Accessibility Planning Program 2009


Appendix III

6. Accessible Transportation Coordination Office

The Region of Peel Accessible Transportation Coordination Office (ATCO) was established to provide transportation supports and services to people with disabilities who are not currently eligible for TransHelp service. The key functions of this office are:

  • To act as a gateway to direct users to appropriate transportation services and to screen applicants;
  • To provide support to various transit service providers in the Region of Peel, including TransHelp, to optimize access to and use of their services;
  • To serve as a brokerage to administer community transportation services aimed at providing additional travel supports for all passengers with disabilities;
  • To coordinate and ensure the provision of health and social transportation that cannot be offered by local transit or TransHelp;
  • To conceptualize, develop and implement new leading edge transportation supports and services for residents of Peel with all types of disabilities;
  • To develop and improve the Family of Services Transportation model by maximizing usage of resources available. Based on community consultation and feedback, ATCO develops and implements new supports and services as required;
  • To assist persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers to identify appropriate transportation services and community resources, and work to develop strategies to help people with disabilities access and use these services to enhance their mobility in the community.

In 2009, ATCO plans to roll-out four new programs in addition to continuing to oversee the provision of dialysis transportation for ambulatory residents.

  1. Our Passenger Assistant Program was launched in March 2009. This program provides supervised transportation to those passengers with disabilities who cannot safely travel alone but do not qualify for Transhelp. The focus of this program is on the delivery of assisted transportation to adult day programs within the Region of Peel, serving seniors, adults with intellectual disability, and those living with mental health disabilities. While in transit, each passenger is supervised and assisted by a trained passenger assistant and at each end of their trip meet with designated caregivers. The program provides peace of mind to both, passengers and caregivers, while allowing independent and safe travel options to those who are unable to travel unassisted. Since March 2009, approximately 5,900 rides have been provided using five vehicles that carry ten passengers plus the passenger assistant.

  2. Community bus is potentially an effective alternative to para-transit for persons with disabilities who require a fixed route service because of their disability. Community buses make regularly scheduled stops at multi-unit buildings with high concentrations of seniors and people with disabilities to take people to places of common interest and necessity i.e. day programs, grocery stores, community centres. Anyone can travel for a transit fare, including people without disabilities. This service will begin in August 2009 and the user cost is $3.00 per one-way ride.

  3. The taxi scrip initiative will provide spontaneous transit to low income passengers with disabilities in the Region to access urgent appointments and visits to Long Term care facilities. In the beginning of August 2009, a small pilot of 10,000 rides on taxi scrip has been planned. This pilot will allow spontaneous travel required to attend urgent appointments including medical appointments, and visits to Long Term care facilities.

  4. The Conventional Transit Access Initiatives program provides a range of opportunities for people with disabilities to become more comfortable and familiar with accessible conventional transit systems. ATCO provides and pays for travel training assessments as well as up to five hours of individualized travel training for those who want to learn to use either Brampton or Mississauga transit. A “how-to” video available on DVD or via the internet, will provide encouragement as well as tips on how to use transit service. In summer 2009, users will have the chance to “try transit for free” for a specific period of time, as part of an overall fare incentive strategy.

To date, the ATCO office has funded assessments and provided individualized travel training session for twenty-three ATCO clients. It is reasonable to expect that the number of requests for travel training assessments and travel training sessions will increase significantly while the fare incentive initiative is operational.

Future Activities and Initiatives

In 2009/10 ATCO staff will be taking a closer look at how dialysis transportation for ambulatory users is being delivered in Peel to the users who do not qualify for TransHelp services. There is a further need in the community for transportation supports and services for small children with disabilities. Many parents and family members are at risk of losing their jobs because of the extraordinary twice daily efforts they must make to get their children to and from specialized intervention and/or treatment programs.

Seniors who cannot or do not drive any longer are looking for ways to attend community programs, do necessary shopping and visit spouses or loved ones who reside in Peel’s Long-Term Care Facilities. Again, this is an unmet need.

ATCO staff receives many calls from people who continue to need transportation to attend medical appointments. ATCO staff makes referrals to the Red Cross, but anecdotally we believe that demand likely exceeds capacity. In near future, ATCO staff wants to access and help address this service gap.

Recipients of 2009 AAC Accessibility Awards
Recipients of 2009 AAC Accessibility Awards

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