Congress: Ensure Disabled People Don’t Lose Access to Our Communities

We must ensure that transit and paratransit services receive the support they need, so that for those of us who cannot drive or cannot afford to drive can still access school, jobs, doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and everything else we need to get to in order to participate fully in our communities.

The fourth COVID-19 relief package should:

  • Maintain ADA paratransit service areas as they existed prior to the pandemic,
    both during and after. Reestablish all transit bus routes entirely after the
    pandemic, and maintain as much as possible during. Provide alternative
    transportation to all riders in need if routes are cut during the pandemic.
  • Adequate provision of protective gear and cleaning supplies for bus, rail,
    paratransit and non-emergency medical transportation workers must be
    prioritized to ensure the health and safety of drivers and passengers. People with
    disabilities, including wheelchair users, will need to travel. Protective gear for
    drivers is essential, especially since they will need to continue to provide
    securement at close proximity for wheelchair users.
  • Allocate emergency stimulus for USDOT’s Section 5310 program which provides
    specialized transit services for people with disabilities where other services are
    unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate.
  • Convene the Coordinating Council on Access & Mobility to identify alternatives to
    receiving services, groceries, care, etc. if transit shuts down and traveling is not
    an option (as it has in some areas).
  • Ensure that COVID-19 transportation policies do not discriminate. Any new policy
    or waiver must take into account the needs of passengers with disabilities and
    ADA obligations.