October 30, 2011

Scheduling: Transit Computing

TRANSIT COMPUTING - The Transit Computing Business Group is a Texas based developer of specialized transportation software for any size of operation that can increase fleet efficiency while reducing it's carbon footprint. Transit Computing is the creator of Route Coordinator, an affordable routing and scheduling software for Demand Response transportation management. Some of the features of Route Coordinator include: GPS tracking, SMS text messaging, trip auto loading, on-demand scheduling, will call and shared rides, tiered billing, onsite install or Citrix remote hosting, multi-user and multi-site, and multi-database.

October 27, 2011

NEWS: TriMet LIFT Drivers May Strike

TriMet LIFT Paratransit Service are threatening to take strike action after rejecting a final offer from their employer. The drivers represented by ATU Local 757 have been in negotiations for almost 2 years with First Transit who is contracted to provide paratransit services for TriMet. In Oregon, public transit drivers are prohibited from striking, but because these drivers are subcontracted through First Transit, a private company - they are allowed to strike. The drivers have been working without a contract since 2009. The issues are reported to be about wages, health benefits, and TriMet's operational policies that are effecting driver hours. TriMet refused calls from the ATU to get involved with negotiations. The next negotiations will be in November with a mediator. For more information see: Portland Area TriMet LIFT Drivers Threaten Strike as Labor Talks with First Transit Stall (Oregon Live).

October 26, 2011

NEWS: No Free Breeze Card Transfers for Atlanta Area Paratransit Users

GWINNETT COUNTY, GA - Oct. 26, 2011 - Gwinnett County Paratransit riders have to pay an extra full fare when transferring to MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), even if they have a Breeze Card. Ordinarily, passengers using regular Gwinnett Transit service can transfer to MARTA for free when using the Breeze Card, but users of paratransit, who already pay more for the specialized service are left paying full fare: $7.30 one way, while ordinary riders would only pay $2. It is reported that the different transit organizations in the Atlanta Metro Area are aware of the inconsistencies in the regional fare policy and are considering a number of options including the integration of the various regional and city operated systems into a single network.

NEMT Profile: Choice Medical Transport

ISLANDIA, NY - Choice Medical Transport is a non-emergency medical transportation company based in Islandia, New York. They are approved by Medicaid to provide authorized transports for Medicaid recipients in New York City, as well as Suffolk and Nassau Counties. They are also available for trips to Doctor appointments, dialysis treatment, hospitals, the local airport, and special events. Choice Medical Transport employs trained drivers who are given a through driving and background check.

October 23, 2011

NEWS: East Bay Paratransit Driver Charged in Hit & Run Murder

SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA - Oct. 23, 2011 - The driver of an East Bay Paratransit has been arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and murder after a fatal crash with a motorcyclist on the I-580 Freeway in San Leandro. There are reports that the collision followed an altercation between the two, that ended with the man on the bike being dragged under the bus for about a mile. Once stopped, the driver of the paratransit bus attempted to flee but was apprehended by police. The driver of the motorbike was later pronounced dead in hospital. He is reported to be a member of the Hells Angels, and had been riding with a group of other motorcyclists before the incident began. Officials with First Transit, the company who operate the bus for East Bay Paratransit, stated that they lost contact with the driver around the time of the accident and were only able to identify the location of the bus by using the vehicle's GPS. There were no passengers on board at the time. East Bay Paratransit provides ADA paratransit service for the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area which includes Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, Richmond, and Berkeley. For more information see: Eddie Hall, Paratransit Driver Arrested for Alleged Murder after Fatal Crash on I-580 (Fugitive Watch) and Paratransit Van Driver Held in Fatal Crash, Dragging of Hells Angels Biker (San Francisco Chronicle).

VIDEO #2: Road Rage Leads to Homicide on 580

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

Non-Profits: Faith in Action Caregivers

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Faith in Action Caregivers (FIAC) is a non-profit organization that helps seniors in the Austin, Texas Metro Area stay independent through services such as transportation, information and referrals, friendly visits, medical equipment loans, and minor home repairs. Transportation is a key component of the services that FIAC provides. Volunteer drivers provide personal transport for medical appointments, as well as person business and shopping trips. Since it's beginnings in 1985 from a single location, it has expanded to a number of communities throughout the Greater Austin Area. Their success in providing free transportation for seniors has led community groups in San Antonio to model their programs on FIAC. See: Groups Teaming Up to Offer Free Rides for Seniors. The following video featuring the Executive Director of Faith in Action Caregivers, was produced by the I Live Here, I Give Here campaign for philanthropy in Austin.

