MTD attended the 8th Annual “disABILITY Resource Expo: Reaching Out for Answers” Saturday, October 18 at the Fluid Events Center. The 70 Grey and our ADA Paratransit service brought many community members to the event! After five hours of connecting with riders, inquiring riders, and community agency representatives, we began to see a trend in the questions asked. Here’s an FAQ from the 2014 disABILITY Resource Expo.
Fixed Route Service
All buses in MTD’s fleet can be kneeled, lowered to the ground, and a ramp deployed. No explanation required, please just ask the operator! Many attendees had concerns that the route and vehicle they would ride would not be equipped with these resources. We assured them, as we are assure you reader, you can board a route with confidence that these tools will be available to you.
Professionals from across disciplines attended the expo to collect resources for their clients. We told many representatives that MTD is at their service! If you want a box of Maps & Schedules Books delivered, information pamphlets, or an in-person presentation on “How to Ride,” please give us a call! You’re also welcome to visit our Administration & Operations Facility to collect resources in person or just to connect with the appropriate staff person.
Seniors Ride Free
This conversation happened countless times at the expo.
Attendee approaches MTD table and sees brochure titled, ‘Seniors Ride Free.’
“How old do you have to be to be considered a senior?”
“65 years of age,” MTD representative replied.
“Oh wow, I’m [insert age that's 65 or older]! How do you get a pass?”
“You need to go to Illinois Terminal, MTD’s intermodal facility in downtown Champaign. Just
show them proof of age and you’ll be issued a DASH Card. It’s good for three years and you can ride any time, any day.
We often say to seniors that acquiring a DASH Card is like a transportation insurance policy. You may not need it now, but it’s a resource during bad weather and when health and family plans change.
DASH Card for Riders with Disabilities
Medicare Card holders and persons having significant difficulty boarding or alighting from an MTD vehicle may qualify for a DASH Card as a rider with disability. The DASH Card is issued at no cost and provides unlimited access to our fixed route service. Dozens of attendees asked how people qualify and how they can renew their card.
Individuals need to present a letter from the Social Security office that confirms they are receiving aid because of a disability. The Customer Service Center at Illinois Terminal can take the letter and then issue a DASH Card. The letter must be dated within the last 30 days. This letter can be used for a first time DASH Card passenger or for someone who is renewing their pass.
There are also four certifying agencies locally who can issue a verification letter. They are Community Elements, Developmental Service Center (DSC), Division of Rehabilitation Services, and PACE Center for Independent Living.
Once issued, the DASH Card is valid for three years.
Many expo attendees read or heard that rural transportation in Champaign County was no longer operated by the CRIS Rural Mass Transit District. They were correct! MTD was asked by Champaign County to take over management of the service beginning October 1, 2014. Champaign County rebranded the service as the Champaign County Area Transit Service (C-CARTS).
Outside of the name change, the service is relatively the same. Champaign County receives the state funding and defines the service. All of the current C-CARTS employees are former CRIS employees.
The differences are that the service is now managed by MTD’s Special Services Manager, Drew Bargmann, and operations are based out of 1101 East University Avenue instead of 803 East University Avenue. If you have any questions about C-CARTS or want to schedule a ride, please call 217.344.4287. MTD’s Customer Service phone line, 217.384.8188, will not be able to provide trip information or schedule assistance.
ADA Paratransit Service
This curb-to-curb van service is available for qualifying individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act who are unable to access fixed route service. An application must be completed, and approved, before passengers can schedule a trip. Trips must be scheduled a day in advance and cost $2 each way. ADA applications are available for pick up at our Administration & Operations Facility in Urbana. If you have general questions about the program, or need an application mailed to you, please call 217.384.8188 and ask to speak to someone regarding ADA.
Those are the highlights! Thanks to everyone who organized and attended the EXPO. It is a wonderful event. Also thanks to all the riders we met!