Learn More About the Paratransit Next Steps: Beyond the ADA Task Force & Community Events
The purpose of the Next Steps process is to use the findings and recommendations of the completed paratransit operational analysis to develop a more sustainable set of policies for the delivery of paratransit services. The Task Force will be made up of individuals with disabilities, eligible clients of IndyGo’s paratransit service, and stakeholder agency representatives. Task Force members will be asked to problem solve and offer their insights. To that end, the Task Force will also be responsible for assisting IndyGo in its efforts to define service options and implement an effective community outreach campaign.
ADA Complementary Paratransit Requirements
From the Preliminary Existing Conditions Summary: Task 1 Report:
The American with Disabilities Act is federal civil rights legislation, providing a framework for ending discrimination against people with disabilities. Title II of the Act addresses public services, with a primary goal of providing public services in the most integrated manner. For public transportation agencies, this requires the provision and operation of a fully accessible fixed route system.
The ADA, however, recognized that some individuals with disabilities would not be able to use fixed route despite accessibility features, thus paratransit complementary to fixed-route service is required. Notably, the regulations specifically recognize that ADA paratransit was never intended to be a comprehensive system of transportation to serve all the travel needs of people with disabilities.
To meet the complementary requirements so that ADA paratransit is comparable to fixed route, paratransit must meet six service criteria:
- Operate in the same service area as the fixed route system, defined as a ¾-mile corridor on either side of bus routes and around rail stations.
- Have a comparable response time as fixed-route, defined as accommodating trip requests for a particular day during normal business hours on the previous day (i.e., next-day service).
- Have comparable fares as fixed-route, defined as fares that are no more than twice the base, non-discounted adult fare for fixed route service.
- Meet requests for any trip purpose, that is, there can be no trip purpose restrictions or priorities.
- Operate during the same days and hours as the fixed route service.
- Operate without capacity constraints, meaning no waiting lists, trip caps, or patterns and practices of a substantial number of trip denials, untimelypick-upsor excessively long trips. This criterion has been the more difficult one for transit agencies to meet: transit agencies cannot deny trips for eligible riders and must ensure high levels of performance for ADA trips, including high standards for on-time performance, trip length (measured by travel time), and telephone availability for trip reservations.
POA Background, Overview, & Key Findings:
In 2018, IndyGo’s contractor-operated, complementary ADA paratransit service experienced a significant performance drop which resulted in customer complaints and media attention. The significant performance issues, coupled with the gap between the last time IndyGo evaluated its service, led the (then) IndyGo Board of Directors to commission a comprehensive study of its complementary ADA paratransit service, branded Open Door. The study, dubbed the Paratransit Operational Analysis (POA), was led by the KFH Group of Bethesda, MD, with assistance from the Palo Consulting Group and The McCormick Group. Beginning in May 2019, the POA examined ADA paratransit in Indianapolis through a series of tasks. The POA solicited input from Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC) members, agencies who provide services to individuals with disabilities, key stakeholders, and riders (through a rider survey). The study also involved a detailed dive into Open Door operations and performance data. A steering committee was established and included members of the MAC and the IndyGo Board of Directors. The POA Steering Committee provided valuable feedback to the project team throughout the study process.
The final report for the POA includes a set of recommendations for ADA paratransit in Indianapolis, including the next-day service area. The POA recommends that IndyGo consider transitioning away from its practice of applying ADA requirements beyond the ¾ mile around fixed routes. The decision to revisit providing ADA-level paratransit service county-wide is based on several factors. First, strict adherence to service requirements in non-ADA areas was shown to negatively impact performance; although a locality can provide premium service levels, that offering should not negatively affect performance in the required ADA area. Second, the ways in which IndyGo delivers paratransit service today, both in terms of the geography covered and the hours served, go above and beyond being simply complementary to IndyGo’s fixed-route service. Third, strict adherence to ADA-level paratransit service in areas beyond the required ADA service area boundary or at times when fixed-route service isn’t running severely limits IndyGo’s ability to make service changes. Fourth, strict adherence to ADA-level paratransit service in areas beyond the required ADA service area boundary or at times when fixed-route service isn’t running further limits IndyGo’s ability to explore cost-saving service delivery options for the Open-Door program.
Considering the consultant’s recommendation to transition away from its existing service area policy, but not before seeking significant community input, IndyGo staff are continuing to conduct community outreach and engagement activities regarding its ADA complementary paratransit services. These outreach events will aid in formulating a new set of policies for the IPTC Board of Directors to consider and adopt.
Learn more about the Paratransit Operational Analysis here.