To learn more about other non-profit organizations go to Non-Profit Services.

October 22, 2011

Non-Profit Spotlight: Catholic Community Services (Southern Arizona)

COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA - The Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona was established in 1933. CCS is a non-profit faith-based agency and ministry serving the social service and community health needs of Southern Arizona. One of it's initiatives is the Rural Transportation Program. From it's transportation office in Douglas, this program services and coordinates the community and non-emergency medical transport needs of Cochise County; a largely rural area with scattered and sometimes isolated communities covering an area of 6169 sq. miles. One of the community partners that CCS works with to meet it's transportation goals is the Bisbee Bus (Video #2).

To learn more about other non-profit organizations go to Non-Profit Services.

October 21, 2011

Non-Profit Spotlight: About Care, Inc.

MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA - About Care, Inc. is a non-profit agency established in 2005 that utilizes trained volunteers to assist elderly and physically challenged homebound residents of Chandler and Gilbert, Arizona. Support services include transportation, shopping, errands, respite care, computer assistance program, friendly visits, reassurance phone calls, minor home repairs, and business help. The transportation services provided range from escorted rides to medical or social appointments, to assisted shopping trips. When founders, Buzz and Barbara Bradley retired from their respective careers they took as the inspiration and vision for staring About Care the words of Mother Theresa: "We can do no great things; we can do small things with great love."

To learn more about other non-profit organizations go to Non-Profit Services.

October 16, 2011

National U.S Supplemental Transportation Programs

Links to National U.S. Supplemental Transportation Programs such as non-profit organizations that provide community run services for seniors, the disabled, and disadvantaged youths.

American Cancer Society - Transportation to treatment for ambulatory outpatients. Drivers can volunteer through ACS's Road To Recovery Program. Read More...

American Red Cross - Ambulatory medical transport provided by many of the over 700 local chapters.

Angel Bus - Non-profit organization that utilizes motor homes & their volunteer drivers, as well as commercial buses for long distance NEMT for those in need. Operated by Mercy Medical Airlift.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) - National non-profit organization that has been working to improve the lives of disabled veterans and their families since 1920. As part of this, the volunteer drivers of the DAV Transportation Network play a key role in helping veterans access Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and services. Read More...

Good Samaritan Society - An Evangelical Lutheran non-profit organization founded in 1922 that provides a wide variety of home health and community services in number of locationsacross the US. Many centers provide scheduled home and community transportation for a small fee.

ITNAmerica - National non-profit organization that provides transportation for seniors and adults with visual impairment. It's community based affiliates coordinate volunteer drivers to assist clients to where they need to go in the local community. Read More...

Love, Inc. - Founded in 1977, it is a national non-profit organization supported by Christian churches with over 150 affiliates in 30 states. Serves the poor and needy in communities with basic necessities, health care assistance, life skills training, and family support. Some affiliates offer transportation.

October 15, 2011

Accessibility Pioneers: Tim Nugent

TIM NUGENT -Tim Nugent is an educator and coach whose work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has transformed how society has come to see, accept, and include people with disabilities. In 1948 he established the Division of Disability Resourses and Educational Services (DRES). The University of Illinois was the first post-secondary institution to provide such a support service program enabling students with disabilities to attend, and remains the only major U.S. university to have such an extensive program. It began as a response to the thousands of returning WWII veterans with spinal cord injuries, but all along non-veterans were also included in DRES. To achieve the goals of the program, Tim Nugent had to address many problems and challenges, everything from the physical inaccessibility of the campus and dorms, to opposition from facility. From the beginning, wheelchair sports, and in particular wheelchair basketball proved to be the key catalyst in overcoming barriers of all kinds: "architectural, manmade, attitudinal, psychological "1. This led to his founding of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (1949). More innovations continued when the University of Illinois became the first post-secondary institution to introduce curb cuts (1950). With help from the Engeneering Department he established the first ever fixed-route buses designed with wheelchair lifts (1952). The architectural accessibility standards that Tim Nugent developed for the campus were later adopted nationally (1961), and would eventually be incorporated into the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

