Valley Metro to improve regional Dial-a-Ride services

Traveling around the Valley will get easier for those who rely on Dial-a-Ride services to access employment, education and entertainment.

In July, Valley Metro and five regional paratransit systems will begin to implement consistent policies and procedures to benefit seniors and people with disabilities, most notably the elimination of transfers between DAR service areas.

“This is a historic milestone for Dial-a-Ride services and the communities they serve,” stated Scott Smith, Valley Metro Interim CEO, in a press release. “Through collaboration between Valley Metro, our cities and towns, service organizations and riders, 14 impactful recommendations were created to improve travel for thousands of riders around the region.”

After an 18-month review of Dial-a-Ride services by representatives from cities, towns and the disability community, a plan was developed to strengthen and improve current programs. In addition to eliminating transfers, improvements include a consistent, region-wide approach to serving ADA eligible visitors, a more consistent approach for measuring on-time performance, and more consistent policies for the level of assistance drivers are able to provide with child car seats and packages.

To learn about Regional Paratransit Plan enhancements, visit valleymetro.org.

“People with disabilities will finally have the same opportunity to travel regionally and with freedom as do other Valley Metro passengers, “ stated Phil Pangrazio, president and CEO of Ability360, which offers and promotes programs designed to empower people with disabilities. “Improved Dial-a-Ride services will better enable those with disabilities to seek employment, attend educational or rehabilitation services and fully enjoy the full range of amenities our Valley has to offer.”

To further emphasize the significance of upcoming changes, the Arizona Transit Association and Arizona Department of Transportation presented the 2016 Excellence Award for Outstanding Special Needs Transportation Program to Valley Metro and its member agencies for taking the initiative to advance these important changes, the release stated.

As Valley Metro and paratransit systems work to implement these improvements, a Valley Metro Accessibility Advisory Group is being established. This advisory group will be comprised of community leaders and members who will advise Valley Metro on programs, services and policies that impact seniors or people with disabilities.

To learn more, visit valleymetro.org/accessibility/vmaag.

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