If you are unable to drive, it can be extremely difficult to enjoy the opportunities outside your home, along with attending appointments on time. Paratransit can help.
What is Paratransit?
The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees, for many seniors, a basic level of transportation service. If a city or town provides a public transportation service to the community, it must also provide a complementary or paratransit service for disabled and elderly individuals.
If you have family and friends in the area, they may be able to offer rides every once in a while, but they may not always be available when you want or need them. Public transportation can sometimes be useful in these situations, but it may not be convenient for you to get to the nearest stop, or they may not be equipped to keep you comfortable during your ride. This is when paratransit can help.
This service is generally provided by a fleet of mini-buses and vans which provide curb-to-curb transportation to those who are unable to use other forms of public transportation. You determine where you want to be picked up and dropped off, and paratransit will get you there.
Who can use Paratransit?
Paratransit is designed to provide services to elderly and disabled individuals. As you age, it can become more difficult to drive your own car or make the walk to the defined public transportation route. When it comes to disabilities, you may be unable to drive, along with being unable to walk to the public transportation route. For those that are able to get to the public transportation, some may be ill-equipped to handle wheelchairs or other supports. Paratransit offers a comfortable ride for all.
If you have a personal caregiver who travels with you or a service animal, they are generally able to ride on paratransit with you for little to no extra cost.
Where is Paratransit?
Paratransit is available in cities or towns where public transportation is provided. It can be provided by the public transportation company or may be provided by a separate, private entity working with the public company. If you live in an area that provides paratransit, odds are that you’ve already seen the vehicle that could give you more freedom in your daily life.
How does Paratransit Work?
At its simplest, a paratransit system may consist of small bus that will run along a defined route and stop to pick up or drop off passengers on request. In other more flexible systems, you may call for paratransit services from any location to any destination in the area.
Paratransit services are generally offered at a decreased rate from public transportation in order to allow access to anyone who requires the services. With these low rates and high costs per trip, paratransit services are supplemented by local and state tax dollars.
If you are elderly or disabled and often have trouble getting places, look into paratransit services in your area. A quick search online, or a call to your local Area Agency on Aging, can help you find the freedom to get out there.