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The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and community partner leadership cut the ribbon on a newly renovated, state-of-the-art assessment center supporting customers and staff of Access, the agency’s paratransit service.

“We have so many exciting things in store to reinvent what paratransit and transit access for all means in our community,” said SORTA GM/CEO Darryl Haley. “This new assessment center serves as a symbol of that progress forward for our customers living with disabilities.”

Over the last year, the assessment center has undergone a complete renovation, including the in-house fabrication and installation of a half-sized bus equipped with a windshield-sized video screen, used to simulate fixed-route rides and assess a whether a customer’s disability would prevent them from using SORTA’s Metro bus system. The facility also simulates various terrains and other features at or near bus stops as part of these assessments.

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The assessment center renovation is just one of numerous steps SORTA is taking to boost access to paratransit throughout Hamilton County and streamline coordination with other regional paratransit providers across county lines. Those plans will include a single-point reservation process, through which paratransit customers can book a trip supported by multiple agencies spanning the region.

Additionally, leaders from transit agencies throughout Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky — in partnership with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce — have established a regional paratransit coordination committee to continue studying and developing these additional services.

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