Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority To Reduce Paratransit Services
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which over the past six years has provided "top-of-the-line" paratransit services for seniors and residents with disabilities, later this spring plans to reduce services because of a rise in demand, an increase in costs and a budget deficit that could reach $160 million, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The VTA, which contracts with the not-for-profit, San Jose-based Outreach, provides car, van and minibus shuttles to take seniors and residents with disabilities to medical appointments and adult day care centers. The services that the VTA provides "far exceed" federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act; VTA drivers assist passengers from their homes into the shuttles and from the shuttles into their destinations and often drive passengers miles farther than ADA requires, the Mercury News reports. However, under a proposal that the VTA will likely adopt this spring, drivers would only have to meet passengers at the curb; relatives or others would have to provide additional assistance that passengers require. The VTA estimates that curb-to-curb service would save five to 10 minutes per trip and would allow the agency to serve more passengers and increase revenue. In addition, the proposal would raise fares; the VTA currently charges passengers $29 per trip, but passengers only pay $2.80 when they schedule trips one day in advance (Richards, San Jose Mercury News, 3/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.