The Transit Manager/Director is responsible for all aspects of the system. Many (but not all) of the primary duties, in detail, are listed below.
Grant Application: The Transit Manager (Transit Director) prepares the annual Community Transportation Program grant application through the Integrated Mobility Division (IMD). Assistance can be obtained from IMD’s Regional Grant Specialist. The application includes an administrative budget (office employee salaries and benefits, cost of drug and alcohol testing, insurances, office supplies, travel, etc.), system description, fleet information, contracting agency information, proposed service changes, a capital budget which includes vehicle replacements, 2‐way radio replacements, vehicle logos, office furniture, vehicle maintenance parts (over $300), etc. and the technology budget (computer replacements, projectors, software, etc.). The local match percentages are included within the application budget pages. The applicant must hold a public hearing which has a required time frame for publication and public comment period. The hearing must be held during a Governing Board meeting (guidelines are in the application instructions). Federal Certifications and Assurances (C&A’s) must be signed by the authorized official and program legal counsel and submitted with the application. If FTA does not have the C&A’s ready when the application is due, notification will be given.
Most application information must be submitted electronically or uploaded to the Grants Management System on the NCDOT website instead of being mailed. A checklist, to ensure completion, is part of the application packet. IMD staff will send an email stating that the application is available on the IMD website, along with instructions on where to find it.
Claims (Reimbursement Requests): Prepares monthly reimbursement requests in the Grants System located on the NCDOT website. A username and password is required. Contact the IMD Administrative Assistant to obtain the necessary form(s) to apply for information. Invoices are prepared monthly/quarterly with each invoice requiring a cover letter (signed and scanned), a Progress Report form (scanned); a DBE form (scanned), along with all supporting backup documentation for all expenditures (by G code) in the reimbursement request (your finance staff should be able to provide assistance). A PIN is required to submit invoices. If there is a problem with the invoice or any supporting documentation, the Regional Grant Specialist or Financial Management reviewer will deny the request and email a letter describing the problem along with the solution. The invoice then must be corrected and resubmitted. Once everything is approved, the amount of reimbursement will be electronically transferred to the pre‐approved bank account. Your finance office or your financial officer will receive notice of the transfer information. The agency’s finance staff should notify the Transit Director of receipt of funds.
Best Practice - Request for reimbursements can be performed by other staff but should be reviewed by the Transit Director before submitting a reimbursement request.
Budget Change Requests can only be submitted in December or June of each fiscal year. This is required when line items have a negative balance at some time during the six (6) month invoicing process. The Change Request is the opportunity to move funds from allowable line items to the negative line items to balance the expenditures and revenues. All requested changes must be justified in writing. A change request should be done prior to the line item going into a negative balance. Neither the December nor June invoice can be submitted with any line having a negative balance.
The Change Request must be approved prior to submitting any other invoices or information.
Vehicle Orders: Placing a Vehicle Order is initiated by the IMD Procurement Specialist. If there are questions prior to ordering, please contact IMD’s Procurement Staff. All information on the form must be completed along with an NCDOT Purchase Order (PO). Once the order form and the PO has been completed, a copy is sent (can be faxed or scanned) to the Vehicle Vendor (address and number will be on the order form). It usually takes 4‐6 months after ordering for the new vehicle(s) to arrive. When the vehicle is ready, the Vendor will notify the Transit Director and set a date for delivery. When the vehicle(s) arrives, an inspection must be done on the same day (required that the Transit Director be present), test drive taken, paperwork (checklist) completed and then all forms emailed, within 24 hours, to the IMD Procurement Specialist and to the Vendor. Once the new vehicle has been fitted with all necessary equipment (camera, radio, lettering, etc.), the replaced vehicle must be taken out of service for disposal. There are several means of approved disposal – see Inspection Form.
Rural Operating Assistance Program: The Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) application has three (3) components – Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program (EDTAP); Employment Assistance Program and the Rural General Public Program (RGP). Each component has different requirements/criteria for passenger use and are listed in the application package.
