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TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM ALLOWS DISABLED TO GO WHERE THEY WANT TO GO

TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM ALLOWS DISABLED TO GO WHERE THEY WANT TO GO
 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Although a million people board public buses daily in Los Angeles County, public transit can sometimes add to the challenges of the severely disabled. A new program allows disabled persons to go where they want to go on specially equipped shuttle vans.
 "Metro Access," responds to the Americans With Disabilities Act, and is now operating in the 29 cities of the San Gabriel Valley. The service will be phased-in to serve all 88 cities in Los Angeles County over the next few years.
 "Metro Access goes beyond regular local dial-a-ride services. Curb-to-curb trips are provided to anywhere in the current service area, meaning a disabled person can get to a job, a doctor's appointment, the movies or any other destination," said Michael Antonovich, L.A. County Supervisor and chair of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC).
 The expansion of service from the initial 15 cities to 29 was celebrated today in a "roll-out" ceremony of new Metro Access shuttle vans at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. The hospital serves as one of the two sites that screens people for the service.
 "The intent of the Americans With Disabilities Act was to ensure that individuals with disabilities would be able to participate fully in our society," said Robert Gorski, chair of the LACTC's Specialized Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC). "Accessible and adequate public transportation is a vital element in ensuring our success in maintaining employment and in enjoying the many activities Los Angeles has to offer," he said.
 Since the start of the program in March in the eastern end of the valley, the average daily trips have been at about 125. The added service area extends along the San Bernardino (10) Freeway corridor, providing access to Cal State Los Angeles, USC Medical Center and downtown Los Angeles.
 The program, funded by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC), is operated by the Pomona Valley Transportation Authority (PVTA). The Transit Store in the Indian Hills Mall in Pomona is the other service center site.
 The program is highly specialized in that individuals must be certified for Metro Access service. Candidates are those persons with disabilities who cannot board, ride or exit from an established bus or rail system. Representatives from the medical and social service fields, as well as from the disabled community developed the certification process along with the STAC. Approximately 1,200 people have received certification.
 Metro Access candidates are screened for eligibility through Huntington Memorial Hospital or the Transit Store. Long- and short- distance trips are arranged via computer by calling 800-827-0829, or for the hearing impaired, 800-827-1359. Transit operators from the service area are called upon to provide Metro Access rides from the Transit Store, including Azusa, "Get-About" shuttles, PVTA's Valley Connection buses, Diversified Paratransit and selected taxi companies. Rides are $1.50 each way for trips up to 15 miles. The fare for longer trips depends on the trip length.
 Cost of the program for the 1992-93 fiscal year is approximately $4.85 million, funded by Proposition C dollars.
 Cities served by Metro Access are Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pomona, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, South Pasadena, Temple City, Walnut and West Covina.
 -0- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Roberta Tinajero or Stephanie Brady of LACTC, 213-244-6565, or 213-244-6792/ CO: Los Angeles County Transportation Commission ST: California IN: SU: PDT


AL-JL -- LA018 -- 8595 08/10/92 14:49 EDT
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Date:Aug 10, 1992
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