So many of us take for granted the freedom to easily get to where we need to go. Work, errands, and friendships are all a car or bus ride away. For those with disabilities, though, connecting with life can be a challenge. Community Transit's Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) is there to support and empower these members of our community. Meet Leigh, a paratransit rider for over twenty years, who has relied on DART since moving to the area three years ago.
DART will pick up or take qualified riders to or from locations with 3/4 of a mile of a Community Transit local, non-commuter bus route, during the hours that the bus route runs in that area. To qualify, Leigh called a customer service agent and was sent paperwork to fill out about her address, where she might be using the system, and why she needed paratransit as opposed to using the regular bus system. She then took the paperwork to a doctor. "In my case, I have difficulty walking long distances, so the doctor stated that I had trouble getting to and from the regular bus stop. The paratransit system comes in a little bit closer to where I may need to be picked up or dropped off, which would be usually at a curbside or outside the buildings I would be going to."
While this door to door service helps connect riders with disabilities to opportunities, it helps to be patient and flexible as all trips are coordinated in advance. Leigh requests reservations a day or more before her desired outing. "The customer service people that you talk to are very patient and very friendly and courteous. Once you put in your reservation, then you call back to get the times the van will be available to pick you up, either the next day or within the following week."
Community Transit's DART service helps those in our community with disabilities gain the independence they deserve. Connecting people with opportunities makes our community richer. Leigh is a dedicated animal lover and volunteers at PAWS once or twice a week. "I am a volunteer with one of the local animal shelters and use it to get to and from. I also use the system sometimes to go out and meet friends."
Sometimes riders will coordinate with partner transit agencies to get across county, with all pick up and drop off points coordinated several days in advance. "What's really great is being able to use it across county. We take it (DART) to a transfer point, and King County paratransit meets us and takes me wherever I may need to go in Seattle."
If you believe you may qualify for DART service, please visit our website or call 425-347-5912 or 800-562-1381. We look forward to connecting you with opportunities across Snohomish County, and bringing you home with DART.
If transportation barriers were lifted, where would you go?