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Basic Information
Costs / Fares
Emergency Information
Inclement Weather Policy
No Show Policy
Other Van Rules
Passenger Assistance
Passenger Comment and Complaint Procedures
Pickup Times & Destinations
Reasonable Modification of Policy
Rides
Safety
Service Animals
Transit System Responsibilities
Wheelchair Transportation

 

Basic Information


Definition of Terms

Passenger is defined as an individual who has completed the enrollment process with an agency or OUTS Transportation. Each passenger must be either approved, authorized, or be a member of the general public to receive transportation services.

Accessible Service is defined as transportation services utilizing vehicles and facilities for passengers in wheelchairs and/or passengers with other special needs.

Attendant/Escort is defined as an individual who is authorized to ride with and provide assistance to a passenger.

Demand-Response Service is defined as daily, weekly, and/or monthly scheduled appointments. This type of trip can also be shared use transportation service operating in response to calls from passengers or their agency, or a vehicle is scheduled to pick up the passengers to transport them to their destinations.

Fare is a fee charged to general public to ride transportation, usually stated for a one-way trip.

General Public/Private Pay refers to those individuals whose trip will not be paid by an agency or Medicaid. Passengers will be required to pay set fare at time of boarding vehicle.

No Show is defined as “no passenger transported from a destination”. Transportation either arrives or is en-route to a passenger and the passenger did not get on the vehicle for transport and did not give proper notification of cancellation.

Proper Notification for city and county trips is defined as the need for a passenger or agency to call at least two (2) hours prior to the appointment time; however, passengers are encouraged to cancel as soon as possible.

Proper Notification for an out of county trip is 5:00 p.m. the day before the needed transportation. If the transportation is a Monday, cancellation should be made by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before. If the out of county trip is the day after a holiday, the cancellation must be made by 5:00 p.m. the day before the holiday.

Subscription Service is defined as service in which passengers register for rides for a predetermined period and only have to call the office to change or cancel the subscription.

Will Call
Call OUTS when ready. Passengers will have to wait until the next available van going into his/her area. (Only allowed for medical appointments)

Drop off is defined as a passenger being picked up from residence and needing to be dropped off at a location by a specific time.

Return trip is defined as a passenger being picked up from a location by a specified time and needing to go home.

Same day change refers to a passenger requesting to alter their pre-scheduled trip on the day of travel. OUTS does not authorize same day changes.

Description of Service

OUTS operates subscription, demand response, general public transportation and ADA Complementary Paratransit Service throughout all of Onslow County. Transportation out of county is also available and the schedule can be found on our website www.onslowunitedtransit.org or by contacting our office.

Who can ride?
Service is provided to passengers needing transportation to medical appointments, work, daycare, shopping, social and recreation activities, etc. OUTS also contracts with several agencies in Onslow County and provides transportation for their clients.

Door to door as needed
Service is origin-to-destination. Assistance is provided from the vehicle to the first doorway for passengers who need additional assistance to complete the trip. Please refer to the Passenger Assistance section for more information.

Non-emergency transportation
OUTS provides non-emergency transportation only. If a passenger is unable to sit up, has severe pain, or other debilitating problems, this agency cannot transport them.

OUTS’ fleet
OUTS’ fleet consists of a total of 20 vehicles with 14 of those vehicles being lift equipped, 4 non-lift vehicles, and two mini-vans. All vehicles are equipped with two-way radios and cameras.

Hours of Operation

Subscription, demand response, and general public.
Monday – Friday from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

ADA Complementary Paratransit service (Follows Jacksonville Transit Schedule)
• Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. until 7:55 p.m.
• Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays 10:00 a.m. until 7:55 p.m.

Out of County Service
Please call the office during regular business hours for more information.
Passengers traveling out of county will be sharing a ride with others and may be away from home all day. You will need to pack any food and medication needed.

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Costs / Fares


1. Fares are based on program specifications and address of destination for each one-way trip. Staff will advise you of your fare when you are first set up for service.

2. Fares will be collected at time of boarding the vehicle. You must have exact change. Drivers will not issue change.

3. Passengers have the option of purchasing tickets. Please contact the office for more information.

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Emergency Information


OUTS is responsible for the safe operation and management of transportation service. In order to carry out this responsibility with the assistance of other agencies, the following procedures will be used in the event of inclement weather.

Natural Disaster
In the event of an emergency or national disaster, all scheduled transportation service will be discontinued. Every effort will be made to take those passengers who are en route or at appointments to their homes as quickly as possible. OUTS will assist the county emergency management services to provide emergency transportation service in the event of a disaster. The system vehicles will be used to transport disabled and or the elderly, and any other citizen to safe shelters when notified by the county.

