Dec. 3 marks the annual International Day of People With Disabilities. The 2021 theme is “Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” The global crisis of COVID-19 has hit people in marginalized groups the hardest. Today, we're highlighting the crucial resources Community Transit provides to our community to help make transit accessible to those with disabilities.
Accessible bus serviceCommunity Transit buses operate on convenient and reliable schedules to major destinations throughout Snohomish County.
All Community Transit fixed-route buses can carry wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Most buses have a kneeling feature that makes it easier to step onto the bus. Many bus stops have benches and shelters. All buses offer priority seating for riders with disabilities.
However, many challenges still remain when it comes to ensuring that transit services are accessible for all riders.
“We are working to include advocacy groups and stakeholders in our transit planning processes, to hear from communities who live with disabilities about some of the barriers they face,” says Community Transit Public Information Specialist Luke Distelhorst.
“This year we also had a number of employees participate in the Week Without Driving, hosted by Disability Rights Washington's Disability Mobility Initiative. These employees used only transit or active transportation. These first-hand experiences can help the agency learn through experience how we can make improvements to support mobility.”
Our complimentary Travel Training program is designed to teach the basic skills necessary to ride Community Transit’s bus service. Travel Training is geared to anyone who needs a little extra help navigating the transit system, including people with disabilities. Travel Trainers ride with you during training — guiding you through the transit experience all the way to your destination.
The program is customized to meet people's unique needs and can last from one hour to several sessions — as long as is needed for a person to feel safe and confident riding our buses. Signing up is easy and there is no cost. Learn more: communitytransit.org/traveltraining.
Dial-a-Ride Paratransit (DART)
Riding the bus isn’t always possible when you have a disability. Even with a bus service with accessible options, like Community Transit, some riders will need additional support. DART (Dial-A-Ride Transportation) provides paratransit service for people who cannot access or use Community Transit’s fixed-route bus service due to a disability or condition.
You can learn more about our DART service at communitytransit.org/dart.
This year, to help our riders enjoy more freedom and control over their personal mobility, we rolled out a new DART app so that DART riders can manage and schedule rides from their smartphones. Learn more at communitytransit.org/dartapp.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
In March of this year, Community Transit named Nashika Stanbro to lead the agency’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. This came during a time when the agency was working with various community groups to improve engagement with riders and populations that have historically not been included in the local transit planning process in an equitable way. The program aims to align the agency’s policies, practices, and resources to provide equitable opportunities in Community Transit’s workforce and in the transportation services the agency offers.
“Community Transit is committed to being a fair and equitable partner with the communities we serve, and our employees,” says CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. “Creating a culture of inclusion is one of our core values, and strengthens our commitment to provide equitable and just service to our customers.”