Cities in our area are connected by "regional" or "commuter" routes as opposed to "fixed route" service. This means that Paratransit doesn't run between communities. This leaves people with significant disabilities few options:
1. In theory, someone with a disability could use paratransit to connect to the regional route, take the regional route to the other city, and then use paratransit to get to their final destination. However, with the waiting time for paratransit, this takes a significant amount of planning. Additionally, our area experiences extreme weather. This means that waiting outside for long periods of time at the regional bus stop for Paratransit to arrive would not be safe for significant portions of the year.
2. Minor portions of the two cities can be reached using a taxi voucher system. However, the vouchers are used up quickly each day. Additionally, the geographic area that can be reached with the taxi vouchers is very limited.
3. Hope that a friend/family member is willing to drive you.
These options are difficult to coordinate, especially for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, the options above are not reliable methods to get to/from a job.
To make the situation more complex, one of the cities in our area is very expensive to live in - but has the most jobs. The other communities are more affordable but do not have as many jobs. That means that people with disabilities sometimes have to leave their job in order to secure housing - because there is no reliable way to travel from their more affordable home to their job.
Communities that are connected through regional or commuter routes should have to find solutions to help those with disabilities gain access to those routes.