Texas Citizen Fund – Paratransit Services Quality Improvement Initiative

Paratransit Services Quality Improvement Initiative

Statewide Need
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires most public transit systems to provide paratransit services used by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who require assistance not offered on a fixed-route bus or rail service. In Texas, there are approximately 80 public transit systems that provide some type of paratransit service. There is no agency or organization to assist people with IDD who are applying for services, receiving services, lodging complaints and/or appealing denied applications. Denial of paratransit services impacts the independence, autonomy and community participation of individuals, and the lack of system accountability makes it difficult to assess the performance of transit agencies in providing services for people with IDD. No mechanisms exist for identifying the rate of denial and/or service quality of transit agencies, or a way to compare transit agencies across the state in providing services for people with IDD.

Project Goal
Increase the quality, quantity and access that persons with IDD have to paratransit services. Build and maintain a statewide paratransit tracking system that provides individuals with IDD, family members and advocacy organizations tools to improve transit services both individually and systematically. Assist in the development of reliable and responsive paratransit services for individuals with IDD at the local, regional and state levels.

Project Summary
Paratransit services that viably link persons with IDD to their communities are essential. To increase the quality, quantity and access of persons with IDD to paratransit services, Texas Citizen Fund furthered its self-advocate engagement in current sites and gathered consumer input from four new communities. These activities were coupled with targeted marketing of technical assistance and training opportunities to self-advocates, families, organizations, peers, agencies and/or transit agencies.

Texas Citizen Fund continued partnerships with organizations that serve persons with IDD and their families to enhance the marketing, outreach and technical assistance already provided, including enhanced accountability for ADA compliance associated with paratransit services. They delivered four ADA paratransit trainings. Additional customer service trainings for transportation provider employees were provided during the ADA trainings, via one-on-one phone calls, at the Disability Policy Consortium Biennial Summit, and in a keynote presentation to the more than 30 member agencies of the Southwest Transit Association.

Staff provided technical assistance to more than 500 individuals. Numerous stakeholders were surveyed through the project, and six focus groups were held. Active outreach to organizations on the value and connection to regional service planning was achieved through quarterly briefings. Central and East Texas staff were able to make 400 contacts with self-advocates and their families on regional service planning.

Four new communities became involved in the project through surveys and focus groups, securing funding for activities related to the project, and developing proposals to make paratransit services more accessible to individuals with IDD.

  • Impact
    • Technical assistance was provided to more than 500 individuals
    • Central and East Texas staff were able to make 400 contacts with self-advocates and their families on regional service planning
    • Four new communities became involved in the project
    • More than 1,000 individuals took part in surveys, focus groups and interviews

Project Period
Jun 2007 – May 2010

Geographic Reach
Statewide

Orange shape of Texas indicating state wide coverage