Expanded rideshare, paratransit, and community-based services
Metro offers a full complement of transportation services to meet different needs. Metro’s VanPool and VanShare programs supply and maintain vans for groups of commuters. RideshareOnline.com, a multi-state service maintained by Metro, matches carpool and vanpool riders and drivers. Every Metro bus is wheelchair-accessible, and Metro also offers curb-to-curb Access van service for qualifying riders. Cyclists can combine transit and bicycling by using the bike racks supplied on every Metro bus.
Transit Now funding was used to improve these services, and also to improve access to its regular bus services for seniors and riders with disabilities.
In 2007, Metro expanded its Access van program to provide service from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays in four rural areas in the eastern and southeastern parts of the county that were not previously served (see map). Metro also began planning enhancements to bus stops that are heavily used by seniors and/or persons with disabilities to make it easier for those customers to ride Metro’s regular buses. Improvements include benches, curb cuts, or shelters, depending on the users’ needs at each stop.
Metro also used Transit Now funds to hire a full-time Access program employee whose primary focus is service quality, and to purchase five new vans for use by social service agencies that serve seniors and people with disabilities under Metro’s Community Access Transportation program.
Metro expanded its commuter van program significantly in 2008, forming over 300 groups and accelerating the purchase of 230 expansion vans to help meet the demand for service.
These commuter van groups are getting started more quickly than in the past thanks to Metro’s new online training. In March 2009, Metro launched an online version of its required orientation course for vanpool and vanshare drivers and bookkeepers. The online course offers convenience and flexibility for customers, while reducing effort and expense for Metro. The course earned Metro the Renovation Award from the Association for Commuter Transportation.
To help bicycle riders get around the region, Metro equipped its fleet with racks that hold three bikes. Bicycle racks are also available on request for all Metro vanpool and vanshare vehicles.