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Countering the High Costs of Paratransit

A huge but largely under-noticed portion of public transit money goes to paratransit -- equipment and services to transport disabled people. Now, cheaper alternatives are emerging.

"[I]t's a piece of the public transportation puzzle that's often forgotten-by everyone except transit agencies and those who depend on the service. The agencies can't ignore paratransit because they're legally obliged to provide it under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. But it's hugely expensive. Sioux Falls' cost per trip is actually lower than most-a one-way ride for a single disabled person costs more than $30 in many places. While most big cities don't spend as much proportionately as Sioux Falls, it's common for a transit agency to devote 10 percent or more of its operating budget to paratransit. And the fares normally cover less than 10 percent of the costs."

Providing the door-to-door services can be expensive, but cities across the U.S. are developing new strategies to reduce costs.

Full Story: The Costliest Ride

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