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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Need for National ADA Paratransit ID Card

Having a child with Down syndrome has made me more aware of the general disability community and issues that affect people with disabilities.

One such issue is being ADA eligible for paratransit (door-to-door or curb-to-curb service).

While this isn't something that directly affects my family, it is an important issue for those individuals who rely on paratransit.

My (admittedly limited) understanding of the program is you have to apply for, and meet criteria, to be ADA eligible for paratransit services in your community. You may, or may not, receive a card that allows you to utilize this service in your community.

Because you have to meet ADA requirements to be eligible for this service I think that the requirements and application are, for the most part, the same across the counties and state. However, the problem is your approval for your home county does not generally extend to approval for use in another county even in the same state.

For individuals who require the use of paratransit services, if they travel within their state, or out of state, they typically have to go through an application process to get a visitor's pass/card to use in the new location. Usually this requires advance planning and preparation. Individuals are needing to go to that location's paratransit website and fill out an application and submit it for review and eligibility to get a pass.

If they are eligible in one location they should be eligible in all locations. Having to apply each time a person is traveling outside of their county is often time-consuming and causing the person to fill out unnecessary and redundant information each time. So much for those spur-of-the-moment getaway weekends!

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities Council on Community Advocacy is seeking stories from people who use paratransit, and gathering input on the idea of a national, universal ADA paratransit ID card.

As one person put it ... if you have a driver's license think how inconvenient it would be to apply for a license each time you traveled out of state.

If this issue concerns you, please leave a comment on this site to share your experiences; and even if this doesn't directly impact you, please consider sharing the link to help spread the word.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to information that will help you understand the guidelines for Visitors using Paratransit services:
http://dredf.org/ADAtg/elig.shtml#visitors


Under the ADA, individuals who are determined to be Paratransit eligible in one community, have eligibility across the country for the same level of service. Eligibility extends for up to 21 days per calendare year, and can be spread out (not 21 consecutive days). If an individual requires more than 21 days of "visitor" service in a location, he/she can apply for eligibility in that jurisdiction. The vast majority of transit districts are welcoming of visitors. Visitors may be asked to provide documentation of their eligibility (letter from the transit authority, their ID card etc.)

I hope this is helpful infomration

Emily @ Words I Wheel By said...

I interned for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities last summer and did a bit of work on this cause. Plus, I am a paratransit user myself. This is near and dear to my heart and I'm so glad to see you spreading the message about this!