Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

What is this new technology?

The new technology is known as the Interactive Voice Response or IVR system.  This system provides electronic notifications (i.e., calls, emails, text messages) to Handy Bus and Long Boat Key Shuttle clients regarding their scheduled trips and real-time alerts for bus arrival times.

When does use of this new technology begin?

The IVR system officially launched in April 2017. Users can sign up for this service at any time, however.

Are customers allowed to customize alerts?

Yes, clients can customize their alerts, by calling Customer Service Representatives (CSR) to select alerts on pending bus arrivals, as well as receiving periodic updates on pre-paid account balances.

Does the client define their preferred notification method?

Yes, the client has options regarding their preferred method to receive notifications. These options include: A phone call, text or email message; or any combination of these notification methods.

How does the client inform MCAT about their preferred notification method?

Simply call the Handy Bus/Longboat Key Shuttle Customer Service Center at 941-748-2317 or contact Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) at   www.mymanatee.org/mcat

How does the IVR system prove beneficial in service delivery?

First, the new system will free up the Customer Service Center staff to focus more on client information calls, and next-day service and trip scheduling. Second, the call ahead trip reminders and client notification regarding estimated bus arrivals ensure that Handy Bus clients are aware of their bus arrival time and are already prepared for travel when the bus arrives; and this improves the efficiency of service delivery.  Third, passengers will receive prompt notification of cancelled trips, affording dispatch staff the flexibility to adjust client trips “on the fly” during daily service delivery.  Realtime service modifications combined with the IVR system’s bus arrival information, and customers waiting and prepared for their rides, will most certainly benefit all end users.

What about mass notifications?

The new IVR system will also alert passengers when severe weather approaches. Specifically, the IVR system will notify clients electronically with critical information regarding suspension of regular service and the evacuation of clients to shelter locations. In the aftermath of Tropical Storm events, the IVR system provides the ability to communicate quickly and effectively with all clients regarding the resumption of regular services.

How does the IVR system relate to other transit service improvements?

The provision of IVR system technology combined with the recent introduction of fixed route schedule information in accessible format on the Manatee County website are examples of Manatee County’s ongoing commitment to improved service delivery. These advancements along with the addition of approximately 400 passengers boarding pads and accessibility improvements at bus stops, new passenger amenities at bus stops, improved service frequency on “core network” routes such as the Manatee Avenue corridor, all fit together very nicely and demonstrate that Manatee County is committed to continually improving service delivery and providing an array of customer-focused services, which benefit the community at large, as well as those with special needs and disabilities.

Customized Alerts for Handy Bus and Longboat Key Shuttle Clients: Trip Notifications, Confirmations and Real-Time Bus Arrival information.

  • Providing updates about scheduled trips via phone, email, and text.
  • Choose which alerts to receive.
  • Receive trip reminders the day before a scheduled trip.
  • Instead of wondering about your actual pick-up time, receive advance notification on when the bus will arrive.
  • Receive email, text and phone messages verifying trips booked, no-shows,trip cancellations, and low pre-paid fare account balances.
  • Notifications with critical information regarding the suspension of service for a Tropical Storm event, and evacuation of clients to shelters; and resumption of regular services after the storm event.