Procedures
In case of an accident or other emergency the passenger should:

1. Follow the driver’s instructions.

2. Remain calm

3. Maintain orderly evacuation of the vehicle, if warranted.

4. Stay off roadway in a safe location.

5. Refrain from smoking anywhere near the vehicle.

6. Call for emergency response if the driver is incapacitated.

7. Drivers will provide detailed and accurate reports of all accidents/incidents, using the system’s accident/incident reporting forms.

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Inclement Weather Policy (example snow, ice, hurricane)

OUTS vans and personnel will observe the Onslow County Public School recommendations / actions concerning operation during inclement weather. However, the Director makes the final decision. If the County Schools are delayed, the Director will make the final decision in reference to transit services for that day.

If the schools are closed for a period of more than three days due to poor road conditions, it will be the OUTS Director, in conjunction with the EOC, decision to resume limited or regular service.

This cancellation is for the safety of passengers and system personnel. The Director/designee will contact designated TV/radio stations with any inclement weather announcements.

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No Show Policy

1. When the vehicle arrives at passenger’s home, this starts the passenger’s five minute boarding time. The driver may attempt to get a response by using the horn where allowed.

2. If the passenger is not on the van within five minutes, the driver will mark the passenger as a no-show and move on to the next pick up.

3. If a no-show occurs, all subsequent trips on the same day will remain on the schedule unless the rider specifically cancels the trips. To avoid multiple no-shows on the same day, riders are strongly encouraged to cancel any subsequent trips they no longer need that day.

4. OUTS will notify the agency on a daily basis of any no-shows.

5. OUTS understands passengers may miss scheduled trips or be unable to cancel trips in a timely manner for reasons that are beyond their control. OUTS staff will ensure accuracy before recording them in a passenger’s account.

6. Suspension of transportation will occur if a passenger shows a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips.

7. If a passenger is riding under an OUTS program, the suspension process is as follows:

a. 1st occurrence = no action taken
b. 2nd occurrence = warning letter mailed to passenger’s residence
c. 3rd occurrence = passenger transportation service is suspended for 30 days.
d. 1st occurrence after reinstatement = service terminated until next fiscal year
e. Any further occurrences = service may be terminated indefinitely

8. To dispute a no-show, the passenger will need to contact the office via phone, email, or website to explain the circumstances and request the removal of the no-show. Passengers must contact the office within five (5) business days of receiving the suspension letter. Contact information is provided on page 19.

9. NO SHOW POLICIES VARY FOR EACH AGENCY. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CHECK WITH YOUR AGENCY TO FIND OUT THEIR NO SHOW POLICY.

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Other Van Rules

A passenger’s transportation can be terminated by OUTS due to misconduct, disruptive, abusive, or inappropriate behavior towards other passengers or driver. This behavior will not be tolerated.

1. North Carolina Law requires the driver and all passengers to wear seatbelts and the shoulder harness attached to the vehicle when the vehicle is in motion. Passengers will be denied transportation services if they choose not to abide by the seat belt policy.

2. No person will be permitted to board any vehicle unless:

• The person is a bona-fide fare paying passenger
• The person’s name appears on the driver’s manifest
• The person has been verbally added to a schedule by the dispatcher
• The person is an OUTS employee

3. Five minutes is the maximum waiting time for any scheduled passenger. Repeated delays by the same passenger will be reported to the supervisor for appropriate action.

4. Eating, drinking, and the use of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes are not permitted on the vehicle.

5. Use of profanity is not allowed. Continual use of profanity may result in suspension of service.

6. Misbehavior on the van will not be tolerated. Examples of misbehavior include but are not limited to: a passenger not remaining seated and/or buckled when the van is in motion, yelling or talking loudly, and fighting on the vehicle.

7. Two (2) carry on items (i.e., grocery bags, backpacks, etc.) are limited to availability of space and whether the passenger can safely control and handle them. Passengers must secure items by holding them in their lap.

8. Lack of personal hygiene is offensive to others. Passengers should be clean before boarding the vehicle.

9. No horseplay of any kind is allowed.

10. Possessions of alcohol and/or illegal drugs are not allowed. Prior use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before boarding the vehicle will result in denial of transportation.

