Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 TAM Excellence Awards!
Outstanding Program - TransIT Services of Frederick County
TransIT Services of Frederick County implemented a number of innovative and improved services to their customers over the past year. TransIT was recognized for its efforts in implementing its Taxi Access Program (TAP) for seniors and persons with disabilities. This innovative program benefits customers in the following ways:
- TAP service is available 24/7/365 and has greatly increased options for TransIT's customers. Customers of various social service agencies in Frederick County now use both paratransit and TAP to fill their transportation needs.
- A feature was added to TransIT's mobile ticket app, EZFare, to allow human service agencies, parents and others to set up an online account to purchase any number of mobile tickets and push them to any number of client or family member phones. This enables human service agencies to buy in bulk and push tickets as needed to get their clients to their services using transit. The agency bulk ticket process, called the Online Ticket Center, is the first of its kind in the nation. This process allows agencies whose siloed funds may be difficult to maximize efficiently, can now use them to purchase tickets, run reports to see use of the tickets and respond to needs on a moment's notice.
- TAP customers are now able to get to their required appointments on the spur of the moment, even nights and weekends. Working with human service agencies, mobile ticket options allow them to get their clients to services on a moment's notice. Both of these projects involved significant outreach to human service agencies and the public to educate and train them to make the most of their options.
TransIT has worked with the Religious Coalition, Workforce Services, Goodwill, the Dept of Social Services, the Dept. of Aging, and many more for TAP and mobile ticketing. Our staff has made presentations on both programs more than 20 times to ensure our community is taking advantage of the services available. TAM considers this program to have set a new standard for excellence in Maryland Transit and we are pleased to award them the Outstanding Program award of 2016.
Driver of the Year - Jeffrey Raines, TransIT Services of Frederick County
Jeff is a leader's leader. His insight into TransIT's operation is frequently offered and is always valuable. He is highly respected by the entire organization. Jeff is a multi-functional operator who is able to transition into other tasks without a second thought. His caliber of expertise, professionalism, and dependability is of the highest level and is unmatched by any of his peers.
He has perfect attendance and is accident free. He is outgoing and friendly with the customers. His paperwork is impeccable. He has driven for the organization for 5 years, 4 part-time and 1.5 full-time. He is always ready to assist in any way at a moment's notice and frequently fills in driving or even dispatching. His coworkers have the highest regard for Jeff, and when he speaks they listen.
Jeff shares his insights on routes and services and they are valuable and acted upon. A recent onboard assessment by his supervisor noted: "Jeff drivers professionally, handling the bus efficiently. He cares about his job, his route and his customers, staying on schedule so his reliable to his customers. He is dependable and prompt and graciously volunteers for extra work. Great job. "
Jeff was an ideal candidate to be nominated for Driver of the Year because of his perfect attendance, no accidents or incidents, and his professional demeanor and appearance. His peers selected him as the nominee from Frederick Transit. Jeff is highly deserving to be named TAM Driver of the Year.
Friend of Transit - Nicky Pires, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland
Nicky works tirelessly to improve the efficiency and coordination of transportation services within the Southern Maryland region.. In just the past year she has have helped to develop a tri-county light and medium duty bus purchase, assisted a non profit to obtain grant funding to enhance out of county medical trips, conducted regional wheelchair securement training workshops. She has provided a great level of support to a regional study that examined the expansion of transit routes in three counties to a new college campus under construction and periodically conducts driver hiring events for any agency choosing to participate. Nicky is now examining the feasibility of conducting some regional dispatching with non profits to expand travel options and improve coordination. She works diligently with the various Human Service agencies to effect coordination between themselves and the Locally Operated Transit systems(LOTS) in the region. She is a member of the St. Mary's Transit Transportation Advisory Committee and regularly attends the Calvert - St. Mary's MPO meetings.
There is never a favor asked that is not gladly responded to with more effort than expected. Nicky has even conducted unannounced mystery rides with constructive written observations to help the regional transit agencies improve their services. Nicky is a true professional willing to passionately assist any agency providing transportation services with their time, expertise and energy to improve services. For all the above reasons and more, Nicky Pires is worthy of being recognized as a Friend of Transit.
Unsung Hero - Beverly Walenga, KFH Group (MTA)
Beverly has been with the Office of Local Transit Support (OLTS) for almost two years. She is reffered to to her as their "Financial Wizard". OLTS has never been afforded the opportunity of having someone with a extensive background in finance along with the knowledge of the Local Operating Transit System (LOTS) world. She came on-board and hit the ground running. She has instituted numerous practices, spreadsheets and other tools that have made a tremendous difference in OLTS' ability to follow and provide financial management and guidance regarding FTA regulations.
Beverly's contributions actually benefit all the transit systems in Maryland. Anything she does in OLTS to make the Regional Planner's (RP) more effective/efficient when dealing with their LOTS is a direct benefit to everyone. When a LOTS submits a Request for Payment (Invoice) to their RP, it goes to Beverly first to make sure that funding is available in the grant and then is logged into a system for tracking. The invoice then goes to the RP for approval and payment is processed. This function used to be done in another department (Capital Programming) and could add up to 3-5 additional days to an already very tight turnaround time.
Beverly takes great pride in her work and she tries to keep her attitude positive at all times. The unanimous and fulsome praise of all those with the privilege of working with Beverly means that TAM is honored to name her our Unsung Hero of 2016.
Outstanding Business Partner - Kingsbury Uniforms
Kingsbury Uniforms has been a valuable member of TAM for many years, and has been a vital partner in TAM's efforts to put on events such as the Conference & Expo and the Annual Roadeo. Kingsbury has been a go-to source for Maryland transit agencies' uniform needs for years. Their professionalism, quality of service, and willingness to go the extra mile makes Kingsbury Uniforms the obvious choice for TAM's Oustanding Business Partner of 2016.