Controlling ADA Paratransit Costs with In-Person Eligibility Assessment

This paper describes how the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) transitioned to an in-person eligibility process for ADA paratransit approximately one year ago under a contract with Orthopaedic Hospital of Los Angeles. The goals were to make the right eligibility decisions for customers and to provide a customer-friendly process. SamTrans hoped to see the total number of paratransit customers decline as some customers transitioned to fixed routes and the number of new applicants declined. The SamTrans eligibility assessment process is relatively short. The applicant receives a brochure describing the accessible fixed-route bus service and the paratransit service. If the applicant feels s/he is eligible for paratransit, s/he calls the contracted eligibility office to schedule an appointment for an in-person assessment. If requested, SamTrans provides transportation to and from the interview. The contractor performs functional testing as needed. To reduce the burden of recertifying every three years for clients in Alzheimer’s day treatment programs, on-site group recertifications have been instituted. In the long term, recertification will be automatic for applicants whose condition is not expected to improve or is such that they are unable to participate in the interview. For applicants just released from the hospital, SamTrans has created an expedited process to allow them immediate access to ADA paratransit. First-year results suggest that ADA paratransit operating costs can be controlled by in-person assessment. SamTrans has seen a decline in the number of new applicants and a decline in the total number of registrants. As a consequence, future operating costs expressed in constant dollars are expected to decline. The decline is projected to be sufficient by 2006 to offset the cost of outsourcing the certification process, which will result in a net program cost saving. De-certification of existing customers has been a challenge. Advocates have expressed great interest in these cases, and SamTrans has had to take care to demonstrate that the decisions were made fairly. Mental health cases have also been challenging because the applicant may not disclose their disability. SamTrans continues to work on the appeal process to ensure that the reassessment is conducted using the same principles of functional ability as in the original assessment.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 7p
  • Monograph Title: 2005 Bus & Paratransit Conference

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01001932
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 1931594163
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 12 2005 3:31PM