New, life-changing paratransit regional service coming to Valley

Life will be a little easier for the disabled and senior community beginning in July when Valley Metro and the region’s Dial-A-Ride providers begin offering seamless trips across municipal boundaries.

Or as one Scottsdale resident told me, this new regional paratransit program will be a “life-changer.”

Suzanne Klapp

Suzanne Klapp

She uses a wheelchair and visits her family in Fountain Hills about once per month. To do this, she takes a bus to Mayo Clinic where she must wait to transfer to a taxi to transport her the rest of the trip.  The transfer process near the Scottsdale border has been very difficult for her.

Sometimes her wait can be an hour or more in weather that challenges all of us. Thanks to new regional coordination, her overall trip will be shorter, more comfortable, and less expensive, because the taxi fare she has to pay will no longer be necessary.

What’s changing?

Until now, the region’s paratransit (Dial-A-Ride) services have been operated as five separate programs, with service hours and provisions often differing between the programs.

Over several months, a stakeholder group met to solve this problem. They developed an innovative plan that increases service consistency and simplifies the process for traveling regionally.

The group included system users, seniors, advocates for people with disabilities, and the general public. Eliminating transfers between member groups was just one of 14 recommendations adopted by Valley Metro that dramatically improve the quality and consistency of regional services.

Starting on July 1, seniors and persons with disabilities who have been ADA-certified by Valley Metro will enjoy a better transit experience.

Valley Metro was recognized with a major award by the Maricopa Association of Governments June 22 for this significant public transit change and for work partnering with MAG member municipalities.

A community should be for everyone – and these changes will help deliver that promise.

Editor's Note: Ms. Klapp is a member of Scottsdale City Council.

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