The Covid-19 pandemic created a nationwide driver shortage with the impact felt across the transit industry and paratransit services in Durham, North Carolina were no exception. The driver shortage was also exacerbated by social distancing guidelines that meant fewer customers could be carried per vehicle, requiring more trips and therefore actually increasing demand for drivers. This led National Express to think outside the box to deliver a solution to the driver shortage, while ensuring they didn’t increase costs for the customer.

Dedicated Vehicles with
Wheelchair Accessible Cutaways:

Service Type:
Demand Response ADA Paratransit

Days of Operation:
7 days a week
364 days a year

The Solution

The solution came in the form of an innovative technology partnership with adaptive Transportation Network Company (TNC), UZURV, whose platform was specifically built for paratransit. 

With this new partnership, NEXT was able to provide a non-dedicated fleet option that helps them deliver a flexible transportation solution that supplements the existing operation. Trips that NEXT cannot fulfill are sent to UZURV, who then offer those trips out to their pool of independent contractor drivers, ensuring that every passenger who needs a ride gets one and that on-time-performance and productivity are maintained.

UZURV recruits independent contractor drivers who utilize their own vehicles to provide service. All UZURV drivers undergo Federal Transit Administration compliant background checks and complete drug and alcohol testing – both preservice and random testing as required – to FTA standards. Drivers undergo an extensive learning and credentialing process to ensure they provide exceptionally high-quality service for every rider.

Clever Tech

The technology partnership with UZURV was enhanced because of their API integration with Ecolane, the scheduling and dispatch software used by GoDurham Access. This integration and ‘one-system’ approach provided a number of key benefits for NEXT, the riders and the client:

  • NEXT dispatchers can push trips to UZURV from within the Ecolane system and receive details of the completed trips back into Ecolane
  • Riders can track their UZURV vehicle in real-time via the Ecolane mobile app
  • Client reporting on UZURV and NEXT trips can all be done from within the Ecolane platform
the results

The UZURV supplemental service launched in September 2020, and the impact after just one month is already positive.

On-time Percentage


UZURV is acheiving an average OTP of 98.5% (within a 15-min window)

Customer Satisfaction

Customers are overwhelmingly happy with the new service, especially visually impaired customers who enjoy the door-to-door nature of the service.

Cost Per Trip


Average cost per trip is 30% less than the standard ADA paratransit service

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