September 30, 2011

NEWS: MV Transportation Working to Improve Green Bay Paratransit

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - Sept. 29, 2011 - Just over a month ago I posted a report on the problems ailing the MV Transportation operated paratransit service in Green Bay. See: Green Bay Paratransit Users Frustrated with MV Transportation (Aug. 22, 2011). MV Transportation seems to have listened to the concerns raised by riders. At a recent public meeting, many in attendance said things were improving. This was consistent with improved on-time-performance numbers and on-board ride times provided by the company officials present. MVTransportation said they had been working over the past month to improve operational communications and had also provided further training to drivers. They stated that there were still things that needed to improve, such as problems with drivers unfamiliar with the area, and pick-up and drop-off locations. MV was committed to resolving these on-going problems. For more information see: Green Bay Bus Service for Disabled "Finally is Getting Better" (Green Bay Gazette), Metro Officials Hear Latest Concerns of Paratransit Riders (WBAY-ABC2), and Green Bay's Paratransit Service Improves, But Still "A Work in Progress" (WBAY-ABC2).

September 28, 2011

About Home Health Care Transportation

HOME HEALTH CARE - Transportation is not often what first comes to mind when people are considering using a home health care agency either for themselves or a loved one, but in fact many companies offer a variety of companion services that go beyond personal client care. Assisted ambulatory transportation is one of those service options that may be available to clients. Fees and services offered may vary with each location and type of care provided. As an example, one Southern California non-medical home care company charges $35 per drop off / $50 for round trip* (est. trip time is 2 hours or less; add $18 for each additional hour). Other companies, such as those providing medical nursing care may also accompany the client during the appointment and take note of care directives and changes to prescriptions. Caregivers who transport and accompany clients to doctor’s appointments, personal errands, and shopping trips etc. must be licensed and insured drivers. They or their employer should be able to provide proof or assurances that the caregiver has been, or is regularly screened for motor vehicle offenses. For a detailed listing of agencies in each state that provide transportation services, go to the Home Health Care Assisted Transportation Services Directory.

Below are links to a series of posts I have prepared that provide a brief company overview of nationally franchised home health care companies that offer transportation services.

September 27, 2011

Inspirations: Vail Horton

VAIL HORTON - Vail Horton is an entrepreneur, inventor, motivational speaker, and disability advocate. Born without legs, with limited growth in his arms, and given up for adoption at birth; he has none-the-less faced life with an optimism and energy that inspires others to accomplish their own goals, dreams, and ideas. Through his successful efforts to design and produce a better crutch, he went on to found Keen Mobility, a home medical supply and mobility product store with locations in Oregon and Pennsylvania, and online which he continues to own and operate. Vail Horton is also the founder and chairman of Incight, a charitable foundation based in Portland, Oregon that assists and empowers youths with disabilities in their pursuit of education, employment, and independence.

VIDEO #2: Vail Horton Speaking at Clark College Commencement

September 26, 2011

NEWS: Families Mark Anniversary by Supporting Special Needs Students

MONTICELLO, INDIANA - Sept. 26, 2011 - Today marks the 3rd anniversary of a Indiana school bus crash that killed 4 special needs students. The students, aged 5-10 were being transported back home from Monticello’s Twin Lakes School Corporation when it was struck by a dump truck. The bus driver was not at fault in the accident. Family, friends, and others in the community marked the anniversary this past weekend by raising money for IN*SOURCE: the Indiana Resources Center for Families with Special Needs. By supporting the local special needs community their hope is that others can access special education programs closer to home, and not find it necessary to be transported long distances, as was the case with their children 3 years ago.

September 25, 2011

Provider Profile: Ride Right

PROVIDER PROFILE - Ride Right LLC. is a privately owned and operated transportation company based in Missouri that provides ADA paratransit, fixed route, shuttle, school, and special needs student transport services. It currently operates in Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. Ride Right is an affiliate of Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM). Established in 1995, MTM manages the non-emergency medical transportation services for managed care organizations, state and county governments, health systems, and other programs including Medicaid and Medicare. MTM also provides ADA assessments and travel training.

Video - Ride Right

Find out more about Medical Transportation Management Inc.