Examples of how to ensure eligibility:
EDTAP eligible passengers are required to have certifications and applications on file to use the funds. The applications are approved for a three (3) month period. At the end of three (3) months, the passenger must submit another application if they want to continue utilizing the funds. However, they are not required to submit another certification form unless their circumstances have changed. These funds are not intended to be used for long term assistance. For example, depending on the passenger’s circumstances, funds can be approved for another three (3) months or the amount approved can be 50% of the cost with the passenger required to pay the other 50%. Approved applicants are required to pay a fare for all trips utilizing a zone fare system that has been approved by the Governing Board. All office staff should have access to the zone charts and the fare amounts.
All passengers eligible for EMP funds must complete an application stating that they are working or attending some type of job training classes. These applications are approved for a three (3) month period and can be renewed, if funds are available.
RGP funds are for any passenger to be transported anywhere if the trip is not or cannot be subsidized by an agency. ROAP funds CANNOT be used to supplant other funds a passenger may be eligible for (State funding requirement). If an agency or company receives funds to pay for transportation – the ROAP funds cannot be used.
The bi-annual and annual reports for the ROAP program must be reviewed and signed by the Finance Director for the agency and are required. IMD will send an email notice when this application has been posted on their website.
EDTAP funds can be used for in and out of county medical services.
Best Practice - Out of County trip requests will only be approved for services that cannot be obtained locally. A letter of referral on letterhead from the passenger’s doctor stating the service(s) the passenger needs is suggested, but not required. The request should not include any medical information (HIPPA). This letter must be on file before the funding application is processed. The goal is to keep as much of this funding as possible. The process for both funding applications is the responsibility of applicant. The Transit Director should monitor funds monthly – funds not spent by end of fiscal year must be repaid to NCDOT. Use fully allocated cost model to figure monthly cost which can be charged against grant funds.Drug and Alcohol Testing:
Drug and Alcohol testing is required by the FTA to receive funding. All “safety sensitive” employees (per FTA definition) are required to be tested. There are five (5) categories for testing: pre‐ employment, random, post‐accident, reasonable suspicion and return to duty. The Substance Abuse Policy must be posted in a central place accessible to all employees, (i.e. Policies & Procedures Manual, SSP Manual). Transit is required to follow the FTA guidelines for testing, but the agency can test under its own authority if those guidelines are stated in the policy. The agency must comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act. All local departmental/agency guidelines are denoted in the policy.
Best Practice - Subscribe to FTA’s distribution list receive early notice of policy changes. When FTA guidelines change, state and local policies must be updated. All policy amendments must go before the Governing Board for approval.
Drug and Alcohol Testing Management Information System Annual Report:
A Drug and Alcohol Testing Management Information System (DAMIS) Annual Report must be submitted. IMD or their designated contractor will send a “user name and password” to login to the DAMIS program on the FTA website for reporting. This normally occurs in late January with reports being submitted to IMD – reports must be submitted to FTA by the end of February. These reports ask for the number of each type of tests done throughout the previous calendar year. There are a certain percentage of employees that must be drug tested each year and a certain percentage of employees that must be alcohol tested each year. Those random rates are set by FTA. Random tests must be truly random as per the days of the week and the time of the day that the tests are done.
Best Practice: ‐ Check the number and type of tests each quarter to ensure that the percentages will be met by or prior to the end of December.
If the numbers are not met by reporting time, the program will "red flag" specific test types. NCDOT reserves the right to withhold funds if tests, tests type and randomness of test are not adhered to and policy is not followed.
Federal Circulars should consulted for updates along with quarterly newsletters as an excellent source of information published by FTA and RLS & Associates. There are forms to be completed before and after each test along with completing a random test chart during the year. Auditors will chart the test to ensure “true” randomness. All forms are required to be in a fireproof file cabinet or similar. Only the Transit Director and/or designee have access to the file cabinet. ALL Drug and Alcohol testing information must be kept confidential at all times. If files are not secured, all access doors must be closed and locked when leaving the area.
Safety System Plan (SSP) Audits: IMD’s Safety, Education and Compliance Office is responsible for SSP audits. A portion of the audit will review the fleet maintenance plan ensuring that all vehicles and all NCDOT sponsored equipment is being maintained according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
The SSP Manual requirements include ensuring that the minimum training standards for employees is followed along with other required departmental policies. This plan will be audited on a regular schedule. Updates and amendments must go before the Governing Board annually. There is a required Quarterly Training Report that must be entered into EBS by the Agency.
