AN OVERVIEW OF PARATRANSIT

The word paratransit comes from the prefix para, meaning "closely related to" and transit, or conventional public transportation services. Paratransit can also be characterized as a transportation service falling somewhere between the private automobile and fixed-route public transportation. Two categories of paratransit, containing five forms, are discussed. Demand-responsive paratransit includes dial-a-ride or dial-a-bus and shared-ride taxi; prearranged ridesharing includes carpools, vanpools, and subscription buses. Paratransit can perform a role in both peak and off-peak times; for the general public and for limited-mobility user groups. The service characteristics of a new paratransit system must match the requirements of enough users to make the system successful. Paratransit users fall into two main groups: those who require demand-responsive paratransit, such as suburban shopppers, the elderly, and rural residents, and those who require prearranged ridesharing paratransit, such as school children and commuters. Demand-responsive users, especially limited mobility users, are discussed. Limited mobility users consist of the elderly, the handicapped, the poor, the young, and the unemployed. Two main types of operating authorities from the public sector provide paratransit services: local governments and regional transit authorities, which provide service for groups of communities or serveral states. Four types of organizations from the private sector operate paratransit services; nonprofit social service agencies; profit-making, nonsubsidized organizations; profit-making transportation providers with local government contracts and subsidies; and employers and employee organizations. Guidelines for selecting providers of demand-responsive paratransit are presented, as are characteristics of general public riders of dial-a-ride transportation in four cities and limited mobility users of special dial-a-ride transport. Characteristics of dial-a-ride and shared-ride taxi are discussed in detail. Prearranged ridesharing transportation, including carpool, vanpool, and subscription bus services, are reviewed. Case studies are presented of the dial-a-ride system in Merrill, Wisconsin; a shared-ride taxi system (Colonial Taxi) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a carpool program of Seattle, Washington; the Tennessee Valley Authority vanpool in Knoxville; and a subscription bus service operating in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties in California.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Published in Urban Transportation Perspectives and Prospects.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Newcastle University, Australia

    Department of Community Programmes
    Newcastle, New South Wales 2308,   Australia 

    Eno Transportation Foundation

    P.O. Box 2055, Saugatuck Station
    Westport, CT  United States  06880-0055
  • Publication Date: 1982

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00399717
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-037 987
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 31 1985 12:00AM