11. Weapons (knives or firearms and other items that may be used as a weapon) WILL NOT be allowed on an OUTS vehicle.

12. No inappropriate display of affection or sexual activity with the driver or another passenger.

13. No release of human waste, including spitting, on the vehicle will be permitted. This does not include instances of vomiting due to treatments, medication, illness, or disability.

14. Aside from the collection of fares, drivers will have no other financial dealing with passengers. This includes but is not limited to the borrowing or lending of money, the acceptance of monetary gifts or the acceptance of tips or other remuneration for services rendered.

15. Infraction of van rules and regulations could result in termination or suspension from riding the vehicle. However, if it is decided that a passenger will be suspended for an offense, the following is the suspension policy for passengers:

• First offense 3 days
• Second offense 5 days
• Third 10 days

After the third offense OUTS may suspend the offender for an indefinite period or terminate all transportation privileges.

The driver will reserve the right to refuse transport to any passenger who appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Onslow United Transit System, Inc. requests that all passengers conduct themselves with courtesy and consideration to the driver and other passengers. OUTS van rules are to be obeyed. The driver will monitor on-vehicle behavior. All instructions from the driver are to be followed by the passenger. OUTS reserves the right to refuse service based on violation of agency rules and regulations. OUTS van rules are posted on all vehicles and a copy is available upon request. At no time can OUTS force a passenger to ride the vehicle.

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Passenger Assistance

1. Attendants are not required however; OUTS drivers will only provide assistance with the following:

a. Use of lifts, ramps, and securement systems
b. From the vehicle to the first doorway and/or from the first doorway to the vehicle
c. Over snow, ice, and minor obstacles unless there is a direct threat to the health and safety of others
d. Pushing a manual wheelchair up/down ramps and/or slopes as long as there is no direct threat to the health or safety of others.
e. OUTS’ drivers will not ...

i. Provide “attendant services”
ii. Lift or carry a rider
iii. Take control of a service animal at any time
iv. Take control of an electric wheelchair

f. Passenger is responsible for furnishing his or her own Personal Care Attendant (PCA).
g. One (1) PCA can ride for free. Depending on program eligibility and space availability, additional guests may be allowed but must pay a fare.

2. Passengers must be able to carry their own personal items. Passenger bags and packages must be in control of the passenger at all times. Please refer to Other Van Rules #7 for more information.

3. At no time will drivers enter a residence to assist a passenger.

4. OUTS does not transport unaccompanied children under the age of 16. An adult must accompany. Prior approval from the Director/Designee is required for children ages 16 or 17 wanting to travel without an adult.

5. Passengers needing mobility aids, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. must provide their own.

6. Passengers scheduled for appointments will not be transported if the following symptoms are evident:

• Chest pains
• Shortness of breath
• Severe nausea
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Abdominal pain
• Labor pain

If the driver finds the passenger in distress at any time, the driver will notify OUTS dispatch, and dispatch will recommend transport by the local emergency services – dispatch will contact 911 if requested.

7. In the case that a responsible adult is needed at the drop off location and the responsible adult is not at that stop, the agency will be notified. After two incidents further action may be taken.

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Passenger Comment and Complaint Procedures

OUTS is committed to being responsive to passenger experiences about transportation services and welcome feedback. Any comments/complaints may be addressed by calling the Director or Operations Supervisor at (910) 346-2998; submitting it online through OUTS website; or in writing to the following address:

Onslow United Transit System, Inc.
Executive Director
PO Box 1548
Jacksonville, NC 28541

Comment and complaint procedures are as follows:

1. Director/Designee will review the complaint and if needed obtain further details from the passenger within 24-48 hours.

2. Personnel interviews and data investigation will be conducted, if necessary, within 24-48 hours.

3. Corrective measures will be taken upon completion of investigation immediately.

4. The passenger making the complaint will be notified within five (5) working days of the status of the complaint.

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Pickup Times & Destinations

Drop off (Pick Up Time Going To Your Destination)

• Passengers must be ready 1 to 2 hours before the requested drop off time depending upon where you live within the county and where you are going.

• Passengers should begin to board when the vehicle arrives and MUST BE ON THE VEHICLE WITHIN 5 MINUTES AFTER THE ARRIVAL OF THE VEHICLE. DRIVERS WILL NOT WAIT LONGER FOR PASSENGERS WHO ARE NOT READY AT PICK UP TIME. EXTRA TIME MAY BE GRANTED TO PERSONS WITH SEVERE DISABILITES (Providing this information beforehand helps to ensure proper scheduling). A “NO-SHOW” WILL OCCUR IF THE PASSENGER DOESN’T BOARD IN TIME.

