Intercity Transit looks into alternatives for Dial-A-Lift services

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Intercity Transit Authority’s directors met on Wednesday and considered alternatives to its Dial-A-Lift services, seeking to control the cost of operation while at the same time providing better services for its riders.

The Dial-A-Lift program began in 2006 in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA aims to protect people with disabilities against discrimination and provide better access to services.

 The Dial-A-Lift service is available to people with disabilities who are unable to use the Intercity fixed-route bus service. While these services are free, the downside is that riders must book their trips ahead of time to access the transport system.

In an analysis presented by Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, Tim Payne, a principal at the firm, shared that the cost of running the Dial-A-Lift services is higher compared against some of its counterparts such as the Paratransit in North Carolina.

Payne explained that Intercity Transit’s costs are around $127 per “revenue hour.” Payne explained that the high standard of living in the state of Washington attributes to its cost. With this, the Intercity Transit is looking into alternatives to control the cost of operation while at the same time providing more leeway and spontaneity to its riders.

In the presentation, Payne looked into different ADA services across the country like the Big Blue Bus in California, the JTA buses in Florida, and the MBTA in Massachusetts. Payne explained that most of these ADA platforms utilize transportation trip companies such as Uber and Lift.

Payne clarified that it will take some time before the Intercity Transit can adopt alternative Dial-A-Lift services. He assured that his team is finding new ways to provide better services for residents. In fact, they would have to test out several pilot programs and establish clear guidelines before they can approve any proposal.

In the near future, Payne suggested that the Intercity Transit might in the future offer same-day reservations so its riders do not have to book so far ahead.

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