Transportation Services For Special Mobility Needs

August 26, 2021

About 1.85 million people in Ontario live with some sort of physical disability. This is a staggering 1 in 7 people. Despite this, persons living with short-term and long-term physical challenges often have great difficulty finding truly accessible transit. Public buses, subways, and trains often are riddled with barriers to individuals with mobility issues. This can make it unsafe, uncomfortable and nearly impossible for persons with special mobility requirements to travel using public transportation services. So how can this be changed to truly accommodate everyone?

Transportation Services For Persons With Physical Challenges

Community or Public Transit Services

The bus, subway and train are the most conventional and common types of transportation available to individuals living in urban areas. These methods of transportation are often integrated into many peoples’ daily lives as they travel to work, school or other places via transit. However, many fail to consider how difficult using these options can be if you are a person living with a physical ailment requiring mobility assistance .

While many organizations offer transportation services for seniors, many forget to optimize their services for adults living with unique mobility requirements. Most public transit vehicles fail to address accessibility in their infrastructure. For instance, passengers who have difficulty with mobility but don’t use a wheelchair have an increased risk of slipping and falling as most transit options do not have non-slip floors. Those using a mobility aid may also find it difficult to board or exit vehicles due to the large step up and down onto platforms.

While Ontario public transportation and buses are legally required to be wheelchair accessible, passengers using a wheelchair often encounter difficulties. A number of passengers with mobility challenges report that bus drivers often do not take the time to assist them with attaching the necessary 4-point tie-down straps to their wheelchair. In some cases, drivers may simply not know how to use the wheelchair tie-down straps correctly, risking both the integrity of the wheelchair itself and the safety of the passengers. This is a grave safety issue for people who rely on public transport to travel to and from their medical appointments, shopping, and other places around their city or town.

Can Ride-Share Apps Be Accessible?

Ride-share apps have become increasingly popular methods of transportation in urban areas. These services offer door-to-door transportation for passengers that have requested a ride from individuals who have signed up and registered their vehicle to provide transportation.

A number of ride-share apps boast their ability to safely transport physically challenged people, but this is not always guaranteed. Because drivers can sign up and use their own vehicles, vehicles are often unregulated. This means that passengers with special mobility requirements are likely to encounter physical barriers to their mobility while attempting to enter, exit or ride in a vehicle used for ride-sharing services. Similarly, drivers have likely not completed any training programs on how to correctly assist people of all abilities. This could reduce accessibility and potentially lead to mistakes that could impact a person’s health and safety.

Overall, a ride-share app may advertise itself as an accessible transit agency, but this isn’t guaranteed. Ride-share programs often lack the administration and training that is needed to ensure that their transportation service is truly accessible and safe.

Municipal Paratransit Services

Unless you have lived with a physical challenge that hinders your mobility, you likely are unaware of what a paratransit service is. Paratransit is an accessible public transit service that is operated by a municipality’s Department of Transportation. These services are offered to provide accessible public transportation for people living with a special physical challenge in the local community.

Much like a cross between a taxi and a public bus, individuals can receive door-to-door service from accessible buses and professionally trained drivers. Paratransit vehicles are equipped with all of the accessibility requirements including wheelchair lifts and straps, rubber grip floors and more. These features ensure that passengers can get from point A to point B without any issues. Passengers simply need to register for their ride ahead of time to be picked up and brought to their final destination.

Despite paratransit services’ obvious benefits, there are several downsides to this transit method. In most cities across Canada, paratransit travel is restricted to qualified passengers within the operational hours of 7 am to 7 pm, sometimes stretching later into the evening. If a physically challenged person would like to travel outside of these hours, they are left with no transit services available to them. This makes it difficult for people with disabilities to live a regular life.

Similarly, many paratransit services provide assistance to their passengers while entering, exiting and riding in the vehicle. While this may be enough support for some riders, others may need increased assistance to enter or exit their destination. For example, if a passenger is struggling to enter their home with all of their shopping bags, typical paratransit drivers may not assist the individual. This lack of consistent assistance could make it difficult for persons with physical challenges to make use of a transportation service without the help of a volunteer or hired aid.

 

Finding a Solution and Making Truly Accessible Transportation

While there are often many transportation programs available to people within a municipal area, few provide barrier-free rides. As a result, those living with special physical challenges must choose between inaccessible transportation or a lack of mobility. In our opinion, this is a decision that no one should have to make. That’s how our organization was born.

Transit Designed For Those Individuals with Special Mobility Requirements

MUVE is an up-and-coming public transportation company that strives to provide truly accessible transportation across Canada and, eventually, around the world.

Our transit service provides transportation to people of all ages with special mobility requirements . Whether passengers are children or seniors, they can trust that our service is safe, reliable, affordable and truly accessible. The MUVE fleet will include wheelchair accessible vehicles equipped with non-slip rubber mats, door ramps or lifts, handles, 4-point tie-down straps and more. These available resources will ensure that every passenger can have a safe and comfortable trip.

MUVE offers door-to-door, arm-in-arm transportation to ensure that passengers receive the assistance they need in one comprehensive service. Drivers will help passengers board the bus, monitor their health and comfort levels while on-board, and help them get to the door of their final destination. This is important for those with mobility issues.

Unlike most community paratransit programs, our transportation is provided at all times of the day. Passengers can instantly book a trip at any hour of the day using our app. Rides can also be scheduled in advance for a either one-time trip or a regular, recurring trip for those who have to get to work, attend frequent medical appointments, volunteer for a program, or attend weekly organizations’ meetings. This provides passengers with the ability to easily and safely go where they want when they want.

Download our app today and be the first to know when MUVE starts operating in your area! Our app is available on Apple and Android mobile phones.

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