Great Transportation Opportunities for People with Disabilities




What Are Some Good Transportation Options for People with Disabilities?

 

For people who are disabled, jobs are much easier to find and keep when reliable transportation is available. The task of finding reliable transportation to a job may seem daunting, but many options exist beyond public transit systems, carpooling, and driving an adapted vehicle. Below are some to consider. 

Paratransit 

If your disability prevents you from using public transportation, you may be eligible for Paratransit. This door-to-door service is available in most metropolitan areas and some rural locales. Typically, the vehicles employed are wheelchair-accessible taxis, vans, or minibuses, providing round-trip commutes. Vehicles travel near the same routes used by buses and trains, during the same hours. The cost is comparable to bus fare. 

Paratransit isn't limited to wheelchair users. However, if you do travel by wheelchair, the driver can help you enter and exit the vehicle. Drivers are specially trained to assist disabled individuals. To qualify for Paratransit, you must complete an application stating your disability and why public transportation isn't an option. Additionally, a healthcare professional must sign the form. Once approved, you'll receive a pass enabling you to schedule rides.

Uber 

Uber operates in 633 cities worldwide, and it differs from taxis in many ways. First, Uber cars can only be accessed by smartphone, not hailed from the street. Secondly, Uber drivers don't have special licenses, and they use their personal vehicles for transport. Uber also has several advantages over cabs. Typically, Uber fares are cheaper, often undercutting cab rates by half. Plus, tipping is optional. Since Uber drivers are rated by passengers on customer service, they're motivated to keep the cars in tip-top shape. As a condition of employment, Uber drivers must consistently score high in customer ratings. Regarding the treatment of service animals, drivers are required to honor laws and company policies. 

When requesting a ride, use the app to specify your pickup location. Then, Uber gives you an estimated arrival time, the average wait being 3 to 10 minutes. The car's arrival is announced by text, including the car type, driver's name and photo, and trip cost. If other passengers share the ride, you can split the fare, handled electronically. After the ride, you rate the driver on politeness, safe navigation, and car cleanliness. 

The Uber company has a heart and mind for the disabled, with services designed to streamline both communication and transportation: 

  • For deaf and hearing-impaired riders, the Uber app features vibrating and flashing light alerts. With Uber, nonverbal communication is a breeze.
  • Vision-impaired customers have three options for obtaining rides. Depending on the mobile device, they can use either TalkBack for Android, VoiceOver for iPhone, or wireless braille.
  • Wheelchair users can specifically request an accessible vehicle, equipped with a lift or ramp. They can also ask for drivers trained to assist disabled passengers.

Mobility Managers

Mobility managers are employees of transit and human service agencies, with connections to local transportation services. Among their responsibilities is providing disabled individuals with commuting options other than driving. 

Working with a mobility manager is like having a personal travel agent. This professional is a liaison to area transporters, government offices, and community organizations. After researching all commuting possibilities, the manager recommends practical options. For example, the manager might arrange and coordinate rides for you or explain how to find rides independently. 

Many states have established mobility management programs. The National Center for Mobility Management has compiled a list of participating states, along with links to local resources. To access the file, visit: https://nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org/for-mobility-managers/state-local-mobility-management-websites/

If your state isn't listed, visit the website of the American Public Transportation Association at https://www.apta.com/resources/links/unitedstates/Pages/default.aspx. Here you'll find a state directory with links to public transit agencies. Click on the link for your state, and you'll see agencies listed by region, county, and city.

Transportation Voucher Programs

Across the U.S., many rural areas are joining forces to provide disabled individuals with low-cost transportation. With a voucher program, a sponsoring agency contracts with local transportation providers to offer residents their services. Eligible riders can purchase a voucher checkbook from the host agency, good for a specific number of miles. Such vouchers are deeply discounted, making transportation much more affordable.

Rural transit providers may be public or private, such as taxicab operators or van companies. Additionally, community members are invited to serve as drivers, reimbursed for mileage costs at the federal maximum rate. A Transportation Voucher Program has three beneficiaries—disabled passengers, volunteer drivers, and local transit providers. Some rural communities go the extra mile. While reducing commuting costs, they also subsidize travel for personal errands, medical appointments, and social activities. 

Eldercare Locator

This highly useful resource directs people to local community services, including transportation. With the name "Eldercare," it's logical to think only seniors are eligible for assistance. However, the Locator also welcomes inquiries from disabled adults, ages 21 to 64, who receive Medicare.

To speak with an Eldercare Information Specialist, call the toll-free number, 1-800-677-1116, Monday through Friday, between 9am and 8pm, Eastern Time. When calling, mention that you'd like referrals for transportation services in your area. Here's a partial listing of what may be available: 

  • Paratransit services - also called demand response transportation services
  • Mobility management services
  • Transportation voucher programs
  • Public transportation - bus fares and discounts
  • Volunteer transportation programs
  • One-click transportation websites
  • Vehicle conversion
  • Accessible parking placards/license tags
  • Travel training programs

In case the term "travel training program" isn't familiar, this entails teaching disabled persons the safe and independent use of public transportation. Typically, these programs are free. 

 

Just like there are many jobs for people with disabilities, there are also a wide array of transportation options to choose from. If you’re a person living with a disability who is looking for work, reach out to disABLEDperson, Inc. today. Check out our job listings on our website, and feel free to give us a call at 760-420-1269 to learn more.