For Individual Participants: Getting a Ride

APTA is Ready to Help

Thanks to Secretary LaHood and the U.S. DOT team for their focus on improving transportation options for our active armed forces, military veterans, and their families. In reading the comments posted to date I am especially interested in the ones that involve public transportation and am further informed by this specific input from across America. The American Public Transportation Association and its members knows that public transportation can make a difference in so many ways, and we will be pleased to work with U.S. DOT, with the U.S. Department of Labor and with veterans organizations across the country to enhance this endeavor. APTA is committed to helping coordinate the services and programs that get veterans to work and school, and also help connect them with new opportunities in the workforce and in their communities. We are also working with the Department of Labor and other groups to highlight specific employment opportunities at public transportation organizations across the country. Comments have been very helpful. Please keep the comments coming! Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association


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    Wadaduga ~ Dragonfly

    Mr Melaniphy, that is very heartening to hear. I know the public transit system in the Tampa Bay area is hampered by limitations within the county .. not covering parts of the county that have outlying suburbia that is significantly attached to the larger metropolitan area. Since they tie their paratransit fleet coverage in with their bus route coverage area, this leaves many disabled, including veterans, 'out in the cold' when it comes to getting around for medical or for that matter, any where ... it's 30 mins, normal walking pace, to the nearest public bus stop from the suburb I live in.. so at least 1.5-2 miles ... I can't walk 100 feet... & Taxis are extremely expensive. Since most disabled are on limited incomes, you might be able to see how this can be extremely difficult to work with.

    A few thoughts:

    1) Discounting transit fares via special transit cards

    2) having 'free ride' days for disabled (again, with special transit cards, these could be issued using similar process as with DMV handicap parking placards - the DMV already has a system in place for verifying handicap placard need, why not adopt similar for disabled transit cards)

    3)Expand a few routes out into the outer suburbia locations, with fewer stops & less frequent than 'inner city', even if it was limited to 4 round trip times a day, 2 in the morning & 2 in the afternoon, maybe weekdays only or even only 2 or 3 days a week, to allow disabled the opportunity to transport more easily.

    4) consider enlisting the help of amtrak, greyhound & other for profit transportation in providing significantly reduced fares for disabled meeting their transport capabilities

    5) offer incentives to local transportation options in rural communities such as cabs & limo services to offer reduced cost medical transport for non-emergency needs of disabled, & possibly provide necessity transport needs once a month for disabled such as for grocery shopping.

    6) Ensure better education for all transportation resources regarding access of service animals

    7) ensure accommodation for caregivers of disabled (not only physically disabled but also those who may be suffering from alzheimers & aren't capable of safely traveling without escort)

    8) Consider the option of having mass transit stops to 'meet' riders at 'ride share' locations such as you see around major cities for carpool parking. It might be easier for rural disabled to arrange a ride in with someone who carpools, if they are assured a seat (by reservation perhaps?) on a transit bus to get them into the city for appointments, then the reverse arrangement to get home again.

    (The best example of this I've seen to date, is in Delaware, the 3 counties there back in the early 90s, had an excellent county paratransit transport set up that transferred disabled riders from one county to the next at rest areas at the county line - transport was by appointment only for rural riders that used a special disabled transit pass card - it was a great system!)

    There's so many more ideas that are coming out in this forum, and I for one am very grateful to see legitimate caring responses to the posts being made here. Thank you.