The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 29, 2013

Paratransit service maxing out

Committee studies next steps

EDMOND — The Citywide Access Paratransit Service (CAPS) has reached the maximum passenger count of about 250 clients it can service, said John Pleveich of McDonald Transit.

“We are pretty well booked solid every day of the week for every hour of the day,” Pleveich said when giving a presentation of CAPS to the Edmond Public Transportation Committee last week.

The committee is considering ways to adjust CAPS to improve ridership capabilities, said Victoria Caldwell, city councilwoman and committee chairperson. Community meetings on the issue will be announced once the committee is ready to make a recommendation to the City Council. Committee members want to discuss the issue with CAPS clients in order to provide their input.

Services for CAPS are mandated by federal regulations defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act for people who do not have access to public transit. Every transit service that takes federal money must provide a paratransit service, Pleveich said.

CAPS currently has 250 Edmond clients who are approved for service, Pleveich said. Repeated ridership counts totaled 8,911 during 2011, Pleveich said. Demand is increasing with 10-12 new clients every month, he said. Full capacity for CAPS does not imply the seating capacity is limited. Capacity levels are maximized when the bus can only travel so far during the day to pick up passengers near their homes within a specific time frame.

Paratransit services need not run on the same routes of regular transit services, according to ADA. However, the law requires paratransit to be within a three-quarters of a mile zone within the bus transit’s fixed route system. In Edmond, this CAPS core extends on Boulevard from Second Street to 33rd Street.

“We’re way beyond that because we cover the entire city limits,” Pleveich said.

The committee is studying whether more clients could be served by limiting the service area from Covell to 33rd Street, and from Interstate 35 to Santa Fe. Another suggestion was made to provide information to riders living with a disability about the convenience of using CityLink services. Pleveich said that many clients who are dependent on wheelchairs already use CityLink when they find it practical to suit their needs.

Eligibility for the service must include a statement from a physician noting that the individual living with a disability needs the service, Pleveich said.

“Sometimes there will be somebody who wants to go at 8:30 a.m.,” Pleveich said.

“And we will say, ‘At 8:30 we have somebody riding. Can you go at 8:15?”

Scheduling may be two weeks in advance, but riders must contact CAPS within 48 hours of a scheduled trip, Pleveich said. Every paratransit service needs flexibility of time, Pleveich said, because one bus cannot meet every service need in a particular minute. And, CAPS is not required to provide service outside the City of Edmond.

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121

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