Paratransit services’ massive evolution in Canada has consistently improved the services and the user experience over the years. However, the ever-evolving categories of Paratransit services in the country still struggle to make accessibility easier for disabled demography.
What Are Paratransit Services? What should be the major areas of focus to make Paratransit services accessible? This article will explore five major issues impacting the efficient and accessible transportation of disabled communities.
Reassuring steps are being adopted by major cities to enhance the Paratransit services. Find out more about how the city administration of Regina had rolled out a survey to gain larger insights about the city’s transit and Paratransit services recently.
Based on the survey and various other studies, experts have finally rounded up 5 challenges that hamper the efficiency of Paratransit services. Continue reading to learn about these challenges and the probable solutions for them.
Five challenges hampering Para transit accessibilities in Canada
Preference seating arrangements
Although Paratransit services instruct passengers to allow seats for the disabled, there are always disputes regarding the priorities. For instance, there has been a long-standing dispute between baby strollers and wheelchairs about the priority of accessibility in Britain. While majorities advocate priority for wheelchairs, authorities have nullified the preferences for both, making no specific enforcement in either case.
Many leading publications have been conducting surveys and experiments to gauge the experience of wheelchair travel in the country. This case study indicates how the societal attitude spruces up disparities between the non-disabled and disabled. And it concludes that effective enforcement should be put in place to make the experience of people who use wheelchairs better.
Inaccessible bus stops
While paratransit services have a full-fledged ramp system to make accessibility easier, sidewalks at bus stops often make accessibility difficult. The issue is largely attributed to the lopsided sidewalks that make the ramp ineffective for use.
It is noted that for effective accessibility, there must be an extra sidewalk space to help people manoeuvre their wheelchairs. Thus, it is highly recommended to leave a two-meter sidewalk space for easy accessibility to paratransit services.
Paratransit services in many places are limited to persons who need assistance to access the system. The services have exclusive pick up and drop services to homes with full-time assistants who help disabled individuals to access the services. The service providers schedule their operations based on the maximum pick-ups in a trip. However, changes in plan or errand works often have passengers not boarding the services at their scheduled times.
This accounts for a huge loss for service providers, who conduct several unprofitable trips around the scheduled routes. There need to be strict guidelines about the schedules of door-to-door services in the future to prevent losses.
Scheduling dilemmas have been sorted out in many cities with TaxiSaver programs that give the taxicabs a fabulous discount if they take up paratransit services. Those who miss their scheduled paratransit services can now avail taxicabs that would do a door to door pick up and drop services.
However, challenges lie in how well these cabs are equipped with systems that facilitate the easy accessibility of wheelchairs. There also has been a concern regarding the suitability of cab drivers who may not be trained to assist a disabled person. It can stem into a security issue if proper rules are not enforced.
Last but importantly, paratransit services are more expensive to operate. Door-to-door pick-ups, trained staff, and accessibility aiding systems make the entire operations expensive. This probably is the very reason why several service providers keep away from expanding their paratransit services.