Springfield Mass Transit District’s (SMTD) Board of Trustees approved a plan in August to expand Access paratransit service under Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) rules. The expansion takes effect today, October 19th, and adds three quarters of one mile to the existing minimum three quarters of one mile from the nearest fixed route point the ADA requires for a total of one-and-a-half miles from the nearest SMTD fixed route.
“As most agencies did when the original mandate was first issued, SMTD provided the minimum service required under the ADA,” said SMTD Managing Director Frank Squires. “After many requests for this service from the public, we believe we can handle this expansion and better serve Springfield without substantially increasing our operating costs.”
SMTD’s Access paratransit service provides transportation for persons with disabilities who are unable to use the SMTD fixed-route bus service. Individuals with disabilities must apply to become eligible to use the service. To become eligible, the individual must meet one of the three criteria.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Anyone with a disability who cannot travel to or from an SMTD bus stop.
To request an application to be mailed or faxed, interested residents can find more information on the website (see this page) or by calling SMTD at (217) 522-8594. Completed applications can be faxed to (217) 789-9819, and processing of applications can take up to twenty-one (21) days. For assistance filling out the application, residents can contact the Springfield Center for Independent Living (SCIL) at (217) 523-2587.
“Access paratransit service is door-to-door service, allowing qualified residents to schedule rides in advance to get to where they need to go when regular fixed route service is not accessible to them,” Squires added. “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.”