People with disabilities often struggle to find secure, safe, affordable transportation. Getting basic needs and going to-and-from medical appointments become a challenge due to lack of mobility. So, what are the options for rides for people with disabilities? And what should an individual or caregiver consider when searching for low-cost transportation options?
Public Transportation is Non-Discriminatory
It’s important to know what the laws are regarding discrimination when using programs that receive Federal Funds, regardless of mode of public transportation.
In accordance with Title VI and the US Department of Transportation, “a transit agency’s ADA complementary paratransit service, as well as its fixed-route service, must comply with Title VI.”
Paratransit, or special transportation services for people with disabilities, is meant to serve as a supplement to existing public transit systems. And Title VI ensures that all riders of transit services that offer specific ADA transportation must ensure that riders’ rights are respected. Discrimination against a rider based on their disability is not tolerated. Services like North Country Transit District and MTS both offer paratransit services as a subset to their normal transportation services.
Additionally, “states, transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations that pass funds through to sub-recipients must monitor their sub-recipients to ensure the sub-recipients are in compliance with equal access and non discrimination provisions of the law Rides for people with disabilities should not only be available but also be reliable and free of harassment, regardless of what organization is providing the mandated ADA services.
Managed mobility services like FACT SD take great care to ensure that all riders feel respected.
What is Considered Specialized Transportation?
Specialized transportation is transit designed to specifically address the needs of persons with disabilities. This may also include specific services that assist seniors with transportation needs.
To address the growing need for specialized transportation, SANDAG has created a strategic plan to improve San Diego’s transportation systems to provide better service to seniors and persons with disabilities. This includes a Regional Plan that aims to guide investments through the year 2050.
The benefits of providing specialized transportation are immense, giving greater mobility to individuals that struggle to access reliable, fixed-route service.
An example of specialized transportation would be mandated ADA paratransit services. This is defined as an “alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules, and can offer door-to-door service that is particularly important for people with disabilities.” Often, these services include modified vehicles that include lifts for people needing wheelchair access. These services may vary on the degree of flexibility that they provide their customers as they are not subject to the same guidelines as specialized services.
ADA Paratransit services must be offered by those public transportation systems that offer fixed-route service, to ensure that riders with disabilities can get to the same locations and take advantage of the same low-cost transportation given to other riders.
Examples of Specialized Transportation in San Diego
FACT SD acts as a one-stop-shop for mobility services for seniors, veterans, and any persons with disabilities. FACT is a resource for any individual with mobility challenges who needs information about the public ADA paratransit services and numerous nonprofit and private service options available in San Diego County.
Some of these resources include:
- Contracted Agency Transportation for persons with disabilities or challenges meeting mobility needs.
- Low-cost transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities via a request service that allows them to ride 7-days a week, between specified hours.
- Transport for persons with special conditions, such as cancer, dementia, or blood disorders.
- Paratransit services offered by a number of organizations, nonprofits, and programs like RideFACT, Oceanside Solutions, and Rides4Neighbors.