SMTD Approves Plans for Access Paratransit Service Expansion

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SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Mass Transit District’s (SMTD) Board of Trustees announces they have approved a plan to expand Access paratransit service for persons with disabilities.

This plan was introduced back in August under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) rules. SMTD Managing Director Frank Squires explains SMTD has been providing the minimum service required under the ADA.

“After many requests for this service from the public, we believe we can handle this expansion without substantially increasing our operating costs,” Squires says.

Squire explains that Access paratransit service is a door-to-door service that allows qualified residents to schedule rides in advance. Riders often use the service when they need transportation beyond what the regular fixed route provides.

“With this expansion, our hope is to provide more ADA service to more residents of our community who have the most difficulty finding the transportation they need,” Squire adds.

This expansion will take effect on October 19. It will add three quarters of one mile to the existing minimum three quarters of one mile from the nearest fixed route point the ADA requires.

It is noted that individuals with disabilities must apply to become eligible to use the service. Riders must meet one of the three criteria in order to be eligible.

  1. An individual with a disability who is unable, as the result of a physical or mental impairment, and without the assistance of another individual, to board or disembark from any vehicle on the SMTD fixed-line system, which is readily accessible.
  2. Persons who cannot use SMTD buses without lifts. (These persons are eligible for Access Springfield service if accessible, fixed-route vehicles are not available on the route on which they need to travel or at the time they need to travel.)
  3. Anyone with a disability who cannot travel to or from an SMTD bus stop.

Interested residents can find more information by visiting www.SMTD.org or calling SMTD at 217-522-8594. Completed applications can be faxed to 217-789-9819. Processing can take up to 21 days. Those who need assistance filling out the application should contact the Springfield Center for Independent Living (SCIL) at 217-523-2587.

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