October 14, 2011

Accessibility Pioneers: Cotting School

COTTING SCHOOL - The Cotting School is a private, non-profit school for children special needs and disabilities located in Lexington, Massachusetts. From it's founding in 1893 as the first day school for children with physical disabilities established in the United States, the Cotting School has welcomed children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. The school has also been a leader in accessibility, everything from the physical access to buildings and around classrooms, to transportation to and from school, as well as providing trips for extracurricular activities. The following videos contain archival photos and film of the Cotting School, they include the various types of vehicles used for student transport throughout it's history, beginning with early horse drawn carriages.

October 9, 2011

News: $20m Lawsuit Filed in Virginia School Bus Abuse of Autistic Student

BEDFORD CO., VIRGINIA - Oct. 05, 2011 - A school bus driver and a special education school aide employed by Bedford County Public Schools that were both convicted of misdemeanor assault of an 11 year old severely autistic boy, are named in a $20 million lawsuit against the school board. Surveillance footage (Video #2) of the incident which took place in 2009, shows both bus driver and school aide repeatedly abusing the child. The video was released to the boy's family through the Freedom of Information Act. This incident has renewed efforts to introduce legislation requiring specialized training for those responsible for the care of autistic students. For more information see: Legislation Likely to Address Training for Aides to Autistic Students (Richmond Time-Dispatch).

VIDEO #1: Bedford County bus beating caught on camera

VIDEO #2: Suit Alleges Abuse of Autistic Child on School Bus

Profile: Diversified Transportation

LOS ANGELES, CA - Diversified Transportation provides both public and private transportation services throughout Southern California. They include paratransit, dial-a-ride, fixed route shuttle, and taxi transportation services. Diversified Transportation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tectrans, Inc., a California-based transportation and technology company that operates dozens of contracted transportation services throughout the United States. Some of Tectrans other companies include Mobility Plus Transportation (California), LSF Shuttle (Florida), and MyTransitPlus (Technology). The following news story: Where the Jobs Are: Paratransit Drivers, dates back to Feb. 18, 2009 and is part of a series produced by ABC's local Los Angels affiliate KABC.

Inspirations: Rick Hansen

RICK HANSEN - Rick Hansen is a Canadian Paralympic athlete who has raised millions of dollars for spinal cord injury research and inspired others to make a difference in their communities. Despite sustaining injuries from a motor vehicle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, he completed High School and then went on to graduate in Physical Education from the University of British Columbia. Rick Hansen has won national championships in wheelchair volleyball and basketball; won gold, silver, and bronze in 2 Summer Paralympics; won 3 World Championships in wheelchair racing; and was one of the torch bearers for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But the thing he is most noted for is his Man in Motion World Tour. From 1985 to 1987, he wheeled 792 days over 24,900 miles (40,073 k) through 34 counties raising $26 million dollars. The trek was inspired by a once fellow wheelchair basketball teammate Terry Fox, an amputee who had lost his leg to cancer. 5 years earlier in 1980, Terry Fox had embarked upon his own cross-Canada Marathon of Hope to raise awareness for Cancer research, but was forced to end his run to receive further treatment for the cancer which would eventually take his life. At the spot on the Trans-Canada Highway where Fox had to end his marathon, Rick Hansen would later stop during his tour to pay tribute to his friend. For more information go to the CBC Rick Hansen: Man in Motion Archive and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

October 8, 2011

Disability Films: Talk

TALK - The 2001 UK short film Talk is an award winning depiction of common negative misconceptions regarding persons with disabilities. Talk stars British actor Jonathan Kerrigan as a business executive who wakes up to find himself in a world where non-disabled people are a discriminated minority. The film was written and directed by Matthew Parkhill, and produced by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), an independent UK organization that worked to fight discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for the disabled and those living with chronic health problems. The DRC has recently been replaced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

