Trip Master vs. RouteMatch vs. Ecolane: Choosing the best NEMT and paratransit software for your organization

By Aaron Rovner February 15, 2018

There are multiple NEMT & paratransit software options

When it comes to choosing a software platform for your paratransit and NEMT operation, there are several critical factors to consider and multiple software providers to choose from. The process of evaluating vendors, important features, billing, and training can quickly become overwhelming.

If this sounds familiar, you're in the right place!

Trip Master has been the software of choice for more than 200 public and private NEMT and paratransit operations throughout the United States for over 30 years, so its architects know all the factors you have to consider.

Here, we break down all of the most important features from some of the world's best NEMT and paratransit software providers, giving you a blueprint for making an educated decision on which solution is right for you.

We base our comparison between Trip Master, RouteMatch, and Ecolane on the following topics. Feel free to read up on all of them, or just click on a topic to skip right to that section.

Company info

Both CTS Software (Trip Master) and RouteMatch are headquartered in the southeastern United States, while Ecolane's corporate HQ is in Finland, just outside of Helsinki.

Of the three companies, Trip Master is the only one designed to work with public or privately owned NEMT and paratransit providers of all sizes. While RouteMatch and Ecolane both offer their software to smaller organizations, their primary area of focus is on larger organizations.

NEMT is actually one of the smallest components of RouteMatch's business, as their core competency lies in working with larger municipal public transportation entities, while Ecolane has made a concerted effort to work primarily with medium-to-large transit systems.

If your organization is on the smaller side, odds are Trip Master is a viable alternative to RouteMatch and Ecolane.

Technical Support & Training

Learning and understanding all of the nuances included in the transit management system you choose are paramount to getting the most value possible from the software as quickly as possible. After all, the software you ultimately choose will power your entire business, so the customer service that comes along with it shouldn't be taken lightly.

Trip Master

Trip Master is known throughout the NEMT industry for having outstanding customer support and training. The training team prepares a thorough training schedule for each new customer, which comes with access to a cloud-based knowledge base complete with video training tutorials and written documents outlining every feature.

The entire training typically takes roughly 30 days, but is completely dependent on the schedule of each new customer. If getting fully ramped up and self-sufficient with the Trip Master platform needs to be achieved faster than the 30-day period, CTS Software's staff will make it happen.

In addition to providing a suite of online training resources, Trip Master offers onsite training for new customers as well. This way, not only can users ask questions and learn the system in a face-to-face setting, they also form a personal relationship with Trip Master support team members.

Finally, 24-hour customer support is available for all Trip Master customers. If you call the customer support line, expect to speak with a real human and receive follow-ups until your issue is resolved.

RouteMatch

Unlike Trip Master, RouteMatch has a 3- to 5-month period from the date the contract is signed to achieve "system acceptance." RouteMatch does offer onsite training to dispatchers and schedulers, which typically takes about two weeks to complete, but is completely dependent on the scope of the work (e.g., size of fleet, paratransit, fixed route, etc.).

All in all, it could be several months before your organization is able to experience RouteMatch's full potential.

Ecolane

Implementation and full training of Ecolane typically takes a minimum of 90 days. Onsite training is available, usually for the week prior to launching the system. Otherwise, training is done completely online via video tutorials and written documents.

Conclusion

Trip Master has by far the most comprehensive training and continuous customer support available. Also, the speed in which organizations can get Trip Master up and running is unmatched by alternatives like RouteMatch and Ecolane.

Features

There are several key features that make up the core of transit management software fit for NEMT and paratransit providers. In this section, we'll take a look at the key features offered by Trip Master, RouteMatch, and Ecolane.

Trip Master

One of Trip Master's most important features is the interface with LogistiCare.

LogistiCare is the largest NEMT manager in the world, and if your organization relies on them to schedule and book riders, this presents a major advantage over both RouteMatch and Ecolane.

Trip Master's LogistiCare interface, which is completely unique to CTS Software, allows users to import trips, collect signatures from passengers, and bill LogistiCare directly.

Take a look at a snapshot of Trip Master's LogistiCare interface below.

Mapping

Another critical feature Trip Master offers that RouteMatch, in particular, lacks, is free map updates for the entire country. This out-of-the-box function is especially important for those NEMT and paratransit providers who are steadily growing their coverage areas.

As your service area grows, your mapping costs will stay the same.

Mobile Data Terminals & ParaScope

Most NEMT software providers offer mobile data terminals at this point, but they are not all created equal.

Because drivers may vary greatly in different levels of comfort when it comes to using technology, it's critical to create a user experience that any person can learn and understand quickly.

Trip Master's ParaScope app is recognized as one of the most user-friendly in the industry, and is also the only mobile data terminal that is available on iOS (Apple's mobile operating system) as well as on Android.

RouteMatch and Ecolane both offer MDT's, but only on Android, and are far more challenging for drivers to master.

“With the drivers using tablets, they have become more efficient with their schedules and the ability to do more trips in a day. Our drivers range from ages 25-85, and each one has expressed great satisfaction with ParaScope.”

— Gateway Services, IL

ParaScope by Trip Master comes complete with electronic manifests/trip sheets, instant schedule updates, electronic signature capture, and much more.

Learn more about all of Trip Master's features here.

Pricing

All of the amazing features and training in the world become irrelevant if the cost of the software is prohibitive. Luckily, Trip Master is not only a more affordable alternative to both RouteMatch and Ecolane, it also has the most flexible pricing structure.

Furthermore, Trip Master includes more free out-of-the-box features than both RouteMatch and Ecolane.

Free Updates

The Trip Master platform is updated monthly in order to keep the product as valuable as possible for users. All updates are based on user testing and feedback, so Trip Master customers can rest assured that when they talk, CTS Software is listening.

RouteMatch and Ecolane typically update their products once or twice a year, roughly 90% less frequently than Trip Master.

Setup Costs

All NEMT and paratransit software vendors require an initial setup fee in order to customize the platform for a specific customer.

Costs will typically depend on what features are needed, the size of the fleet, number of dispatchers and several other factors. However, with all of that being taken into account, Trip Master is typically about 15% less expensive to get set up than RouteMatch and Ecolane.

SaaS Pricing

Of the three products reviewed here, Trip Master is the only one that offers flexible SaaS pricing to its customers.

If it's not practical for an organization to incur the upfront costs associated with the initial setup fee, then that money can be rolled into the monthly ongoing price to be paid over time.

Keeping upfront costs low and allowing for organizations to pay more as they grow their fleet and business is a serious advantage that Trip Master holds over both RouteMatch and Ecolane.

Takeaways

When looking at all of the important components you should evaluate before choosing an NEMT software provider, it's clear that Trip Master is the logical choice.

Exceptional customer support and training, powerful features, regular updates, and a flexible pricing structure make it difficult to choose RouteMatch or Ecolane as alternative's over Trip Master.

If you're interested in learning more about how Trip Master can support your organization, request a demo here and get a 30-day risk-free trial!