[tabi] Free-ride Saturday leaves some Dial-A-Ride users frustrated

  • From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 15:01:23 -0500

from today's Democrat:

Free-ride Saturday leaves some Dial-A-Ride users frustrated
By TaMaryn Waters
Democrat staff writer

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks spent part of Thursday passing out fliers to
bus riders
at the C.K. Steele Plaza informing them of free rides offered Saturday by
for holiday shoppers.
But Dial-A-Ride users such as Michael Elliott, who is visually impaired, are
since they won't be able to take advantage.
"If you are trying to increase business to the various shops in Tallahassee
by offering
free bus service on Saturday, but not to those who use Dial A Ride, what are
telling people with disabilities," Elliott said. "Our money isn't good
Dial-A-Ride operates similarly to a taxi-cab service, but it is provided by
It costs $2.50 per trip.
StarMetro Executive Director Ron Garrison says his staff was aware
Dial-A-Ride users
wouldn't be able to get a free ride using the service, but he said his hands
"We are not allowed to make it free because we would not be able to handle
the capacity,
which would not be in compliance with the (federal) Americans with
Disabilities Act,"
Garrison said.
Currently, 8,164 residents are registered for Dial-A-Ride, which is often
used as
a way to get to medical appointments. However, every registered rider
doesn't necessarily
use the service daily.
StarMetro has offered free rides on special occasions, most recently for a
week when
the new system was launched during the summer.
"Most of our Dial-A-Ride users are used to this. We have gotten a call or
two before
when we have done this," Garrison said.
He also said Dial-A-Ride is required to provide service within
three-quarters of
a mile of bus service, although it often goes beyond that. If Dial-A-Ride
went over
capacity in order to provide free rides, Garrison said StarMetro could face
that could include fines or loss of federal funding.
"I'm not going to take the chance," Garrison said.

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  • » [tabi] Free-ride Saturday leaves some Dial-A-Ride users frustrated - Allison and Chip Orange