Gilbert to vote on cutting down service for paratransit program

Jan 23, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: Jan 24, 2020, 8:32 pm
(Valley Metro Photo)...
(Valley Metro Photo)
(Valley Metro Photo)

PHOENIX — No car, no bus, stranded.

That’s what dozens of people with disabilities and elderly folks fear may become their reality if Gilbert votes to reduce their paratransit service to the federal regulation minimum requirement.

“Frankly, they’re taking away the autonomy of these people,” Jessica Falatyn, who works with adults with disabilities, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “They’re taking away their personal freedom. They’re taking away their incentive to work and to become the most valuable members of society.”

Fatalyn’s two foster daughters both use paratransit to get to and from their jobs. She says these restrictions add yet another barrier to their independence.

Currently 383 adults in Gilbert actively use paratransit services. The proposed service reduction would only provide paratransit for those within 3/4 of a mile of a fixed bus route, cutting 136 people off from the service.

Ellen Kennedy, Gilbert’s transportation planning manager, said that the city is proposing the service reduction in order to keep the service around longer.

“The Town of Gilbert was already operating at a shortfall this fiscal year to run the program,” Kennedy said.

However, as Falatyn’s husband, Richard Dale, pointed out, Gilbert as a town is currently operating on their largest approved budget.

“Of all the towns, Gilbert is quiet an affluent one,” he said. “If you look at their budget this year they have a $1.05 billion budget and they’re saying that people with disabilities and the elderly are just not a component they’re worried about.”

Kennedy added that all residents can still use RideChoice services.

While paratransit is operated exclusively by Valley Metro, RideChoice is effectively a government subsidized rideshare and includes Uber, taxicabs and other wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Kennedy noted several benefits to using RideChoice over paratransit.

“RideChoice offers same day service, so you don’t have to plan in advance if you need to make a trip,” she said. “Whereas paratransit you do have to have at least a 24 hour in advance reservation.”

Paratransit is also a shared ride service, versus RideChoice, which also allows users to ride on their own.

However, the cost of RideChoice is substantially higher than that of paratransit.

RideChoice costs $3 for trips up to eight miles with an additional $2 for each additional mile compared to paratransit’s flat fee of $4.

There will be an informational meeting Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert. More information is also available on Valley Metro’s website.

The town council will meet on Feb. 11 to discuss this issue but the final vote could be delayed until March 3.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Children's)...

KTAR, Arizona Sports host annual fundraiser for Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s treated more than 155,000 patients last year. It costs nearly $2.7 million per day to operate the hospital. Phoenix Children's needs your help to continue its lifesaving work.
8 hours ago
Ernie's Liquors owner Joseph Johny hands over a Mega Millions lottery ticket to a customer in Palo ...

Lottery ticket sold in Glendale hits jackpot for $285K

A lucky lottery player hit the Arizona Lottery's Triple Twist Jackpot Thursday in Glendale to win $285,500.
8 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

If your inbox is a mess, here’s a surefire way to keep email in check

If you’re sick of wasting time searching endless or scrolling through your inbox, it’s time to up your email game. Every Gmail user should do this.
8 hours ago
(Facebook photo / Phoenix Fire Department)...

Newly named Pat Tillman Middle School held ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday

The former Balsz Elementary School is now officially Pat Tillman Middle School as a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday.
1 day ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Screenshot)...

Firefighters extinguish rooftop fire on large commercial building in Phoenix

Firefighters extinguished a fire on the roof of a large commercial structure located near 43rd Avenue and Buckeye Road in Phoenix Saturday.
1 day ago
(Mesa PD Mugshot)...

Mesa suspect booked for repeatedly running over, killing man, police say

A 61-year-old man was arrested Friday for intentionally running over a resident multiple times in east Mesa, authorities said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Gilbert to vote on cutting down service for paratransit program