Dial-a-Ride services in Maricopa County, Az. are growing in popularity.
The federally mandated transportation program uses vans and other vehicles to transport the elderly, disabled and others where normal public transportation is not a viable option.
With a population of around 4 million, Maricopa County is the most populated county in the state. An increasing amount of residents there have come to rely on Dial-a-Ride in several cities including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe.
For fiscal year 2015, East Valley Dial-a-Ride, which serves Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe, transported 303,080 passengers, or roughly 7 percent more than 2014.
Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride provided 85,204 passengers with rides during fiscal year 2015, which is a 13 percent increase from the year prior. Northwest Valley Dial-a-Ride serves El Mirage, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise and Youngtown.
Revenues that support Valley Metro’s Dial-a-Ride include Regional Public Transit Funds (Proposition 400), local city funds from member cities, Arizona Lottery Funds, passenger fares and a small percentage of federal 5310 funds.
Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab, is contracted to provide Dial-a-Ride services in Maricopa County.
The U.S. Section 5310 program, established in 1975, awards grants “to private non-profit organizations to serve the transportation needs of elderly persons and persons with disabilities.”
Dial-a-Ride mostly provides transportation to residents that have been certified as disabled through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people that have a disability but are not ADA certified and seniors over the age of 65.
Dial-a-Ride is also available to the general public on a limited basis in some Maricopa County cities, such as Glendale.
Fares vary depending on a resident’s location and qualifying conditions. For instance, an ADA qualified passenger in Peoria will pay $1 for a trip, while a similar passenger in Phoenix will pay $4.
Residents must schedule a ride at least a day in advance. Companions ride for free. Personal care attendants are available for qualifying residents.