May 30, 2012

Orange County, Calif. paratransit system honored

The Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority recently received statewide recognition as Paratransit System of the Year for its ACCESS paratransit service, which provides more than 1.3 million trips annually for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The award was accepted during the California Association of Coordinated Transportation’s (CalACT) 2012 Spring Conference and EXPO in April. CalACT is a nonprofit organization representing the interests of small, rural and specialized transportation providers throughout California.

The award recognizes OCTA’s accomplishments in paratransit services compared to other agencies in California based upon customer satisfaction, cost effectiveness and sustainability. It also highlights OCTA’s efforts to cultivate and engage in innovative community and special needs transportation programs.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by such a worthy organization and to be selected from among so many quality programs statewide,” said OCTA Chairman Paul Glaab, also the mayor of Laguna Niguel. “We strive each and every day to provide the best possible transit service for those in our community who are most in need.”

ACCESS services exemplify CalACT’s core values of professional excellence through originality, coordination and freedom through mobility choices. Applicants were evaluated on efficiency, customer service, effectiveness, and how the agency coordinates services with other providers and agencies in their service area.  

A recent OCTA customer satisfaction survey showed 88% of those who use ACCESS are satisfied with the service, with the majority of users highly satisfied. A total of 58,000 people are certified as eligible to use ACCESS service.

A person is eligible for ACCESS service if they are unable to board or exit a fixed-route bus, get to or from a bus stop due to physical or environmental barriers, or do not understand how to ride the bus. Eligibility is based on a person's functional abilities and limitations due to a disability, not a specific diagnosis or disability. OCTA has a formal certification process used to determine if a rider is eligible for ACCESS.

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