Transportation Advisory Board: The transit system must have a Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) which is required to meet once per quarter. Each advisory member must be appointed by the Governing Board. IMD highly recommends certain agencies/groups to be a part of this TAB. The list can be found in the yearly CTP application guidelines. Members should be given quarterly reports on operating statistics, funding, concerns, policy suggestions, changes, etc. A chair must be appointed. Each member is required to sign a Conflict-of-Interest form at the beginning of each year. The signed forms must be scanned in as part of the annual CTP application. All meetings must be announced and minutes from each meeting must be emailed to the IMD Regional Grant Specialist. This is a 5311 CTP requirement.
Annual Contract: Agencies requesting service must sign an annual contract.
Best Practice ‐ Have one staff person in charge of contracts. It is a best practice to have a contract routing form. Each person working with the contract signs the routing form once they have completed their part.
Best Practice ‐ Have all agency passengers complete a Transportation Information Form and submit it to the transit office prior to the first day of service.
Automated Scheduling & Billing Software: The transit system must use an automated scheduling and billing software. See the IMD Advanced Technology Policy for more details.
Operational Policies & Procedures: The Transit Agency is required to have operational policies and procedures. There are policies for drivers to follow when actually transporting passengers, details on how to respond in case of an emergency or accident.
Best Practice ‐ Vehicle Emergency Evacuation Training done annually in conjunction with Emergency Management Department – set the date several months ahead in order to give advance notice to agencies that services will not be provided on that day – this should be the only day of the year that services are not provided except for unplanned circumstances such as inclement weather, responses for passenger emergencies, etc.
Best Practice - Security Video Cameras should be installed in each vehicle. If installed, the transit system must have a policy on camera maintenance, viewing rights, access, etc.
Drivers should have copies of these polices in their handbooks and copies should be in a convenient location so that they have access at any time. Whenever a driver reads a policy or any changes to a policy, he/she should sign and date a form or sign in sheet stating that they have read it, understand it and had the opportunity to ask questions. Policies should be reviewed by the Transit Director at least every six months to determine if changes are needed. It is important to monitor and read any new regulations from the state or Federal government and make policy changes accordingly.
Best Practice - Amended dates at bottom of each policy is a best practice and will document the last review.
Inclement Weather: the Transit Director is usually responsible for determining if the system will operate in the event of ice, snow, etc. Once a decision is reached, the announcement should be made on the local radio stations, the local TV stations and phone tree calling, if available. Employees are notified. Prior to decision, the Transit Director should confer with the local EM Director and 911 to get the latest details on road conditions. The NCDOT travel website can also be utilized for current road conditions per county. It is strongly recommended that systems NOT follow the local school schedule of closings. Systems must consider agency contracts and transit dependent passengers for work and lifesaving medical treatments when making service cancellation decisions.
Transit Director Involvement: The Transit Director should be a member of the local/regional Safety Committee, the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the RPO/MPO and other committees as needed or requested to ensure proper coordination and communication will occur in performing the required services.
Marketing/Advertising: Marketing/advertising the system is required per the CTP guidelines. Currently two (2) percent of the CTP Administrative budget is required to be spent on advertising that can include but is not limited to yellow page ads, magazine ads, local radio ads, special sections of the newspaper, Medical Directories, promotional items (ink pens and pads used for job fairs, booths, etc.)
Internal Reporting: The Authorized Official should receive a monthly system report including all relevant operating and situational information.
NCDOT’s State Management Plan: NCDOT’s State Management Plan details guidelines for the state and for systems to follow. A printed copy should be in the Transit Director’s office and available for reference. Transit Directors are required to read and follow the State Management Plan.
Title VI Plan: Systems are required to have a completed and up to date TITLE VI plan. A Title VI form must be available at all public hearings. Completed forms must be submitted to IMD along with the documentation for the public hearings detailed in Section 1200 Civil Rights.
American with Disabilities Act: All system policies and services must comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Vehicles and facilities must be ADA compliant. ADA requirements can be found on the FTA website. All office staff and drivers must be familiar with these requirements.
