Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Special Needs Free Transports

Providing special-needs citizens with bus passes and vouchers for taxi rides/rideshare.

Photo of K G
6 4

Written by

Full description

Throughout my day I encounter a lot of our special needs citizens. One common issue a lot of these citizens face is the use of service called community transportation. There is usually a small fee associated with this service or no fee at all. Ideally the concept sounds wonderful. However, the wait times between drop off and pick up are sometimes in and above the three hour range. This is a really long time say to someone who might have sensory issues to be stuck in a doctors office. What I propose is providing vouchers for a ride share/taxi and free bus passes to those citizens to help them make it to their appointments and back home in a timely manner.

6 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Aly Stone

Hi K G - welcome and thanks for sharing your thoughts! Great post, it seems that helping out special needs travelers is important with regard to improving their daily commutes, and for making transit more efficient for everybody. Do you know why the wait times are so long for the community transportation system - is demand relatively low, do not enough people know about the service, or are there just not enough staff or support? I'm wondering what small changes may improve that service.
-Aly, community facilitator

Photo of K G

I believe and this is just speculation, that there aren't enough of the vans that do the pickups operating at one time. So if there are 10 vans operating and there are 400 people utilizing the services, then a person waiting to be picked up from their doctor's appointment would have to wait until that driver routes over to the area where they're waiting to be picked up. I believe there's just not enough funding for them to have more drivers and vans out at one given time.

Photo of Aly Stone

Great, thanks for the observation...I could easily see that contributing to the problem. I'd love to hear from others using this service to see what their experiences are like. Would you propose increasing the amount of vans, or do you have any thoughts about improving efficiency in other ways (scheduling being coordinated with the vans or something? Just brainstorming here...)?

Photo of K G

I feel that the citizens could be better served if that service were supplemented. I think that if there were some kind of voucher program for rideshare such as Uber or Lyft and bus passes at reduced / freecharge it would eliminate all the issues. Even if the service were to remain operational for our citizens with serious mobility issues and offer Rideshare or bus fare options to Citizens with disabilities that do not have issues cognitively or Mobility wise it could cut the wait time down for the other citizens that do have to utilize the service.

Photo of Aly Stone

Good thoughts. How do you think a voucher or free ride system would sustain itself past the funding of this project? I would imagine that rideshare/carpooling options that are accessible for those with special needs may work out well at a low cost.

Photo of K G

I think it would have to be in partnership with a rideshare company. Hopefully, they would agree to offer the reduced rates in exchange for a tax deduction for charitable contribution. Also these vouchers could be purchased by family members or even groups like Autism Speaks (purchased with charitable donations through fundraising) and given to those who just cannot withstand the long wait after appointments