StarMetro has recently received numerous awards from the Florida Public Transportation Association and the American Public Transportation Association for safety and marketing.
StarMetro was honored at the 2011 FPTA annual conference with two first place awards for “Most Improved Safety” and “Overall Safety Record.”
For the Overall Safety Record, the FPTA examines the accident reports per 10,000 miles for the previous fiscal year, according to Heather Teter, Marketing Specialist for StarMetro.
“They [StarMetro] are very safe and very helpful with students like me who are from out of state,” said Victoria Hawkins, first-year biology student from Hampton, Va. “They deserve it.”
For FPTA, an accident is any collision that causes $25,000 in damages or if someone involved in the accident dies. For FY2009-2010, StarMetro had no reported accidents. StarMetro also received third place for “Top Mechanic Award.”
“For the past six years, we have consistently placed in the maintenance category,” said Ron Garrison, executive director of StarMetro, in a press release dated Nov. 8. “In fact, we’ve placed every year except one.”
StarMetro was also the recipient for two second-place awards in “Electronic Media-Other” and “Electronic Media-Radio” as well as third place in the “Instructional Information” category.
The “Electronic Media-Other” award was for seven webisodes posted online that educated the public about the new routes, how to make parallel and perpendicular transfers and how to stay safe. These webisodes are still on the website.
Nationally, StarMetro was awarded first place in the “Print Media/Schedule” category for the revamping of the Ride Guide. Opposed to the cumbersome, fold-out map that shows all routes and times at once, the Ride Guide is now a booklet that opens twice revealing four distinct panels. In these panels are individual timetables and routes, making it easier for the StarMetro patron to pick the right bus.
“That is the award I am most proud of because that puts StarMetro in the national spotlight,” said Teter. “First place in a national competition is very, very good and shows what we can do for StarMetro with our marketing. All of the awards came from the campaign for the new system.”
Some StarMetro patrons still find the route system to be too complicated, while others believe the marketing of the new route helped patrons understand the routes.
“A lot of people I know think the routing system is off,” said Ashley Johnson, a first-year pre-nursing student from Orlando. “You have to take three different buses to get to one place and then you have to take a completely different route to get back to where you were originally.”
Hawkins disagreed, and said riding the bus and finding her routes has been easier since the new system was implemented.
“It is easier to find the time how they have it laid out. I know for me the biggest thing is finding out the time the bus is coming,” said Hawkins.
The StarMetro para-transit division also received three second-place awards at the 19th annual Transportation Disadvantaged Best Practices and Training Workshop.
The awards were for “Innovations of the Year,” “Dispatch Scheduler of the Year” and “Urban Coordinator of the Year.”