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GTA improves service for riders with disabilities

News & Record - 1/30/2019

Jan. 29--GREENSBORO -- Riders with disabilities will be able to go straight to their destination thanks to a new service the Greensboro Transit Authority plans to start Friday.

The new I-Ride service bolsters the city's traditional, shared-ride SCAT fleet that picks up several or more riders in different locations and delivers them to places that can be far apart.

The I-Ride fleet focuses instead on one trip at a time, said GTA spokesman Kevin Elwood.

"These trips will not stop to pick up and discharge other passengers, allowing a faster trip and greater capacity for personal items," Elwood said in a news release. "In addition, users of I-Ride can reserve a ride in as little as two hours as opposed to 24 hours with SCAT."

The new service is being offered at $6 per ride versus $1.50 for the less personalized SCAT service. SCAT will continue to operate as it has citywide.

"Similar to SCAT buses, riders will be escorted to their vehicle and driven to their reserved destination for a flat fare by people trained in disability sensitivity and response," Elwood said of the new service.

He added that the I-Ride will help "persons with disabilities who are comfortable with travel by car" to reach their workplace, medical appointments and other destinations "much faster without the exchange of cash or tickets."

I-Ride passengers pay for each trip when they call to reserve their ride using a credit or debit card.

Riders' personal care assistants can ride along free of charge, while other additional passengers pay the same $6 fee.

Elwood said the new service "is built on the ride-hailing model made popular by Uber and Lyft." It is being launched in a six-month trial under a contract with UZURV, a transportation services company based in Richmond, Va.

Use of I-Ride services is limited to Greensboro residents with disabilities who are properly certified. Riders already certified for the use of SCAT paratransit services are automatically qualified for I-Ride.

I-Ride services can be scheduled up to 30 days in advance, and service animals also are allowed to ride along.

In its roll-out phase, the new service is not available to those who need a wheelchair or scooter to get around, but GTA plans to add wheelchair service in March.

At the outset, I-Ride is accepting reservations only by phone, but GTA is considering expanding to online and app-based reservations in the future, Elwood said.

For now, riders can make I-Ride reservations by calling 336-663-1693.

More information about I-Ride also is available online at www.ridegta.com. Click on "SCAT Paratransit Services" in the left menu.

Contact Taft Wireback at 336-373-7100 and follow @TaftWirebackNR on Twitter.

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