In 1979, a visionary California State Assemblyman chose to legislate the concept of coordinated transportation throughout the State. Using Paratransit, Inc. as a model, Assemblyman Walter Ingalls authored Assembly Bill (AB) 120, the Social Service Transportation Improvement Act. This landmark legislation included a provision calling for the designation of a Consolidated Transportation Service Agency (CTSA) in each California county. Paratransit, Inc. was the first such agency designated in California.
Since 1981, Paratransit, Inc. has served the Sacramento area as its Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA). As the designated CTSA in Sacramento, Paratransit works with social service agencies, such as United Cerebral Palsy, Asian Community Center, and Elk Grove Adult Community Training, to increase transportation options for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and persons with low incomes.
Paratransit, in its role as the leader in coordinated transportation efforts in the region, has designed and implemented a variety of programs to assist human services agencies in delivering cost-efficient, client-focused transportation. For over 30 years, Paratransit has worked with local non-profit organizations, offering services such as:
Paratransit operates a state-of-the-art maintenance shop for its own vehicles and those of other agencies in the Sacramento area. Since 1979, Paratransit's maintenance program and all of its technical capability have been made available to community agencies for the maintenance of their fleets. By offering the services of dedicated mechanics with specialized training, Paratransit gives these outside organizations access to skills that are not readily available in the normal maintenance community. With business hours that far exceed most private shops, Paratransit offers the convenience that is so important to community agencies that often lack backup vehicles. Paratransit also makes available loaner vehicles comparable to the type operated by agencies for use while repairs are being completed.
From its inception in 1978, Paratransit has developed partnerships with community-based organizations, thus creating opportunities for transportation coordination. The initial service operated by the agency consisted of two buses donated by the Community College District in Sacramento. The vehicles were utilized first for service for college students and then were available for trips for elderly or disabled individuals in the Sacramento area. Other coordination partnerships followed.
Since its designation as CTSA in 1981, Paratransit, Inc. has continued to take its leadership role in coordinated transportation very seriously, actively seeking human service organizations with which to partner. In each case, creativity and flexibility have been the cornerstones to a successful relationship that resulted in increased transportation services for seniors, persons with physical, mental or cognitive disabilities, and individuals with low income.
The goal of Paratransit's CTSA Partnership Program is to empower social service agencies to provide transportation services to their clients, thus moving individuals who would qualify for ADA service to lower cost alternatives. An example of the success of a partnership is the Asian Community Center (ACC) in Sacramento. Using two "retired" vehicles provided by Paratransit, Inc, ACC organized a cadre of 55 volunteer drivers to provide nearly 8,000 trips during Fiscal Year 2008 - at a fraction of the cost of comparable dial-a-ride type service.
Paratransit has partnership agreements with over a dozen agencies in Sacramento County. Each agreement is unique, just as each partner is unique, with variations in staff size, number of drivers, geographical area served, and client populations. The service provided by the human service agencies is very cost effective and results in higher quality service for the client through the dedication of the agency to its clients, the stability of routine pick up and drop off schedules, and the often shorter trip length due to proximity of individuals to programs.
In the early 1980s Paratransit began providing travel training programs, which are designed to teach disabled, elderly and low-income individuals to use fixed route public transit rather than door-to-door service. Paratransit is a nationally recognized leader in mobility training and currently operates programs in California (Sacramento, San Jose, San Joaquin County), Washington (Spokane) and Hawaii (Honolulu) and advises public and non-profit agencies in transit districts across the country. Paratransit has successfully trained over 10,500 clients, logging more than 200,000 hours working with older adults and individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. One of its key staff members is part of the national Easter Seals Project Action team that teaches travel training techniques to other agencies.