The purpose of emergency preparedness is to ensure that surface transportation operating agencies throughout the region have the necessary tools, techniques, information, and understanding to be able to prevent when possible, prepare for, respond to, and recover from both natural and man-made disasters.
Emergency management in this area is coordinated by County Emergency Management Coordinators. The Trauma Council, also known as Heart of Texas Regional Advisory Council (HOTRAC), works with County Emergency Management Coordinators to develop overall planning for the region. In addition to general emergency coordination, HOTRAC works with EMS providers to coordinate ambulance and pre-hospital services.
Emergency Management Coordinators Bosque County: Dewey Ratliff 254-435-2807
Falls County Rob Douglas 254-422-3268
Freestone County Charles Nicholson 903-389-4675
Hill County Jeff Lyon 254-337-1206
Limestone County Don Ford 254-729-3810
McLennan County Frank Patterson 254-750-5911
HOTCOG Region Christine Reeves 254-756-7822
Coordinated transportation, as used here, is a broad term used to describe methods of bringing together the various stakeholders in providing transportation services. Brokerage and mobility management are two frequently used types of transportation coordination.
In brokerage systems, consumer needs are identified at a centralized intake point and matched with the most appropriate provider. The primary advantage of brokerage is improved access to services. Transportation brokers may be responsible for all facets of the trip including registering riders; contracting with for-profit and non-profit service providers; making reservations; scheduling; dispatching; maintaining equipment; driver training; billing; and maintaining insurance.
Mobility management as defined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) includes “brokering, facilitating, encouraging, coordinating, and managing both traditional and non-traditional services to expand the array of transportation services to diverse consumer groups.” Mobility management is marked by a strong consumer focus and recognizes that different transportation options may be necessary for different trips. For example, a senior desiring to go to a congregate meal site may find the social nature of a senior center bus suitable for getting to the dining site. The same senior, however, may desire an individual trip in a smaller vehicle with more privacy when going to the doctor the next day. Mobility management ensures that the particular transportation need of the rider is matched with the most appropriate mode and provider of transportation.
Regional Coordination of Transportation Services
Most local transportation services in the Heart of Texas are furnished by five providers:
Bosque County: Bosque County Senior Services
405 S. Hill
Meridian, Texas 76665
254-435-2685 or Toll Free 1-800-687-5609
Sharon Gephart, Project Director
Falls, Hill and McLennan Counties: Central Texas Senior Ministry 501 W. Waco Dr.
Waco, Texas 76707
254-752-0316 or Toll Free 1-800-754-0878
Melody McDermitt, Executive Director
Freestone County: Freestone County Senior Services
201 N. Bateman
Fairfield, Texas 75840
Nancy Roane, Project Director
Limestone County: Limestone County Senior Services
510 W. State
Groesbeck, Texas 76642
254-729-2625 or Toll Free 1-800-594-2050
Ann Vinson, Project Director
City of Waco:
301 South 8th Street
Waco, Texas 76701
JohnHe@ci.waco.tx.us, General Manager
The city of Waco coordinates small urbanized area transit in the Waco Metropolitan area through Waco Transit. Waco transit primarily offers fixed bus routes and a demand-response service of curb-to-curb pick up for elderly and disabled persons who live more than one-half mile from a bus stop and who cannot get to the bus stop. The remainder of McLennan County and the other Heart of Texas Counties are coordinated by the Heart of Texas Rural Transit District using a demand-response system and no fixed routes. Central Texas Senior Ministries oversees transportation of McLennan County as well as the transportation in Falls and Hill Counties. Bosque, Freestone, and Limestone County Senior Services provide transportation for their respective areas.
Each county provides its own dispatch, and service providers have a strong tradition of coordination and cooperation across county lines in the Heart of Texas Region. These coordination activities include:
Phoning other providers to insure timely and efficient service to clients traveling to more than one county;
Combining transport for medical appointments with all other transit, using the same operators and vehicles for both;
Making last minute changes in schedules to accommodate clients;
Arranging trips from and to other regions across the state including
Dallas, Fort Worth, Temple, Austin, Corsicana, Brazos Valley and Houston;
And doing anything it takes to make sure the client is served.
Funding for these transportation programs comes from a variety of sources including the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), state grants, farebox income, and local tax revenues. The dominant funding source, however, is the Medicaid Title XIX program for non-emergency medical transportation because Medicaid regulations demand priority over all other transportation needs.
Successful coordination of transportation services depends on an effective planning process that will establish goals and objectives tailored to the Heart of Texas region. The process will incorporate the following steps based on Federal Transit Administration Guidelines:
Identify the stakeholders
Organize the initial meetings
Establish commitments and form partnerships
Specify goals, objectives and constraints—what can be done to improve service, fill gaps in service, and eliminate overlap—under budget and institutional constraints.