The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) is undertaking an in-depth analysis of its paratransit service, Access GSO.
According to the press release, GTA, which is responsible for both the fixed route bus service and Access GSO, has contracted with transit planning consultant AECOM for an American with Disabilities Act operational analysis of the Access GSO service.
AECOM will evaluate service delivery, financial performance and eligibility processes and then will work with GTA to refine and reengineer policies and operations to make Access GSO sustainable and in line with the needs of the community.
This study is the third attempt of GTA to alter Access GSO service and it appears doing the study before taking the other actions might have been advisable.
Beginning March 1, GTA restricted the Access GSO service in the premium service area. After 8 p.m. and on weekends, Access GSO service was no longer provided in the premium service area, but the I-Ride service was provided. A number of Access GSO riders complained to the City Council that the increased cost of the I-Ride service, which is an Uber like transportation service for the handicapped, was too much. The fare for Access GSO is $1.50 and the minimum fare for I-Ride is $6, but it can increase based on the length of the trip and is more expensive if the rider uses a wheelchair.
In March, Mayor Nancy Vaughan ordered GTA to go back to providing Access GSO service for all riders.
The city is required to provide paratransit service within three-quarters of a mile of a city bus route and the area outside that three-quarter of a mile zone is considered a “premium service area.”
At the time, Greensboro Department of Transportation Director Hanna Cockburn explained that adjustments were being made because the paratransit service currently accounted for over 40 percent of the GTA budget.
In May GTA held a series of virtual public hearings on a proposal to double the Access GSO fares to $3 beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
In June the City Council reached a consensus to raise the fares 50 cents a year for three years.