Check out the MetroAccess Eligibility & Mobility Training Center this week

We’ve been re-configuring the offices behind the Transit Store downtown into a great training facility in conjunction with a planned new eligibility process for MetroAccess. The new process will kick in on Nov. 17, and TODAY you can come learn more about it and tour the new  MetroAccess Eligibility & Mobility Training Center at an open house, from 3-6 p.m. A second open house takes place this Thursday, Nov. 10, same time and place.

As the new four-step eligibility process will include a functional assessment for some customers, a significant portion of the new training center has been transformed to simulate various environmental conditions that would be faced by an individual trying to use Capital Metro. You may have heard about the indoor training bus, for example, but there is also a simulated bus stop.

In addition to their use determining a person’s eligibility for MetroAccess, the new tools provide us a terrific opportunity to train groups of people how to ride Capital Metro, from planning a trip, finding the bus stop, and boarding the bus and paying the fare.

We hope to see you at one of the events this week. Here’s a video overview regarding the new eligibility process for MetroAccess:

2 thoughts on “Check out the MetroAccess Eligibility & Mobility Training Center this week

  1. Will

    Got some questions for you to answer on this blog.

    Question #1: How much did this cost us taxpayers?

    Question #2: The simulated bus stop, did you make sure it was at least 1/2 to 1 mile apart like the bus stops over on Pond Springs? Or the famous one on Rutland and Burnet which consists of a pole and some grass, and dirt.

    Question #3: Will this be used to deny applicants that were already approved for MetroACCESS by their liscensed physican who knows they have difficulty using the service?

    Question #4: Does the simulated bus kneel without problems or controversy?

    Question #5: Do you have a robotic bus operator to argue with said passenger about when the passenger taps his disability fare card or reduced fare card and swipes their pass?

    Question #6: WHY are other transit agencies not doing this such as Houston METRO, or VIA Metropolitan Transit?

    If a liscensed physican with the degrees, and experience signs a form saying that they need paratransit service, who are you to tell them NO.

    Question #7: How is this complaint with DOT, and FTA ADA regulations?

    These are the questions and I would love to hear the answers without the oh i guess or contact this department. I don’t know and I can’t recall are not acceptable just the answers to the questions please.

  2. Erica

    HI, Will. Did you have a chance to make it over to 323 Congress yesterday to see the new center? We’re actually having a second open house event tomorrow and I highly recommend checking it out. I took some pictures at yesterday’s event and have posted them on facebook/capitalmetro if you’re interested.

    #1. At yesterday’s event, I was talking to the director of paratransit services about the creation of the new center, specifically costs, because so much of the development of it was done internally and “on a dime.” For example, all the murals in the center were painted by MetroAccess staff (and they look fantastic). Anyway they are going to calculate the total costs for it so I’ll let you know.

    #2 I learned that the simulated bus stop at the center is not actually part of the functional assessment–it’s the waiting area! But, as an applicant goes through a functional assessment, the transit assessor will observe the applicant performing tasks that mimic the physical, cognitive, and sensory tasks required to take fixed route services. This includes travel over various distances to simulate accessing fixed-route public transit travel under various conditions and circumstances present when making a trip.

    #3. An applicant’s functional abilities related to public transit will be evaluated on an individualized case-by-case basis. Having the professional verification completed by a professional familiar with an applicant’s disabling condition is an important piece of the application process, but does not specifically address all abilities and skills related to accessing public transit. To be clear, some applicants that have ridden MetroAccess in the past and demonstrate that they are able to independently perform all of the tasks necessary to access the fixed-route system either some or all of the time may experience a change in level of eligibility or possibly a denial of eligibility.

    #4. The indoor training bus is fixed at kneeling height. Capital Metro understands the mechanics of fixed route buses may not always be operating properly. The transit functional assessment will address an applicant’s ability to access inclines and steps of various heights and angles to ensure the appropriate level of MetroAccess service is provided for those applicants who are prevented from accessing the Capital Metro fixed-route system.

    #5. I’m sorry if you’ve had a bad experience with a bus driver. Please report rude behavior via the Go LIne (474-1200). It helps to know the time, bus route number, direction, and the bus number when you call. Our number one strategic goal as outlined in our strategic plan is to provide a great customer experience. It sounds like we’ve failed you on that score in the past. I hope we will perform better for you in the future.

    #6. Capital Metro has chosen to follow national best practices with Easter Seals Project Action as a guide for the new eligibility process. Easter Seals Project Action is a proven and longstanding resource for paratransit eligibility practices across the United States. For more information or resources, please visit http://www.projectaction.org. Many public transit agencies of varying size across the US utilize in person eligibility reviews and/or transit functional assessments, including Houston and San Antonio.

    #7. Yes, we’re compliant. The law states that a transit agency that provides fixed-route transportation must also provide complementary paratransit services for individuals who are unable to use the fixed-route system. And, that we develop and administer a process for determining if individuals who request service meet the regulatory criteria for eligibility. As mentioned in #6, we’re following national best practices for our new eligibility process. To read more about the law governing this program, visit http://www.disability.gov/transportation.

    Thanks for the opportunity to address your questions, Will. I hope you make it out to the new center tomorrow, 3-6 p.m., 323 Congress. I’ll post again once I know the cost figures.

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