Getting to work, the doctor, service agencies, or social activities can be a daily challenge for seniors, people with disabilities, or others who cannot drive or cannot afford to own a vehicle. Although alternative transportation options do exist, there is room for improvement—which in turn means an improved quality of life for the riders that use them.
- Bill is a disabled adult who relies on an ADA paratransit service for rides to his medical and other appointments. The other day, he wanted to meet a friend for lunch but was unable to schedule a ride on short notice. On route to his usual appointments, however, Bill is often surprised to find he’s the only one riding in the van.
- Joan has been looking for employment since she was laid off two months ago. Lacking a car, Joan relies on the bus to get to job interviews from the suburbs, which has meant long commute times. In addition, many of the jobs she’s qualified for include evening and weekend hours, when bus service is substantially more limited. In addition, route reductions have forced Joan to walk further to and from the bus stop, sometimes at night, and sometimes while she’s carrying several bags of groceries. Well-meaning friends have told her to move, an option she can’t afford. Instead, she worries about being completely “cut off” with the next round of public transit reductions.
- Rose, a senior citizen living independently in her community but unable to drive, receives a ride each Sunday to her church in its 10-passenger van. Recently, however, requests for rides have increased. The church would like to help more seniors but is hesitant to invest in a larger vehicle that would sit idle for several days each week. Instead, the church has asked Rose and other regular riders to alternate weeks in order accommodate more riders at least part of the time.
Coordination between transportation providers and service agencies can help fill transportation gaps. That’s because coordinated transportation can help agencies provide more rides using the same or fewer resources, make transportation easier to use, and give customers more options of where and when to travel. What’s more, coordination can help providers and agencies use their vehicles and other resources more efficiently.