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Thread: Evaluation for eligibility for paratransit system

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Default Evaluation for eligibility for paratransit system

    Like most US metropolitan areas, the city I'm in has a paratransit system providing door-to-door transportation in a lift-equiped vehicle, with scheduled rides--available to those who qualify.

    When I moved here a couple of years ago, I was eligible, and I had been eligible for over 20 years in the city I'd lived in previously.

    I just got a letter from the transportation people letting me know that they've decided to recertify their riders every 3 years. I had to fill out an application and authorize a medical professional to release information about me, and I'll have to go to the transit center for a 30-minute interview.

    I went through most of this just after moving here. But I'm finding out now that I might be asked to "complete a Functional Ability Assessment" as well:

    The functional assessment will be conducted by an independent Mobility Assessor and consist of demonstrating your abilities on a simulated course that includes slopes, inclines, negotiating a curb and curb cut and crossing the street. Skills evaluated also include balance, strength, coordination and range of motion. The assessment may also include a walk outside in the neighborhood and/or a short trip on bus and/or MAX [the train].
    I thought I'd post this just in case anyone is wondering what is needed to qualify for this type of transportation.

    The passenger pays for the rides, of course, and each ride has to be scheduled at least a day in advance, with definite pickup and return times and locations. Sometimes the waits are long, and sometimes you ride around on the van for a couple of hours while other passengers are picked up or dropped off.

    For many people with disabilities, this is the only transportation there is.

    For others here who use this mode of transportation, have you ever had to have a "functional ability assessment"?
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Agate,

    Here we have "The RIDE." It works similar to what you have described and apparently loses a lot of money. Recently we were told that we would be re-evaluated and possibly called in for a test using a mock-up bus. That didn't happen. We got applications to reapply and yesterday I found out that I am good to 2/29/2015.

    I do not use it much but there are times when I can't walk (because of the distance) from the train or bus station to my destination. And I need to use it in heat waves and when it is cold- that sets off the TN. I simply stated those facts and the neuro checked the box that said that I could indeed become confused in a large train/bus depot.

    So, there was a lot of stress on the community that needn't have been. I am grateful to have it. It is a lot cheaper than taxis, about $2 each way.

    Maybe there will be some community meetings where you are and some clamoring about this too.

    Best to you,
    ANN
    There comes a time when silence is betrayal.- MLK

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    Distinguished Community Member nuthatch's Avatar
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    Hi Agate,
    My folks live in Los Angeles and use paratransit for transportation to doctor visits. They are both approaching 90 years old and both use walkers. My mother is also nearly blind from macular degeneration and glaucoma. Like you, they had to apply and qualify for the program. They were picked up and transported to a large building downtown where they were photographed, asked a few questions, and observed as they walked up when their names were called. They did not have to "demonstrate" their abilities. Shortly after, they received ID cards in the mail, to be shown whenever they used the service.

    Last year, they received a renewal form in the mail to fill out and return along with an updated photograph. They did not have to go anywhere for an evaluation, nor did it cost anything. Subsequently, they received new ID cards in the mail.

    My parents' experience with paratransit is very similar to yours with regard to scheduling, pick ups and returns, and costs. They can travel anywhere within a 20 mile radius for $2.25 each way, or $3 for distances more than 20 miles, which is much cheaper than calling a taxi. The strange thing is that it is usually a taxi that picks them up since they do not require a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Private taxi companies contract with paratransit, which is a government run program. All the drivers they've had have been very helpful, patient and kind.

    The program has been a wonderful thing for my elderly parents. The only drawback is the time involved, but that cannot be helped.
    Here is a link. http://www.asila.org/riding_access/g...igibility.html

    Happy travels,
    Joan

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    Distinguished Community Member renee's Avatar
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    Even though I drive I need special transit as backup.

    Riders are not bothered w/a functional ability assessment where I live-
    only recertification.
    A doctors letter seems to cover any questions.

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    I am so glad I am on this board. Even though I do not need this at this time, it is something that I probably would not have thought to check into when
    the time comes. I feel sure that as big as my home town is we would have something like this.
    Virginia

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    I live in a rural area where there is no public transportation, nor is there cab service. There IS a van that is wheelchair accessible -- anyone can call to order it -- at least 3 days ahead. If you are disabled, the cost is $5 for pick-up/delivery and 3 stops along a specific route; $10 for someone non-disabled. But there is no other requirement than you state that you are disabled...

    3 days a week it covers one half of the county; the other 3 days the other half. And once a quarter there is a special "tour" to the nearest big city, one on each end of the county. I don't know how much that costs, though...
    ...I am not a doctor nor medical professional, and don't pretend to be one, here... :o

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    Distinguished Community Member SalpalSally's Avatar
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    Do these handicap transport services, carry you and your Scooter, then stop and wait for you or do they come back to get you? How long are you allowed per shopping stop?

    Does anyone know of a service where the driver will drive you in your own minivan? Now that I have my new Turny car seat, I raring to go..LOL!
    Love, Sally


    "The best way out is always through". Robert Frost







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    Community Member MS w/MS's Avatar
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    ]Do these handicap transport services, carry you and your Scooter, then stop and wait for you or do they come back to get you? How long are you allowed per shopping stop?


    In San Jose we have "Outreach", it cost $4 per one way trip. This service will take you in a chair, scooter, I've even seen a person on a gurney (sp). They have various types of cars, from a Prius to a Shuttle bus, depending on your needs. You schedule your pickup and dropoff, and they try to get you within 30 minutes of your scheduled time. They don't wait for you, but someone else will come get you in your time window.


    mark s.

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    Distinguished Community Member SalpalSally's Avatar
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    Thank you Mark..:)
    Love, Sally


    "The best way out is always through". Robert Frost







  10. #10
    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    The system I use is a lot like what MS w/MS describes. The drivers never wait around. A different driver comes back at your scheduled pickup time, which has a half-hour "window"--meaning you wait at least a half hour before you start wondering where your ride is. Sometimes the wait can be a lot longer. (I bring food and water and something to do like crocheting.)

    You can almost always wait inside the building so long as the driver can see you.

    You almost have to have a cell phone in case you need to call the transportation system while you're waiting. If you try to find a pay phone, you might have wandered far from your pickup point, and if the van comes while you're not there, it will wait only 5 minutes for you. And there are fewer and fewer pay phones.


    Sally, you can take as long as you want for your outing but it's difficult if you want to be picked up 15 minutes after you arrive--if you went to the vet's to pick up some medicine for your pet, for instance, and knew you'd just be a few minutes. The return ride often can't be scheduled unless it's an hour after your scheduled arrival time.

    It's not a perfect system but it works fairly well.

    The vans I ride in take wheelchairs, walkers, rollators, scooters, and power chairs. A woman in my building rides around on a gurney, and I've seen her riding in a special type of van that is sent out for her.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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