements are designed to assist riders with visual and cognitive impairments. Sun Tran realizes that many of the new announcements will also be helpful for riders without impairments, even though these riders are not the primary target group..