Para Transpo information session and workshop: eligibility

Questions, comments or suggestions received

Session 1 – Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Q1. There’s more pressure on doctors to have better criteria for eligibilities. For example, people who are physically fine but have a mental instability should considered eligible, or even for being over age of 65. They should not be asked to use OC Transpo.

A1. Many seniors are still able to take conventional OC Transpo on a regular basis. The same can be said of a person with a mental health disability. It is a case-by-case situation, and that’s why we need the information from a doctor.

Q2. People with obvious physical developmental disabilities should be automatically eligible.

A2. Being in a wheelchair, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t get on a regular bus. That said, some medical conditions are easier to approve, since we know the person’s condition. Some, however, are harder and that’s why we require information from your doctor.

Q3. I’m wondering how “seasonal” will work for extreme heat issues. I have asthma - do I need to go back to the doctor to get my condition changed?

A3. We will discuss this with Lifemark. It may be a case-by-case situation, where it could be a simple discussion or we could need information from a doctor.

Q4. How will things like extreme heat condition work? i.e. If it’s supposed to be 35 on Monday, but it changes, how will booking work? Will there need to be a cancellation? Weather is unpredictable.

A4. We agree, it is unpredictable. If the trip is booked based on the forecast and this changes, it would be up to you if you still want to use the service. In other words, we wouldn’t cancel your trip.

Q5. For physical barriers, is this about infrastructure? Is what you mean physical barriers? People like me who have barriers and an inability to get to the bus stop – is that what you mean?

A5. That’s correct. Conditional eligibility based on “physical barriers” will depend where the physical barriers exist. If the barriers are around your home, then yes, at this time you can use the service as required. However, if you move or change the type of mobility device you use, your eligibility may be reviewed and adjusted.

Q6. What about being dropped off somewhere where it’s inaccessible?

A6. As we don’t necessarily know the accessibility of every bus stop in the city relative to where you’re going / coming from, it may be a case-by-case decision.

Q7. Regarding the new criteria, I that the clientele for persons with mental trouble would be 3,000 more clients in the system? And then the last line in your slide is says no significant increase in the number of users. Where are they?

A7. We started looking at applications including new eligibility categories for persons with developmental / mental health disabilities in April, and we haven’t seen a significant increase in the number of applications received – only 57 so far in about 8 months. That’s not a lot, considering how many applications we receive regularly. And some people might have qualified under other categories anyway. So the number is not expected to be anywhere near 3,000.

Q8. With more customers (people) being accommodated to the service, will there be more resources added to the service?

A8. As mentioned above, the number hasn’t been high, so we’re not anticipating a need to increase service at this time. We regularly review our trips provided every year, and we adjust the service as required and funded by the City.

Q9. It would be easier to use a regular bus if they had hand ties on them, where bus drivers will help them, like other bus companies do.

A9. We encourage people who can use the regular system to do so, as it is an incredibly efficient way to get around. Our goal is to never put a customer in an unsafe situation. Having tie downs that a driver helps the customer with on our conventional buses isn’t practical, based on the way our system works. That is why we have implemented a mixed-use model.

Session 2 – Saturday, January 13, 2018

Q10. What changes have been made to applications so more people fall into these categories?

A10. The application process is being reviewed, and we’re adding sections on cognitive or developmental abilities. The new application is now online.

Q11. How do you plan on dealing with the fluctuation in ride requests that will come with expanded conditional eligibility?

A11. As mentioned in Q7 above, an increase in demand for trips is not anticipated at this time.

Q12. How will the eligibility be regulated at time of booking? Who determines if you qualify?

A12. For variable health, we rely on you to ensure you are using conventional transit when you can, but Para Transpo will be available to you if your health for that day is not favourable (e.g. a person with some conditions may be able to use conventional transit most of the time, but require Para Transpo at certain times or for certain appointments). You, as the customer, would make that judgement call, but we ask that you be fair to other customers when doing so (i.e. your trip may prevent someone else from getting a Para Transpo trip at that time).

For seasonal eligibility, our service is base it on the forecast. We understand that this can be variable. It is therefore up to the customer to decide if Para Transpo is needed in the event that the weather changes.

Q13. What are you doing to make people aware of the new categories? (i.e. someone with a developmental disability) I work for an agency, and many of our parents don’t know about this, so they don’t bother to apply.

A13. Information packages will be sent out soon to our partner agencies. To date our Transit Accessibility Specialist, has been in close contact with the directors of various agencies and school boards. We also have travel training available through different groups. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Specialist at 613-580-2424 ext. 52873 if you need more information.

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