Coast RTA officials don’t expect the riders with disabilities who use the agency’s door-to-door service to see a temporary stoppage when the program goes away on May 1.
Riders with no physical disabilities will have to make other plans.
That’s what Coast officials said Wednesday, after two weeks of public meetings to talk about plans to disband Coast Transit Plus, a home delivery service that costs riders $6 per trip versus $1.50 for the fixed routes.
Yvette Jefferson, Coast spokeswoman, said CTP riders with disabilities can apply for the Citizens Accessible Transit System (CATS) Plus Program and continue using the public transit system’s buses.
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The CATS Plus Program is a paratransit service aimed at people with disabilities. Jefferson said disabled CTP riders need to fill out a CATS application and get a doctor’s approval to continue receiving bus service.
Jefferson added they’re still looking at other options for CTP riders who’d used the service for work, school or shopping. Partnerships or referrals, she said, are two options on the table, but nothing is currently set in stone.
The CTP service has been in place for four years and utilized mainly by passengers with medical disabilities.
But with rising costs and a difficult economy, the service was determined not to be financially viable, after officials looked at data.
Only 225 people have used the service since July 2011, which equals approximately 5,828 trips at a cost of $378,820 to Coast, according to records.
Susan Morgan’s daughter, Ginette, is in a wheelchair and has taken advantage of the CTP service for six months to get to classes at Miller-Motte Technical College.
Both mother and daughter were at the April 10 public meeting held at Coast RTA’s headquarters in Conway to ask questions.
Susan Morgan said in a follow-up email her daughter found out about the cancelled service when she called to set up her third semester schedule.
“She had set up all components of her college experience,” Susan Morgan said. “Now, once again, she is dependent on me, and that makes her mad.”
Susan Morgan said in the email Ginette has used CTP twice a week.
“It is very frustrating for anyone already in a battle to be taken seriously from a wheelchair to have freedom and independence cut out from under them” she said.