• Every night beginning at 7:00 p.m (This time may be adjusted by OUTS discretion), OUTS IVR system starts calling passengers informing them the time to be ready for next day transportation.

• Actual pick up times will fluctuate based on cancellations and no-shows occurring the day of your trip. The driver may arrive 15 minutes before or after your scheduled pick up time. Please make sure you are ready.

• “On The Way” calls are also available upon request. The IVR will call 15 or 30 minutes before van is expected to be at pick up location.

• For Out of County – passengers’ pick up times will be based on the destination city and the earliest appointment drop off time scheduled for that day.

Return Trip (Pick Up Time Going Home)

1. You will be picked up from your destination within 45 minutes to 1 hour of the scheduled pick up time depending upon where you live in the county.
2. For Out of County – pick-ups will not begin until all passengers have contacted the OUTS Driver stating they are ready.
3. Medical Appointments
If not ready at the designated time, passenger will be made a “Will Call” and will need to call the office once they are ready. You will be picked up by the next available vehicle going to your area.
4. All Other Appointments
If not ready, a “No Show” will occur.

Pick Up Destination
Passengers must be present at pre-scheduled location. If you travel to a different location than what was previously scheduled, you will not be picked up. Drivers will not proceed to other locations in an attempt to find you.

Drop off Destinations
Passengers are to be dropped off at pre-scheduled destination. Drivers will confirm the passenger’s identity & their destination at time of boarding. No special stops or side trips will be made unless approved by the dispatcher.

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Reasonable Modification of Policy

Requests for reasonable modification may be addressed by calling the Director or Operations Supervisor at (910) 346-2998; or submitting it online request through OUTS website; or in writing to the following address:

Onslow United Transit System, Inc.
Executive Director
PO Box 1548
Jacksonville, NC 28541

Requests must include the following elements:
• Description of what the individual needs in order to use the service
• Individual’s contact information

Request Procedures are the same as the comment and complaint procedures. During initial passenger eligibility determination, individuals are encouraged to inform OUTS staff of any other concerns or issues not discussed. If information is not provided in advance, Director/ Operations Supervisor/ or Designee will make determination.

Requests for modification may be denied on one or more of the following grounds.

1. Granting the request would fundamentally alter the nature of the entity’s services, programs, or activities.
2. Granting the request would create a direct threat to the health or safety of others;
3. Without the requested modification, the individual with a disability is able to fully use the entity’s services, programs, or activities for their intended purpose.

If requested modification is denied, other actions will be taken to the “maximum extent possible” without violating rules 1-3 above to allow individual to use the service. Decisions will be guided by the provisions of Appendix E to part § 37.169(d)

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Rides

Cancelling a Ride

1. To cancel a reservation you may call the office at any time. An after hour message system is available to cancel an appointment.

Please leave the following information – your name and phone number; destination information; date and time of transportation. Please speak clearly otherwise your cancellation may not be completed.

2. Cancellations must be received by the office at least 2 hours before your scheduled drop off time.

For Out of County – by 5:00 p.m. the day before your scheduled transportation.

Failure to cancel a ride before the deadline may result in a no-show. Please refer to the No- Show section for more information.

How to Schedule a Ride

Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday
Phone (910) 346 – 2998

Telecommunications Relay Service 1-800-735-2962 or 1-800-735-8200 voice.

1. Passengers must call the number above no later than 10:30 a.m. the day before the needed transportation or up to 14 days prior. Please keep in mind that some trips are subject to driver/vehicle availability.

For Out of County Service – passengers must call by 10:30 a.m. three days prior to the needed transportation or 14 days prior. (Subject to driver/vehicle availability)

2. You must provide:

• Your name, address, and phone number
• Name of destination with the correct address
• Time needed to be there
• Time to be picked up to return home
• Name of anyone traveling with you (if applicable)
• Date or dates of needed transportation

3. Your reservation will be read back to you for confirmation.

4. Reservations will not be taken from the answering machine.

5. If you are affiliated with an agency, scheduling a ride may need to go through their office. OUTS must have approval from the agency before transportation can begin.

6. Please try to set up your appointments between 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 1:30 – 5:00 p.m.
For Out of County – appointments should be made between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Passengers will be dropped off before the requested time; therefore, please plan accordingly if the destination office will not be open 30 minutes or more before your requested drop off time.

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Safety

• OUTS maintains a Drug and Alcohol Testing Program to ensure safety sensitive personnel are drug and alcohol free when providing service.

