After you have set up your system in the Utility and learned how to use the individual features, it is time to see how they all work together to make Easy Rides live up to its name. These examples illustrate a typical day’s use of Easy Rides.
First, we launch Easy Rides. It opens to the most current day schedule.
Brian, one of our drivers, called in sick, so we’ll have to open the Route Assignments window and change the driver assignment of the Wiley route. Tom is available, so we can assign him.
Once we have the routes configured and as many trips from the pool assigned to routes as possible, we can print the manifests and give them to the drivers as they come in.
After each driver has a manifest in hand, we move the trip tickets for that route to the Sent Board this helps keep track of the big picture.
As each driver leaves the lot, they’ll call in their beginning mileage to us on the radio and we will Log the Route in Service. Notice that the routes that are in dead heading to their first pickup are shaded yellow, the ones in revenue service are shaded white and the one not yet in service is gray.
It would be a good idea to put all of the Will Call returns in a route of their own and print that manifest for all drivers to take. This way, when the passenger calls and we decide which driver is closest and available to do the trip, we can call the driver on the radio and simply say Mr. Green who is on the Will Call list is ready to go home. Since the driver already has all of the needed information from the manifest we won’t need to repeat it on the air.
Since we are dispatching “Live”, drivers will call at every trip stop and we will mark the trip tickets On Board and later Delivered as appropriate by moving these trips as the driver calls, we don’t have to record the actual On Board and Delivery times because Easy Rides automatically time stamps those for us. If we miss a radio call we can also open the Trip Ticket and Edit on the fly by manually overwriting the time stamps.
A driver has just informed us a client is now using a walker while recovering from surgery. We’ll need to edit their Client file (for future trips), existing Reruns (for future day schedules) and any Regular Trip Tickets (already created) so we can provide the most appropriate level of service for them. It’s important to remember to make the changes in all three places.
Another driver is calling us on the radio because a passenger isn’t answering the door. We can look up their phone number in the Client file and gave them a call. In this instance they didn’t answer so we’ll mark the trip as a “No Show” and tell the driver to proceed to the next stop.
The phone is ringing. It’s Ms. Peacock she has a family member dropping her off at Memorial Atrium Imaging but needs a ride home on Monday the 19th. We open the Planner and take a look at Monday. We can see at a glance a gap in route Daisy between 1000 and 1100. We click on the ticket in the 0915 time slot and see the driver is picking-up a customer nearby so we negotiate a 1000 pickup for Ms Peacock. We click on the 1000 time slot on the Daisy route, click New Trip and begin to type in her name.
The search results instantly change with each letter we type and we locate her name on the list right away. We double click on her name and a new trip form is opened. Since the Client’s file already has most of her default trip ticket information entered, we basically just need to enter the addresses, Purpose and Rate type and the time and route are already entered into the form because we scheduled directly from the timeslot on a route in the Planner. We’ll use the Next Leg feature to schedule the return (or other trips). This makes scheduling multiple trips almost effortless. Before we are off the phone with the Ms. Peacock we have her trip scheduled, assigned to a route and in the system. While looking at the Planner, we noticed the Sharon route only has one trip scheduled in the morning. We can give that trip to another Driver and have the Driver for Sharon come in later in the day when we need more coverage and this will make much better use of our resources. As soon as we hang up, the phone rings again and it’s the No Show from earlier. We press Ctrl+F on the keyboard to open the Find Trips tool. We begin typing the name and locate the No Show ticket. Unfortunately, he forgot to tell us to come to the back door and we’ll enter that Information into the Default Trip Notes section of his Client file so we don’t repeat the mistake. We call the Driver and send him back to pick-up the Client. At the same time, we double-click on the ticket and change the Conditional Trip back to “Sent” because we have notified the Driver.
Now that it’s late in the day and things are starting to wind down a bit, this would be a good opportunity to create New Day Schedules early next week. We can also setup tomorrow’s Schedule by attempting to find assignments for the tickets in the Pool. We’ll use Route Parameter Replication to instantly make the same vehicle/Driver route assignments as yesterday then make any necessary adjustments. This saves us a lot of time since we won’t have to manually make each Driver and each Vehicle assignment for all of the routes. Throughout the day we are moving trip tickets between routes as the situation changes and of course, moving trips to On Board and Delivered as they happen. This way, we always have a nearly up to the minute situational display of all of the routes, which trips have been communicated (Sent) to the Drivers, who’s On Board at the moment, which routes are in or out of revenue and non-revenue service, which Will Call Returns we are waiting on and which have yet to be assigned. Of course, once a trip has been Delivered, Suspended, Cancelled, No Showed, Denied or Deleted we no longer need them displayed on the Board but always have access to them if we need in “Find A Trip”. After a Driver has delivered the last Client on their route, they call us on the radio and we log the route in non-revenue service as they “Dead Head” back to the garage. Their route column is now colored yellow and there are no more trip tickets. When they arrive at the garage they call in with their ending mileage so we can log them out of service for the day (turning the route column grey). When the Driver comes into the office with the completed manifest we will use Easy Rides to Reconcile Fares.
When all of the other routes are finished for the day, we’ll double check all areas of the Schedule and Sent Boards do not have any un-handled trip tickets. One easy way to do this is to look at today’s tab on the Planner. Hopefully, all of the trip tickets will be colored grey. If not, we’ll know something got overlooked and open the trip ticket to handle it.
Once there are no trip tickets left in any of our routes on the Dispatch board for today, and we have reconciled each Driver’s fare box revenues, we’ll archive the day in the Utility. This will move the trip tickets out of the current status and into the archives for billing and reporting. Before we’re ready to bill (or report) however, we’ll use the “Edit Delivered Trips” tool in the Utility to make any corrections necessary.
Our day is finally done, but in the transportation industry we often wear many different hats in our daily jobs. In addition to scheduling and dispatching, we’ll need to do the billing and generate a variety of reports once the month changes. It’s important for us to know which pickup and delivery addresses are the most popular and what time of day people frequent those destinations, what our on-time pickup performance is like, and how well we’re serving the population.
Of course the state wants trip information broken down and displayed in lots of different categories too. We need some reports in a specific format so we’ll export some data sets that we have prepared in the Rides Analyzer and then open a Microsoft Excel workbook that will automatically update itself. Then we’ll just print the formatted reports and graphs. We also have some very complex billing requirements.
Fortunately, Easy Rides makes all of these tasks easy for us to produce and once all of the delivered trips have been processed and are accurate, it only takes a few minutes to blast an electronic billing to the state right from the Easy Rides Utility.
Thank you for spending some time learning about Easy Rides. It may seem like a lot of information now, but you’ll be a pro in no time, and we’re confident you’ll come to understand how Easy Rides gets its name!