Software for Work Orders & Maintenance Records: Transit staff must utilize web-based software for work orders and maintenance records, typically Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). This program utilizes work orders for repairs and preventative maintenance service, inventory of parts, cost for parts and repairs, fuel ticket information, accident reporting, etc. Staff with administrative rights can run all reports. IMD compliance staff has system access for viewing information only and cannot change any information.
Financial Management Policies: Transit systems should have a TAB approved Cash Management and Deposit Information policies and have procedures in place to follow and audit these requirements.
Procurements: NCDOT has strict regulations regarding procurement of equipment. An item that cannot be purchased from a State contract has specific guidelines and forms that must be followed and completed for procurement. Guidelines can be found on the IMD website under Public Transportation/Resources and in the State Management Plan.
Leave Approval: The Transit Director (or appropriate position) is responsible for approving leave for office and maintenance staff. The Operations Supervisor (or appropriate position) approves leave for drivers. The Operations Supervisor is required to ensure that all services can be provided prior to approving leave.
Best Practice ‐ Policy for leave is a recommended “first come, first serve.” The Transit Director and Operations Supervisor should reserve the right to deny the leave request if doing so would result in disruption of system services.
Quarterly and Annual Operating Statistics Reports: Quarterly and annual Operating Statistics Reports are required. The annual report requires signatures by the Authorizing Official and the Advisory Committee Chair.
Quarterly Charter Report: A quarterly Charter Report is required to be submitted to IMD. These reports certify that guidelines regarding the provision of Charter Service has been followed and reported – see Business Guide or FTA Charter Guidelines
Quarterly Training Report: A quarterly Training Report is required and must be submitted to the IMD Safety & Compliance Section. A reporting template can be made available upon request.
STI Plan & Scoring for Transportation: Contact your local RPO or MPO Director for information.
Proficiency Reviews: Federal Compliance (Proficiency) Reviews are required every three (3) to five (5) years. A questionnaire is sent approximately 4‐6 weeks prior to the site visit. Documentation is required for each question or instructions on where to find specific information and/or who has responsibility for that information.
Title VI Audits: Systems will be notified and receive a questionnaire that must be completed for a Title VI Audit. A designee must be assigned responsibility for the Title VI plan and updates. This plan should be in a location for convenient access to all employees.
Community Transportation Service Plan/Community Connectivity Plan: The Community Transportation Service Plan (CTSP) and Community Connectivity Plan (CCP) is a five (5) year plan in which IMD staff or a consulting firm gathers information, meets with agency representatives and holds 2‐3 planning meetings to discuss current and future transportation services, funding sources, vehicle replacement/expansion, etc.
Locally Coordinated Plan: The Locally Coordinated Plan (LCP) is required to be updated every four (4) years. This plan discusses ALL transportation needs for the county/regional area, not just the ones that the transit systems currently provides. This plan must be adopted by the Governing Board and is necessary to apply for other funding such as 5310.
Performance Based Success Plan: The system is required to implement a Performance Based Success Plan. This plan provides goals for the system to meet during the fiscal year. Each goal has a team leader and team members to work toward achieving those goals. The plan has a scoring system to determine success or failure.
Non‐emergency Medicaid Transportation:
Transit systems are required to apply to become a vendor to bill Medicaid for Non-emergency Medicaid Transportation (NEMT) trips provided. Each County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) is responsible for taking the Medicaid client’s appointment needs, approving the trips and entering the information into NCTRACKS
. The transit system will bill NC FAST
for the cost of the trip.
Public Involvement: The Transit Director or designee must prepares presentations to groups/agencies as requested. They must attend and/or prepare for Job Fairs.
Personnel Duties: The Transit Director must initiate and prepare for disciplinary actions as needed, including completing and filing any required documentation. The Transit Director should be aware of discrimination guidelines, hiring and firing guidelines, related human resources policies, etc.
Crashes & Accidents: Investigates crashes/accidents as needed, completing required paperwork for the system and for IMD. IMD requires all accident information be completed in EAM. Transit Directors or their designee must attend and be trained in Accident Investigation. An Accident Investigation Policy and procedures are required.
System Monitoring: The Transit Director must monitor the system and study service details to increase efficiency for the agency.