September 23, 2011

Provider Profile: Toronto Para Transit

TORONTO, ONT. - Toronto Para Transit and it's sister company, Wheelchair Accessible Transit Inc. are privately owned companies serving the accessibility needs of the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada. Together they have 28 employees operating over 40 vehicles. They provide a variety of services including Wheelchair Taxi, Wheelchair Bus, and School Bus divisions. Since it's founding in 1995, Toronto Para Transit has partnered with a number of public and private entities such as the Toronto Transit Commission, school boards, and private bus charters to provide wheelchair accessible or school bus services.

September 22, 2011

Provider Profile: DART Paratransit

DALLAS, TX - DART Paratransit Services is the curb-to-curb ADA demand responsive service of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for persons with disabilities unable to use the regular DART buses or trains. According to page 76 of APTA's 2011 Public Transportation Fact Book, Appendix B: DART Paratransit is ranked 22 nationwide in annual revenue mile per vehicle, and 23 over all in annual vehicle revenue hours. The service area includes Addison, Garland, Rowlett, Carrollton, Glenn Heights, Plano, Cockrell Hill, Highland Park, University Park, Dallas, Irving, Farmers Branch, Richardson, as well as to and from DFW International Airport. The following video is an audio-visual version of the DART Paratransit users handbook: Guide to Paratransit Services

To find paratransit and other transportation alternatives available in Texas go to my Texas Transportation Services page.

September 20, 2011

NEWS: Don't X Out Public Transit

Sept. 20, 2011 - Don't X Out Public Transit rally events were held today in several locations across the United States including Cleveland and Minneapolis. The nationwide campaign is in response to a proposed 6-year plan by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman and Florida House Republican, John Mica that would cut annual transportation spending by 30 to 35 percent across the board. It is feared if implemented, these cuts will result in service delays, increased fares, overcrowding, and many transit and paratransit (see photo) employees losing jobs. After surveying it's membership, the American Public Transportation Association estimates that 620,000 public and private sector jobs will be lost and $17.2 billion in transportation projects foregone. For more information read: Cutting Federal Public Transportation Funding Will Result in Significant Job Losses and Service Cuts.

September 16, 2011

NEWS: MAS Wins NYS Medicaid Contract

SYRACUSE, NY - Sept. 16, 2011 - Medical Answering Services (MAS) has won a contract to provide Medicaid Transportation Management and Prior Authorization Services for the New York State Department of Health that will add a further 80 jobs to it's local Syracuse operations center which handles about 5000 calls/day. MAS has been involved in Medicaid Transport Management since 2003 and already coordinates the Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services for a number of counties in the state. For more information visit the Medical Answering Services (MAS) website.

To find Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services and other transport alternatives in NYS, visit my New York State Transportation page.

Training: Paratransit Operator Development Course

OPERATOR TRAINING - The Paratransit Operator Development Course is new multi media training program that has been developed by TAPTCO Transit & Paratransit Company. Each package includes: a classroom facilitator’s guide, driver instructor guide, 10 operator study guides. 10 operator training progress charts, and a series of 7 DVDs covering 28 teaching modules. They include topics on health and wellness, professional driving, and customer relations. The Paratransit Operator Development Course can be used for new operator training, in-service safety meetings, or remedial training. TAPTCO also has available a Transit Operator Development Course, a Trainer Certification Process Course, and the free online resource: Become a Great Transit/Paratransit Company.

September 10, 2011

Non-Profit Spotlight: Fundraising & Social Enterprise Ideas

Non-profit organizations are charities. Not-for-profit agencies that provide community transportation are no different. They cannot exist or continue to operate for long without the support of others. Support from the community can take different forms. Volunteers share the gift of their time, effort, and dedication. Tangible, capital improvement donations such as land, offices, or vehicles that often come from large donors like corporations, foundations, or service clubs are often essential in helping non-profit transportation service organizations in the start-up phase. Stable financial support (the kind you can structure your budget around) can be sought out from government (through grants or contracts) or from "community chest" organizations like United Way. As well, there are the financial donations that come from individuals, corporations, service clubs, estates, and others. They can be one time or long term support.

