All posts by Clarissa Bell

Rider Demographics and Transportation Difficulties

It is hard to imagine a life where you can’t simply leave whenever you want or go wherever you please, but many people face that challenge every day.  The amount of days people with disabilities leave their home a week is significantly lower than the amount of days the non disabled leave home.

**Please click on graphs to enlarge them**

Graph of the number of days left home during the week by those with disabilities and those without disabilitiesAlong with staying home more than those without disabilities, people with disabilities have a more difficult time getting the transportation they need when they need it.

A graph showing the type of transportation used by those with disabilities and those without disabilities per week. A graph describing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who have difficulties getting transportation each week.

There are hundreds of thousands of Paratransit users in the United States, but the system is still flawed.  The estimated wait time can be longer than they say, and customer send complaints to RTC regarding drivers and their experiences while using Paratransit.

A graph describing Paratransit timer performance. The amount of people registered for paratransit A graph describing the amount of customer complaints received by RTC Access





A program as large as RTC Access and Paratransit should be more user friendly, reliable, and enjoyable.  Because of the procedures adopted by RTC, I believe newer companies will be the next generation of transportation for those with disabilities.

I hope these simple statistics help illustrate how inefficient (and unfair) our current transportation system is for those with disabilities.


** all information is from:

Paratransit Peer Report – January 2011

RTC Access Paratransit Operating Statistics

Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Freedom to Travel

New Technologies in Transportation Causes Concern in Disabled Community

As Uber, Lyft, Sidecar Grow, So Do Concerns of Disabled

Back of a Taxi Van with ADA accessibility sticker as well as "This vehicle authorized to enter bike lanes when necessary" sticker

New means of transportation, such as Uber (a new company that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services), Lyft, and Sidecar, are becoming more popular in large cities.  These new services make accessing transpiration easier for the majority of the population, and is a promising start for those with disabilities if it is executed properly.

The current dilemma is whether or not these new vehicles will be accessible to those with disabilities, especially individuals needing wheelchairs.  Having a wheelchair accessible vehicle generally costs more for the driver in fuel and maintenance, thus turning drivers away from ADA accessible vans.  These new companies were presented with questions on how they were going to make their vehicles and their company more accessible in general.

Some of these new companies talked about partnering with exiting companies that have the required vehicles, while others described giving drivers financial incentives to purchase and drive wheelchair accessible vehicles.  I believe these companies are on the right track, but I think it will be a long time before they become completely successful in helping transport those with disabilities.