VIDEO #2: Talk (Part 1 of 2) Full Length

VIDEO #3: Talk (Part 2 of 2) Full Length

Disability Films: Hegel's Bagels

HEGEL'S BAGELS - In the short film Hegel's Bagels, 2 senior citizens "confront the realities of modern personal transportation and navigation technology." The 'modern technologies' in question are GPS devices and the mobility scooter. The scooter has become a popular and liberating mobility option for many seniors and persons with disabilities, but even drivers with a life time of experience operating motor vehicles admit that scooters take some getting used to. Hegel's Bagels was written and directed by UK filmaker and musician, Jim Kitson. You can see some of his other films on the Foreseeable Future Films YouTube Channel.

VIDEO: Hegel's Bagels

October 7, 2011

NEWS: Vandalism Causes Service Shut Down for Burlington Paratransit

BURLINGTON CO., NJ - On Wednesday Oct. 5, 2011 vandals broke into a temporary Burlington County Transportation System (BCTS) bus storage depot and slashed more than 100 tires on 31 of the Burlink fixed route and BCTS Paratransit buses; totaling more than $31,000 in damages and forcing the shut down of services that effected commuters, students, seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities. By Thursday, most of the fleet was up and running again. The BCTS buses appear to have been targeted, as other vehicles such as school buses in the lot were untouched. Charges have yet to be laid.

VIDEO #2: Slashed Tires Put the Brakes on NJ Buses (NBC-10 Philadelphia)

View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.

October 6, 2011

NEWS: 4 Hour DC MetroAccess Taxi Ride

WASHINGTON D.C. - Oct. 5, 2011 -
MetroAccess is looking into an autistic man's 4 hour ride aboard one of the taxi cabs contracted to provide service for MetroAccess
. According to a transportation advocate from the blog,
DC Paratransit Info such "Rides to Nowhere" (as they call them) are common. MetroAccess disputes such claims, citing stats that show their performance as one of the best in the United States. This is not the first complaint surrounding the taxi service. See: MetroAccess Taxi Driver Accused of Sexual Assault of Passenger and 4th MetroAccess Driver Charges with Sexual Assault of Passenger. Concerned about disability transportation issues in the DC area? Connect with others at Access The DMV.
UPDATE: MetroAccess Driver in 'Ride to Nowhere' Case Suspended (Oct. 6)

October 5, 2011

NEWS: 3 Year Old Special Needs Student Left on Bus for Hours Unattended

SARASOTA CO., FL - Sept. 22, 2011 - A Sarasota County Schools bus driver could lose her job after an incident in which a 3 year old special needs student in the her care had reportedly remained onboard the bus 2 hours after the driver failed to ensure that all students were taken off a broken down bus and transfered to another, and then taken to their school. It was not until the broken down bus, with the 3 year old still onboard arrived back at the bus depot that the child was discovered. This follows a similar incident in 2010 for the driver, after which she was disciplined. Earlier this year another case in Florida like this resulted in charges being laid: Charges Laid in Abandonment of Autistic Student on Florida School Bus.

October 2, 2011

Paratransit and Ambulette Jobs Update

For a complete and up-to-date listing of the 100+ job postings visit the Paratransit Watch Job Search Site. Not sure if this industry is right for you? Checkout the following videos:

NEWS: Las Vegas RTC Changes Adversely Affect Service to Paratransit Riders

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - Sept. 9, 2011 - Back in July, the Regional Transportation Commission presented a proposal that would raise paratransit fares to $3/trip and eliminate the $80 unlimited pass for users of the RTC Paratransit Service. The proposals to paratransit were just part of a total overhaul of the transit system that is facing a revenue and funding short fall. Officials from the RTC said that while paratransit passengers represent 8% of the total users of their services, the Paratransit Service takes up about 26% of the total budget. Public consultation continued through the summer and a meeting was held at the end of August. In September it was decided that while the unlimited pass for paratransit riders would stay in place , the fare would rise to $3 from $2.75. Probably the most far reaching of the changes affecting paratransit users was the elimination, restructuring, and shrinking bus routes that in-turn reduces the service coverage area for paratransit that the RTC is required bylaw to provide.