Paratransit service for people with disabilities is a big part of what modern transit agencies do, and it’s getting bigger all the time. As the population ages and more people rely on paratransit to get around, agencies need to get smart about how they provide the service — or else rising costs will eat into their capacity to run buses and trains.
A new report from the Rudin Center for Transportation at NYU lays out how to provide quality paratransit service without breaking the bank.
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act required cities to provide paratransit service for residents with disabilities but provided no operating funds. Nationally, paratransit now accounts about 12 percent of transit budgets, according to the report. It typically costs far more to operate than bus or train service — the national average is $29 per paratransit trip, compared to a little more than $8 per trip for fixed-route services.
The Rudin Center report explores how transit agencies can reduce costs while simultaneously improving service for paratransit users. Here are the four main recommendations.
1. Partner with ride-hailing services
Contracting with taxi services or ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft could benefit both transit agencies and paratransit riders.