jazzyjj ([personal profile] jazzyjj) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2015-12-29 03:44 pm
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Question Regarding ADA Paratransit Re-Certification

Hi everyone. I haven't posted to this comm for a little bit but I have a question. I recently got my ADA paratransit re-certification notice in the mail, and I've honestly been debating what exactly to do about it. Every other time I've gotten one of these, I just went ahead with the whole re-certification process. I wasn't too happy about that, but I did it anyway. But now that state funding has gotten so out of hand, I'm totally giving up on paratransit. So earlier this afternoon I phoned the local paratransit certification folks, and spoke with somebody who actually seemed at first to know what she was doing. However, when I asked her my question and she kept putting me on hold, it became quite clear to me that she had absolutely no clue. Hence my reason for asking here. Is it absolutely, 100% necessary for one to re-certify for ADA paratransit even if they are going to only ride the fixed-route buses and the trains? I don't have very good independent travel skills anymore, which in part is a discussion for another time. Actually I posted about this over at the Disabled Rage comm, so anyone interested please feel free to go there and have a look. I also posted an earlier entry here regarding this. But anyway, whenever I travel outdoors I need somebody with me who has good eyeballs. There are a couple exceptions, but I generally can no longer travel outdoors independently. My directional navigation isn't that great anymore either, so I don't want to ride paratransit. I have been asked by drivers to give directions to where I was going, and I never felt comfortable doing that unless someone I know well was riding with me. I would carry along maps, but I think that's a whole other can of worms. I have a cell phone and am happy to call somebody if I get lost, but then the problem becomes telling that person where I am at the time I'm lost.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2015-12-29 10:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it depends on where you live, but generally I'd say that you should keep up the certification if only to have it (and because if your city is like most, re-qualifying later would be more of a pain)!
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2015-12-30 12:29 am (UTC)(link)
Depends on where you live and how the transit system works. In this city, if you just need a disability pass for the regular system, there's some paperwork you need, but it's less than if you need full on paratransit.
gehayi: (Default)

[personal profile] gehayi 2015-12-30 02:13 am (UTC)(link)
I've been told by my ADA paratransit system that once you have that qualification/certification, you should hang onto it, as it is not fun to try to get it back after you've let it lapse.
jesse_the_k: Human in professorial suit but with head of Golden Retriever, labeled "Woof" (doctor dog to you)

Some answers, I hope they're helpful

[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2015-12-30 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry, this is a long post, but I know a lot because I spent ten years on transit & paratransit boards, have read hundreds of policy documents, attended the APTA conference, even redesigned paratransit applications (and I'm a life-long transit user).

For lower fare on mainline buses & trains, Medicare or Medicaid cards are adequate proof. Before the ADA, all US Federally-funded mass transit had to offer a discount for seniors & people with disabilities. Some transit properties issued "I am an official disabled person" cards, but Medicare/Medicaid cards mean one less task for the transit system.

Speaking of saving money, your transit system can also issue you a "PCA" card. You show it to driver and say your guide-of-the-day is a personal-care assistant. ADA says required PCAs ride free.

If I'm reading you correctly, your issues re: navigation are exactly the kind of thing which make you paratransit eligible. If this is still an issue whenever you decide to recertify, then you'll be a shoo-in.

You don't have to be able to provide paratransit drivers directions: that's their JOB. They are in contact with dispatchers who can find places on a map, or else they have a GPS in the vehicle. They regularly convey people who can't shout out directions to them at all (those of us who can't always use speech). Drivers are also required to offer to guide your from the vehicle to (but not through) the first door at your destination.

The paratransit managers I know would be *horrified* to hear "I can't use paratransit because my poor navigational skills mean I can't help the driver with directions" and would take action immediately. Sadly, not all paratransit is well-managed. And I know complaining is HARD.

Paratransit eligibility is handy. On my transit system, the ADA eligibility card also serves as proof for me paying a lower fare on mainline, AND permits me to claim someone as a PCA. Each year, you can use 20 days of paratransit in a city you visit without the new city recertifying you. (Twenty days for every city.)

I hope you'll always have someone to guide you when you need it. But if you don't, paratransit is a lot cheaper than taxis (at least in my city). Uber might be less, but I use a powerchair so have no experience.

Happy to answer other Qs.