Last updated: 02:35 PM ET, Sun April 10 2016

Transit Agencies Might Partner with Uber, Lyft to Provide Paratransit Services

Impacting Travel | Amy Coyne Bredeson | April 10, 2016

Transit Agencies Might Partner with Uber, Lyft to Provide Paratransit Services

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Amid budget concerns, several transit agencies in the U.S. are considering partnering with Uber and Lyft to provide services for disabled people, The Associated Press reported. Disability advocates are not pleased with the idea. 

Paratransit services, or transportation services provided for people with disabilities, are required under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, AP said.

The problem is that door-to-door pickup and drop-off can be costly for transit agencies.

READ MORE: Accomable Helps Disabled Travelers Find Suitable Accommodations

On average, a single paratransit trip in the U.S. costs about $23, but the average trip on a bus or light rail costs less than $4, AP reported. The average cost per ride in Boston is about $45 and almost $57 in New York, officials told AP.

Across the U.S., transit agencies made about 223 million paratransit trips in 2013, which cost more than $5 billion, AP reported.

Disability advocates argue that ride-hailing services have been criticized for lack of accessibility for disabled people in the past, AP said. They have filed lawsuits against companies for not providing accessible vehicles.

READ MORE: Amtrak Honors Passengers with Disabilities By Making Major Upgrades

A group of disability rights groups and labor unions sent a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in January about their worries, AP reported.

"This is of grave concern to our coalition for many reasons, most importantly because neither company has adequate access to wheelchair accessible vehicles," the letter, obtained by AP, stated.

Uber refused to give AP details of any current paratransit proposals. Lyft told the news agency that it hopes to offer paratransit programs in Boston and Washington, D.C.



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