• OUTS transportation requires drivers to receive monthly safety training in order to provide safe transportation services.

• All drivers receive at least 40 hours of driver training when hired and refresher training quarterly.

• All drivers are properly licensed by the state of North Carolina.

• All vehicles are properly licensed and insured as defined by FTA.

• All passengers are to be seated and wear seat belts. All passengers in wheelchairs are to be safely secured when vehicle is in motion. All children must be in a child safety seat if it is required for their age and weight.

• OUTS vehicles have standard on-vehicle safety equipment.

• All drivers conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection of the vehicle before and after service.

• OUTS is committed to the safe operations of its vehicles, including the safe boarding and exiting of the passengers.

• OUTS will not operate if weather conditions make it unsafe to operate vehicles on the road.

As a general guideline, no transportation will be provided on icy or snowy days or when unsafe road conditions exist. If the county schools are closed, rural transportation routes may not operate. OUTS Director reserves the right to make any final decision pertaining to closings or delayed openings.

OUTS director will contact Onslow County EOC Director for a recommendation on safe transportation operation for the day. Cancellations are for the safety of passengers and OUTS personnel.

Onslow United Transit System, Inc. will contact the local Television Stations:

• Channel 12 – WCTI
• Channel 7 – WITN
• Channel 10 – locally known as G-10 (Government television)

If inclement weather occurs in midday, the same procedures will apply. Transportation take-home procedures may have to be modified and will be determined by transportation system staff. However, if at all possible all clients will be taken home.

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Service Animals

This agency only allows service animals on the vehicle.

Service animals are defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, providing minimal protection or rescue work, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. Animals who sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA regulations.

• Animals excluded are “wild animals (including non-human primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including miniature horses and pigs), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents”.

• Service animals must be set up in advance with OUTS before transportation is allowed.

• OUTS can refuse transportation if the animal poses a direct threat to others, creates a seriously disruptive atmosphere, or is not in rider’s control.

• Passenger must maintain control of service animal at all times. OUTS drivers will at no time take charge of a service animal.

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Transit System Responsibilities

• OUTS is responsible for providing clean, on time, reliable, safe and efficient service.

• OUTS is not responsible for passenger’s items left on vehicles

• OUTS employees are responsible for abiding by all policies and procedures set forth by the company.

• OUTS will maintain insurance coverage exceeding legally mandated minimums.

• Drivers are not to use personal electronic devices while operating and/or while passengers are on board the vehicle. The only exception would be if the driver was advised by dispatch to contact base by cell phone and then the driver must pull off in a safe environment and contact base.

• OUTS abides by all applicable Federal, State, and Local regulations.

• The system is committed to keeping all vehicles and other equipment properly maintained and in safe working order.

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Wheelchair Transportation

1. Wheelchair Transportation is limited to a “wheelchair” and must be secured according to ADA regulations and OUTS’ policies. Wheelchair means a mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. The definition does not include devices not intended for indoor use or devices not primarily designed to assist individuals with mobility impairments.

2. All wheelchairs and mobility aids are required to be secured while on an OUTS vehicle.

3. OUTS drivers will provide a level of assistance that is reasonable and that won’t constitute a direct threat to their health or safety. Situations that arise will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

4. OUTS lift equipped fleet can safely accommodate a 1000-pound wheelchair/passenger combination, but not a combination exceeding 1000 pounds.

5. Passengers who use wheelchairs are required to ride in the designated securement area.

6. OUTS’ designated securement area is 30” x 48”. Wheelchairs and other mobility aids and attachments exceeding the securement area may still be transported as long as the device does not block the aisle.

a. OUTS’ securement policy states, “Drivers are required to secure all mobility devices. Drivers must secure the device the best they can. Drivers are to inform passengers of any securement concerns and recommend the passenger transfer to a seat when necessary. If passenger refuses to transfer, driver must explain risks prior to transport and notify dispatch”.

7. Seatbelt and shoulder harness attached to the vehicle must be worn at all times.

8. Passengers in wheelchairs must be secured in the wheelchair before boarding the vehicle. OUTS will not transport anyone in a wheelchair that is deemed unsafe.

9. All wheelchair passengers must have safe wheelchair access. This includes a ramp. No wheelchairs will be taken up or down steps by a driver. The access from the house to the vehicle must be clear of debris and the wheelchair must be able to travel without any resistance (i.e. no mud, holes, etc).

10. For safety purposes, OUTS maintains the right to refuse transportation for anyone who does not follow the above-stated policies on wheelchair transportation.

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