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Public Transportation & Persons With Special Transportation Needs House Transportation Committee February 12, 2013 Tom Hingson Transportation Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Transportation & Persons With Special Transportation Needs House Transportation Committee February 12, 2013 Tom Hingson Transportation Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Transportation & Persons With Special Transportation Needs House Transportation Committee February 12, 2013 Tom Hingson Transportation Services Director, Everett Transit Member, Washington State Transit Association Member, Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation Link Transit Everett Transit Pierce Transit

2 What is the State’s Role in Special Needs Transportation? “Washington State has an interest in an effective and efficient transportation network. Public transportation is an essential component of that network. The state has an interest in providing mobility in the state’s most congested areas, in fostering economic vitality through job access and job creation, and in assuring that the state’s citizens have access to basic life-sustaining services in all communities.” Identifying the State Role in Public Transportation, Washington State Joint Transportation Committee (JTC), Parsons Brinkerhoff, January 2011, p. 9 (emphasis added). 2

3 Who are “Persons with Special Transportation Needs?” “…those persons, including their personal attendants, who because of physical or mental disability, income status, or age are unable to transport themselves or to purchase appropriate transportation.” RCW 81.66.010 (3) 3 This includes seniors, children, low-income, disabled, students, veterans, Medicaid patients, and other individuals who need access to work, medical appointments, schools, social service support, and vital community services. Community Transit

4 What is “Special Needs Transportation?” and Who Provides It?  Public transportation – Buses (fixed-route) – Paratransit vehicles (door-to-door/shared ride) – Vans and vanpools – Trains  Non-profit providers  Senior centers  Community volunteers  Family and friends  Schools  Tribes  Medicaid transportation brokers  Private (under contract) – Rural intercity bus service – Cabulances – Taxis 4 WSDOT People for People King County Metro DART (Hopelink) Photo by Atomic Taco C-TRAN

5 Good Coordination Involves Many Partners  Local coalitions – Snohomish County Transp. Coalition (SNOTRAC) – Gorge TransLink – Pierce County Coordinated Transp. Coalition (PCCTC)  Agency Council on Coordinated Transp. (ACCT)  Community Transp. Assoc. of the NW (CTA-NW)  Regional and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (RTPOs and MPOs)  State agencies – WSDOT – Health Care Authority – Dept. of Social & Health Svcs. – Veterans Affairs – Office of Public Instruction  Federal Transit Admin. (FTA) 5

6 Public Transportation – Buses are Accessible  Public transportation agencies provided over 190 million passenger trips on fixed-route buses in Washington in 2011.  Fixed-route buses are required to be accessible and many passengers with special transportation needs can ride the bus.  Training and passenger screening empowers passengers to ride the bus and reduces costs to the agency. 6 Community Transit 2011 Data WSDOT and Link Transit 47% of the 837,508 trips on Link Transit fixed-route buses in Chelan and Douglas Counties in 2011 were by passengers with special transportation needs.

7 But Not Every Passenger Can Ride the Bus  “Complementary paratransit” service is required for people with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route buses. 7 King County Metro’s Access Transportation program provided over 2 million paratransit trips in 2011 for those meeting federal ADA requirements. 2011 Data WSDOT  General requirements: – 3/4 of a mile surrounding all-day regular fixed-route bus route; – Same hours and days; and – No more than twice the regular fixed-route fare.

8 The High Cost of Paratransit  Public transit agencies provided 6.7 million out of the 8.3 million reported paratransit trips in 2011, at a cost of $183 million.  The state provided $19.5 million in special needs transportation grants for public transit agencies in 2001-13 and $5.5 million for non- profit providers.  Paratransit is consuming an increasing share of agency budgets 15% in 2007 vs. 20% in 2011.  Small and rural systems spend even more on paratransit – some over 40% of their budgets.  Challenges with reimbursement and cost- sharing can increase agency operating costs. 8 In 2011, 3% of Pierce Transit’s total trips were on paratransit, but they only recovered 2- 3% of the operating costs and the operating costs consumed over 20% of their total budget. Pierce Transit

9 It Helps to See a Map to See How ADA “Complementary Paratransit” Works 9

10 “Non-emergency Medical Transportation” (NEMT) Trips for Medicaid Add to Local Costs  The state is required to provide transportation to Medicaid appointments, with a state (49%)/federal (51%) match.  Transit agencies are only reimbursed the cost of the bus/paratransit fare, not the actual cost per passenger. Average reimbursement to the provider is about $25 per trip, but this includes the fare, which greatly reduces the average.  Pierce Transit provided 167,623 paratransit trips for Medicaid appointments in 2010. With an average one-way cost of $36.23, this service cost $6.07 million. Under the current approach, the reimbursement was $0.75 per trip, so local taxpayers were required to cover almost all of the cost of these trips. 10 There were 632,210 veterans living in Washington State in 2010. For many, travel to medical appointments is a hardship for many because of extended travel times, distant medical facilities, limited travel options, and difficult outreach for homeless veterans. WSDOT

11 Key Issues for Serving Those with Special Transportation Needs  Shrinking social safety net  Unmet demand and projected growth  High cost with minimal state investment  Grant funds unpredictable  Medicaid - opportunity to leverage funds? 11 Spokane TransitEverett Transit Clallam Transit Columbia County Transit

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