Where I live we are fortunate to have the STAR bus (Special Transit Available by Request), a Para-transit service for people with disabilities who are unable to use the regular bus. The STAR bus is generally smaller than a regular bus, provides door to door transportation to a given destination on an advance reservation basis and the fare is $2.50 each way.
First, to be eligible you need to fill out a simple application. The decisions are based on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding a person’s use of public transportation. Reservations are required for all STAR trips and may be made up to 14 days in advance, but no later than 5PM the day before your planned trip. If assistance is needed from the door it must be confirmed at time of reservation.
I had been driving my mom to various doctor appointments and to visit my step-father at a nearby nursing home. A friend recommended my mom try STAR before we went on vacation, and we hoped this would be a good option for whenever I was not available to drive her where she needs to go.
The first time she made arrangements, a STAR car showed up right on time and drove up our driveway. The driver got out and helped mom into the front seat, after placing her roll-later into the trunk. According to my mom, the woman driver was very pleasant chatting all the way to the nursing home. Return trip went just as well.
The second time she called STAR, a small bus showed up at the bottom of our driveway, just 10 minutes late. I helped mom down the driveway. Then the driver got out and assisted her into the back seat of the bus, as another rider already sat in the front. STAR service is a shared ride, meaning they may pick up and drop off other customers during your ride. Mom said they picked up another passenger, which took another 20 minutes. So, when she arrived my step-father was outside waiting for her wondering where she was, worried they would miss lunch.
While we were away on vacation, she reserved a trip to get a CT scan. Instead they drove her to her usual stop, the nursing home. Not sure how that happened. However, after enjoying a visit with my step-father, she talked with a nice young man on the return trip home and rescheduled the CT scan for after we returned from vacation.
Tonight, after dinner my mom mentioned she had called for the Star bus for tomorrow morning and asked them to come up the driveway. Our driveway is a bit of a hill, but STAR’s policy is to park in the road. I reminded mom that we talked this morning about not venturing out into the predicted snowstorm, and my concerns about falling on the thick ice at the end of our driveway.
I think she believes I worry too much, so she went ahead and booked the trip. After pointing out that either my husband or I would have to get up early to clear the snow from the driveway and the ice was too thick to chip away, she agreed to call back & cancel.
Still, we were awakened this morning honking horn. Just as I was throwing my robe on & trying to remember where I left my boots, so I could run out to tell the driver we had called to cancel, I heard her phone ring. She told them she had already called to cancel the ride and the boys took off.
So even with a few glitches we are lucky to have this service in our area.
For more information about STAR (Special Transit Available by Request) click the following link. https://www.cdta.org/star-program#sthash.3fHJSJF2.dpuf
or check with your local bus company to see if they offer similar service.