Senior Living Q&A;: Access transportation

Part 2

Q. Now that my dad no longer drives, what are the resources for transportation? He is able to walk without assistance, but I have a friend in La Crescenta who uses a wheelchair. Are there resources for her?Now that my dad no longer drives, what are the resources for transportation? He is able to walk without assistance, but I have a friend in La Crescenta who uses a wheelchair. Are there resources for her?

Donna in La Crescenta

Last week I explained Dial-A-Ride; this week I will explain Access Paratransit and how the two services differ.

Whereas Dial-A-Ride is available to anyone over the age of 60 or disabled by filling out a short form, the Access Paratransit application includes an interview. Eligibility for Access Paratransit is based on the disabled person's ability to use accessible buses and trains in Los Angeles County. It is not based solely on the disability, age or medical diagnosis. It is based on the person's abilities. Can the person, without the help of anyone:

•?Get to and from the bus?

•?Get on and off an accessible bus (the bus driver will assist)?

•?Understand which bus to get on and when to get off the bus?

Perceived inconvenience, real inconvenience, or simply a desire not to use accessible bus service is not criteria for eligibility. After you apply, an Access Paratransit van will bring you to their office where you will be asked to count change, read a bus schedule and demonstrate your mobility. The distance you live from a bus stop is also a factor of consideration.

If you are able to walk to your nearest bus stop, or are able to get to that bus stop with your wheelchair, you will not be eligible for Access Paratransit. Since much of our area is hilly, it might be helpful to take a photograph of the terrain between your home and the bus stop to better show the interviewer the challenge it would be for you to get to that bus stop.

Dial-A-Ride only travels within the city and county areas of Montrose, La Crescenta and within the cities of Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge. Access Paratransit travels within all of Los Angeles County.

Access Paratransit and Dial-A-Ride are both curb-to-curb shared-ride services

Access Paratransit goes anywhere you see a regular bus route and within ¾ of a mile on either side of the bus line.

Access Paratransit operates on the same schedule as most buses. Regular service is offered from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. As a shared ride service, your travel time will be similar to that of a fixed-route bus, not a car or taxi.

Your one-way fare is based on the distance you travel. Travel less than 20 miles is $1.80; 20 miles or greater is $2.70.

If you feel you are eligible for Access Paratransit, you need to contact Access Customer Service to obtain an identification number before scheduling for a transit evaluation appointment. Call (800) 827-0829, TDD (800) 827-1359; inform the customer service representative that you need the application and an identification number. After getting the identification number you can schedule a transit evaluation by calling Access Transit Evaluation Center at (323) 780-9777, TDD (323) 780-9977. You cannot schedule an appointment without your identification number.

Within several weeks of your appointment you will receive a letter stating whether or not you have been approved for Access. If you were denied, you may appeal.


Get in touch NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to lcnews@valleysun.net or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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