April 11, 2021

How Do I Qualify For Paratransit?

Paratransit services, also known as door services, have been helping people with disabilities get around to various appointments, shopping centers, and other essential places. The service provides accessible vehicular transportation for those whose disabilities prevent them from being able to use public transportation or rideshare programs. These services assist physically and mentally disabled persons in large communities with fixed-route public transit systems.

The main appeal of paratransit is that it allows transportation services for people who have the inability to use traditional fixed-route transit because of different barriers. There are certain eligibility criteria a person must reach in order to access paratransit in their city.

How People Can Access Paratransit Services

The application for local paratransit service varies depending on your location. Typically, you or your caregiver will have to fill out a form and complete an in-person evaluation to assess your eligibility. You’ll need to bring any mobility device you use, a photo ID, and any other documents related to your disability and application. You can expect to undergo a cognitive evaluation and a test to evaluate your ability to effectively use traditional fixed-route public transportation, like a bus or rail transit system.

Paratransit Eligibility Factors

Although paratransit eligibility criteria vary from person to person, persons who are unable to use public transit because of physical or mental disabilities can apply for paratransit support. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair has limited mobility, causing the inability to climb stairs to get onto a traditional transit system. They would be considered eligible for paratransit.

However, those with cognitive disabilities that prevent them from taking public transit would also meet the eligibility criteria and be able to make use of paratransit. The process of applying for paratransit can be daunting, but luckily people can get help from family members and caregivers to fill out their request forms. People living with a disability can find more information on specific criteria to be considered eligible in their community via their municipal government transportation department or public transit provider.

The 3 Eligibility Categories

If a person with a disability wants to use paratransit, there are three eligibility categories to look at. Depending on the type of support and transportation assistance you need, either unconditional, conditional, or temporary eligibility may apply.

  1. Unconditional Eligibility
    Unconditional Eligibility is for people who have the inability to use fixed-route transit under any circumstances. This means they have limitations that prevent them from using public transit for any trips to any health providers, department store, or support programs. These individuals will have to call and schedule their trips in advance with a paratransit service provider.
  2. Conditional Eligibility
    This paratransit eligibility level is for individuals who can use ride-share programs or take the bus or taxis for some trips. These people may only need these services because they cannot make it to medical appointments. This could be because of the inability to walk for an extended period of time. However, this individual is able to take some rides on public transit.
  3. Temporary Eligibility
    Temporary eligibility is typically for someone who only needs paratransit for a short period of time. Under normal circumstances, these people may be able to overcome barriers related to their ability to use public transport services. These people only meet the eligibility criteria for a short period of time and may be able to recover from a medical mobility issue.

Bringing Accessibility To The Next Level

These services help people living with a disability that prevents them from taking a bus and hinders their ability to make a trip safely. Although many ride-share programs may claim to be accessible, the truth is that these transit agencies are often limited and fare can cost too much for persons with a disability. The main appeal of paratransit is for people suffering from mobility issues and who cannot be functional on their own. These specific community members could benefit from checking their paratransit eligibility and making use of paratransit within their communities.

Information For Caregivers Of People With Disabilities

Luckily, paratransit is available for people with disabilities, the elderly, their caregivers, and their family members. As a caregiver, you’re able to contact a transit agency and search for agencies in your area that support a person with a disability. You’re also able to help them through the process of filling out any request forms and preparing them for mobility evaluations to determine they meet the eligibility criteria. These services help those who have the inability to climb onto various transit vehicles without assistance, or who cannot use public transport services due to a cognitive disability.

If you’re looking for a way for the person you care for to be more independent,  search for a functional transit agency that caters to the specific needs of people with mental and physical disabilities. Search for your local accessible transit agency and contact them to find out if your person in care is eligible to receive service.

Once Eligibility Is Determined

If a person with a disability is considered eligible to use the transportation system, they can book their first trip immediately and seek the medical care they need or visit a department store for items they require. People with disabilities can take comfort in knowing they no longer have to walk for long periods of time during their trip or be embarrassed by their inability to take the bus. Paratransit service assists people with disabilities to regain confidence, to be able to do day-to-day things, and to search for everyday items.  If you’re hoping to qualify for paratransit, contact your municipal department of transportation to learn more about the specifics of eligibility requirements.

Accessible Paratransit With MUVE

MUVE is a proud provider of paratransit for people living with disabilities, their caregivers, and family members. MUVE continuously works to provide inclusive and easily accessible transportation for any person living with a disability across the world. In addition to providing these services, MUVE works with various organizations on initiatives and programs for people of all abilities. Here at MUVE, we’re redefining what accessible transit means and dedicated to making a change in our community through a shared goal of bringing conventional transportation and accessible transportation together for a system that is universally accessible.

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