Lions using technology to improve service amid increased demand for mobility vans

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Another day of service for Lion Harry Beckett.

Westport Lions Roar

By Lion Bob Reddick

As the song goes, “The Times are A-changin” and the Westport Lions Club has to change and evolve to meet the needs of the people they serve. A good example of a change is with our operational procedures, and how we dispatch drivers for the mobility vans. In the past, the client would call the Lion dispatcher at his home. This caused stress for the dispatcher because some people would call at all hours during the day and evening and the morning of the appointment. To solve this problem, we used the clubhouse’s number and an answering machine, but the dispatcher had to visit the clubhouse and listen to the tape. Next we had the system where the dispatcher could listen to the tape from his home but he would still have to call the drivers one by one until he found a driver able to fulfill the request. Then the dispatcher had to call the client, get the details, and then call the driver back to clarify the location and time of pick up. This worked with limited requests and one van, but when we obtained the second van and the demand increased, it became too time consuming.

 

Since last January when Lion Michael Harris took over the dispatcher’s duties and with the tremendous help of WTC, they have continuously refined the process until the procedure is as follows:

  1. Client calls the club’s answering service (613-273-5789) to request a mobility ride at least seven days before the appointment. This message should include as a minimum the client’s name and phone number. The date, time and location of the appointment is also useful as well as the pick up address and whether the client has mobility requirements.
  2. System automatically forwards an email to the dispatcher with a voice file attached.
  3. The dispatcher registers the request on a spreadsheet and if necessary calls the client to get more details.
  4. About 7 days before the appointment he sends an email to all drivers with the request details.
  5. A volunteer driver replies TO ALL offering to pick up the task.
  6. The dispatcher replies TO ALL assigning the task.
  7. The driver calls the client to confirm and arrange details of pick up.
  8. The driver fulfills request.

As you can see the system only works if the clients give the Lions Club at least seven days notice and the drivers read their emails on a daily bases. Thus, we cannot respond to medical emergencies and any other special transportation requests. The system is designed for scheduled medical appointments only, and for people with limited transportation options. We can only offer the service on weekdays and cannot make any side trips other than to a pharmacy to fill a prescription. In the event we cannot fulfill a request, we will try to notify the client at least 48 hours in advance so he/she can make alternative arrangements.

Westport Lions mobility service is presently sustainable through the generous donations of our clients, the spring breakfast put on by The Cove, Delbert Adrain and Byran Colford and memorial gifts. We are always happy to issue a tax deductible receipt upon request.

 

 

The demand for our mobility van service has steadily increased over the years. If you are interested in being a volunteer driver please call 613-273-5789 and leave a message or email us at westportontariolions@gmail.com.

 

 

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