Rockford Mass Transit holds public hearing on paratransit service
Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) will hold a public hearing in the RMTD Board Room, 520 Mulberry St., at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 18, to announce details of the new, same-day scheduling paratransit service for medical trips.
Same-day scheduling is a new element to the existing paratransit service offered by RMTD/Rockford Paratransit and goes above and beyond the service necessitated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As such, the fare for this service can be slightly higher than regular paratransit fare, and RMTD is holding a public hearing to solicit input on the proposed fare. The public is encouraged to attend the hearing.
Rockford Paratransit Service works in conjunction with guidelines set forth in the ADA. Paratransit service, RMTD’s origin-to-destination service, serves the needs of customers who, because of disability, are unable to use RMTD’s fixed-route service.
Paratransit service is equivalent to RMTD’s fixed-route service and, in compliance with the ADA, provides three-quarters-of-a-mile beyond the fixed-route system and/or jurisdictional boundaries.
The fares for this service, in accordance with the ADA, can be up to double the fixed-route fare. The current adult fare for RMTD fixed route is $1.50, and the paratransit fare is remaining unchanged at $3. RMTD, however, is proposing charging $4 for the same-day scheduled ride service.
The guidelines for the current paratransit service dictate that passengers be certified to ride and, once certified, must schedule their rides at least 24 hours or one day in advance. This scheduling policy has allowed the district to maximize their personnel resources and maintain its budget. However, under the previous transit bill, Safety-Lu money was allocated for new start programs for people with disabilities under the New Freedom 5317 grant. This grant allows for dollars to fund transit service above and beyond those stipulated in the ADA.
Same-day scheduling of paratransit rides for medical purposes necessitates resources be allocated solely to this endeavor. With the assistance of $92,359 from New Freedom funds, RMTD can now hire the staff and provide the resources necessary to enable paratransit riders to schedule rides the same day. The popularity of this program will determine how quickly the grant funding is utilized.
The RMTD Administrative Offices at 520 Mulberry St. are wheelchair accessible. A Spanish language interpreter and a sign language interpreter will be available for the public hearing.
RMTD provides more than 1.7 million rides each year. The district has a fleet of 74 fixed-route and paratransit vehicles, and offers 18 hours of service on Mondays-Fridays, 13 hours of service on Saturdays, and eight hours of service on Sundays. RMTD also provides service to Loves Park and Machesney Park.
For information call (815) 961-9000.
From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue
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