Public Transportation - Washington State Transit Association

Public Transportation &
Persons With Special
Transportation Needs
House Transportation Committee
February 12, 2013
Tom Hingson
Transportation Services Director, Everett Transit
Member, Washington State Transit Association
Member, Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation
What is the State’s Role in
Special Needs Transportation?
“Washington State has an interest in an effective and
efficient transportation network. Public transportation is
an essential component of that network. The state has an
interest in providing mobility in the state’s most congested
areas, in fostering economic vitality through job access and
job creation, and in assuring that the state’s citizens have
access to basic life-sustaining services in all communities.”
Identifying the State Role in Public Transportation, Washington State Joint Transportation
Committee (JTC), Parsons Brinkerhoff, January 2011, p. 9 (emphasis added).
Who are “Persons with
Special Transportation Needs?”
“…those persons, including their personal attendants, who
because of physical or mental disability, income status, or
age are unable to transport themselves or to purchase
appropriate transportation.” RCW 81.66.010 (3)
This includes seniors, children, low-income,
disabled, students, veterans, Medicaid patients,
and other individuals who need access to work,
medical appointments, schools, social service
support, and vital community services.
Community Transit
What is “Special Needs Transportation?”
and Who Provides It?
 Public transportation
– Buses (fixed-route)
– Paratransit vehicles
(door-to-door/shared ride)
– Vans and vanpools
– Trains
 Non-profit providers
 Senior centers
 Community volunteers
 Family and friends
 Schools
 Tribes
 Medicaid transportation brokers
 Private (under contract)
– Rural intercity bus service
– Cabulances
– Taxis
King County Metro DART (Hopelink) Photo by Atomic Taco
People for People
Good Coordination Involves Many Partners
 Local coalitions
– Snohomish County
Transp. Coalition
– Gorge TransLink
– Pierce County
Coordinated Transp.
Coalition (PCCTC)
 Agency Council on
Coordinated Transp. (ACCT)
 Community Transp. Assoc.
of the NW (CTA-NW)
 Regional and Metropolitan
Planning Organizations
(RTPOs and MPOs)
 State agencies
– Health Care Authority
– Dept. of Social & Health
– Veterans Affairs
– Office of Public
 Federal Transit Admin. (FTA)
Public Transportation – Buses are Accessible
 Public transportation agencies
provided over 190 million passenger
trips on fixed-route buses in
Washington in 2011.
 Fixed-route buses are required to be
accessible and many passengers
with special transportation needs
can ride the bus.
 Training and passenger screening
empowers passengers to ride the
bus and reduces costs to the agency.
Community Transit
47% of the 837,508
trips on Link Transit
fixed-route buses in
Chelan and Douglas
Counties in 2011 were
by passengers with
special transportation
2011 Data WSDOT and Link Transit
But Not Every Passenger Can Ride the Bus
 “Complementary paratransit” service is required for people
with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route buses.
 General requirements:
– 3/4 of a mile surrounding
all-day regular fixed-route
bus route;
– Same hours and days; and
– No more than twice the
regular fixed-route fare.
King County Metro’s Access Transportation program provided over 2 million
paratransit trips in 2011 for those meeting federal ADA requirements.
2011 Data WSDOT
The High Cost of Paratransit
 Public transit agencies provided 6.7 million out
of the 8.3 million reported paratransit trips in
2011, at a cost of $183 million.
 The state provided $19.5 million in special
needs transportation grants for public transit
agencies in 2001-13 and $5.5 million for nonprofit providers.
 Paratransit is consuming an increasing share of
agency budgets 15% in 2007 vs. 20% in 2011.
 Small and rural systems spend even more on
paratransit – some over 40% of their budgets.
 Challenges with reimbursement and costsharing can increase agency operating costs.
In 2011, 3% of
Pierce Transit’s
total trips were
on paratransit,
but they only
recovered 23% of the
costs and the
consumed over
20% of their
total budget.
Pierce Transit
It Helps to See a Map to See How ADA
“Complementary Paratransit” Works
“Non-emergency Medical Transportation”
(NEMT) Trips for Medicaid Add to Local Costs
 The state is required to provide transportation to Medicaid
appointments, with a state (49%)/federal (51%) match.
 Transit agencies are only reimbursed the cost of the bus/paratransit
fare, not the actual cost per passenger. Average reimbursement to
the provider is about $25 per trip, but this includes the fare, which
greatly reduces the average.
 Pierce Transit provided 167,623 paratransit trips for Medicaid
appointments in 2010. With an average one-way cost of $36.23, this
service cost $6.07 million. Under the current approach, the
reimbursement was $0.75 per trip, so local taxpayers were required
to cover almost all of the cost of these trips.
There were 632,210 veterans living in Washington State in 2010. For many, travel to
medical appointments is a hardship for many because of extended travel times, distant
medical facilities, limited travel options, and difficult outreach for homeless veterans.
Key Issues for Serving Those with
Special Transportation Needs
 Shrinking social safety net
 Unmet demand and projected growth
 High cost with minimal state investment
 Grant funds unpredictable
Columbia County Transit
 Medicaid - opportunity to leverage funds?
Clallam Transit
Spokane Transit
Everett Transit

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