Fundraising can involve all or any of the things mentioned above. Fundraising is proactive. It doesn't wait for someone to come to them or "click" the donate button, it connects with that someone and in someway involves them. It gives them a compelling reason for supporting your worthy cause. They are going to get something in return. For example it might be the fun of participating in a community event, or the sense of purpose and involvement in contributing to a needed project, or in return for their donation they may be provided a valued service. An added bonus of active fundraising, is that it provides the opportunity to inform the public about what you do. Sometimes there are misconceptions that can become a barrier to community support. For example, if your non-profit transportation agency is contracted by the local county or city to provide ADA paratransit service, people might assume (and understandably so) that your organization is part of transit, and therefore does not need support because they believe to be funded by taxes

Non-profit organizations that provide community transportation have some unique qualities that potential donors will find attractive. It is a highly visible, locally provided service that is beneficial to many people in the community. People see the buses on the street, at the hospital, the shopping center. They see the drivers helping clients, enabling them to get out and participate in the life of the community. They may know or recognize users of the service, and may even realize that, down the road... that might be their parents, or even themselves needing that helping hand and assistance in the future. By giving locally, donors know that their contribution is going to effect the quality of life their community.

Examples of fundraising that some non-profit transportation agencies are using can be found in the following list. One organization, Whistlestop from Marin County, California has developed a number of unique initiatives that are featured. "Think outside the bus" is their fundraising motto.

- Adopt-A-Van - Sponsored vans have signage (sticker or wrap) advertising. Easy Lift (Santa Barbara County, California), Good Wheels (Lee County, Florida)

- Bus Charters - Buses made available for excursions, group outings, nursing homes etc. Whistlestop (Marin County, California), Good Wheels (Lee County, Florida)

- Bus Donation Program - Large donors (1/4, 1/2, & full bus contributions) are given recognition of support by names/logos displayed on buses. Calgary HandiBus (Calgary, Alberta)

- Bus Maintenance - Shop facilities and mechanics provide service to other non-profit agencies, businesses, wheelchair accessible vans owners etc. Paratransit Inc. (Sacramento, California), Good Wheels (Lee County, Florida)

- Car Donation Program: Donors receive a tax deduction. OUTREACH (Santa Clara County, California), Paratransit, Inc. (Sacramento, California), SATS (Edmonton, Alberta)

- Consulting - In-house expertise and experience utilized by offering mobility management consultation services. Paratransit Inc.-Innovative Paradigms (Sacramento, California)

- Facility Rentals - Facilities such as boardroom etc. can be rented out. Whistlestop (Marin County, California), SATS (Edmonton, Alberta)

- Golf Tournament - Participants donate or are sponsored. Kid One Transport (Alabama)

- Triathlon - Participants donate or are sponsored. Kid One Transport (Alabama)

- Wish List - Simple list of specific products or services, large or small that they could really use. Community Tread (Stillwater, Minnesota)

Finally, find ways to give back to the community. An example of which was the "Stuff the Bus" campaign initiated by the drivers at RTA Paratransit in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this year in support of victims of a tornado. If your organization can spare a bus for a day, a similar approach could be used in support of a local food bank.

If you know of other fundraising ideas that are being used or have some ideas of your own, feel free to leave a comment.

September 4, 2011

Profile: King County Mobility Coalition

KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON - The King County Mobility Coalition aids in the coordination of special needs transportation in King County, Washington, including Seattle. The Coalition is made up of individuals and organizations that share a common interest in human service transportation. Everything from transit and taxis, to affordable housing and hospitals are brought together to collaborate in finding the best transport solution to meet the needs of the seniors, youth, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in King County. Some of the organizations involved or represented in the coalition are King County Department of Community and Human Services, King County Metro Transit, King, County Alliance for Human Services, Sound Transit, Hopelink, and Puget Sound Educational Service District. The following videos are part of the Life in Motion (pdf document) project initiated by the King County Mobility Coalition to raise public awareness of the transport options available.

Anyone interested in learning more about Mobility Management and sharing their experiences and ideas about it, might want to check out the Mobility Network: a forum for Mobility Management Discussion nationwide.