Mark and Mark: Moving Into Paratransit

Zack Worsham
mark & mark


Mark Switaj, CEO of Roundtrip, and Mark Joseph, CEO of Mobitas Advisors, and former CEO of TransDev sit down to talk shop about transportation, paratransit, and healthcare. This is the third of four installments and focuses specifically on how tech companies can partner with paratransit entities.   

Mark Joseph: “So Mark, when you look at what you have been building here, you and the team at Roundtrip, and think about all the kind of services you’ve been able to provide and to get better outcomes, what have you been doing and how does that inform your views on how you’re building your paratransit business as well? 

Mark SwitajYeah, that’s a great question. Paratransit is kind of funny for us. Coming from the healthcare transportation segment, I didn’t really know much about paratransit when we began and was kind of brought into the paratransit space through several of our healthcare clients in Virginia where the paratransit agency said Hey, your model has a place here. We have folks that are looking to get to a healthcare destination, they’re looking for options, they’re looking for a level of engagement that just isn’t available today. And so I made the entrepreneurial curse of staying a little too focused, a little too narrow, I’d say for a bit, and the paratransit agency just kept coming to us saying ‘please, let’s talk!’ and then eventually we said, ‘okay, let’s talk.’  

And so then, we started working together with GRTC in central Virginia, an incredibly forward-thinking organization that said ‘we can harness the power of your approach’ — really engagement for an entire population to grant them access to rides on-demand and scheduled, self-serve, and through a traditional phone call, and as a result focus on those same outcomes. Meaning: how do we improve the overall wellbeing of individuals through rides 

That, I think, has really shifted our focus and opened our eyes a little bit to say ‘there’s this whole other vertical out here beyond just traditional healthcare transportation,’ and in fact, as we talked about a little bit before, that the values are more aligned than not, improving the well-being and health of those individuals through rides. 

“So Mark, as you look at an organization like ours, and you know through your tenure and experience, you’ve seen a lot of interesting companies out there all doing some amazing things, have you seen a company like ours — focused on growth, really impact and mission-driven — work together with some of the players that have been established, really for the benefit of the greater good?” 

Mark JosephWell first, I think what you’re doing is terrific and I think from a large company perspective, I think sometimes we envy the agility, the speed, the kind of creativity that you and a team like yours can bring because we’re so focused on maintaining our growth rates at a very large company that oftentimes we might let the tail wag the dog. So, I think there are plenty of opportunities to partner with a company like yours from a big player’s perspective, and to gain that kind of perspective, and talent, and agility that you bring. And from your standpoint, what you can get from the big company is the company that has the resources and the willingness to bid on very large contracts, and to find common areas or complementary areas, I should say, where each company can help the other to fulfill the mission of the end customer. And in some cases, it’s two customers, it’s the institution and the ultimate rider, or patient, that we can serve together. So, I think there’s plenty of opportunities where there would be a very good fit.