The application process for Paratransit service may include functional evaluation or testing of applicants.
Many of the larger transit systems now require in-person interviews or functional assessments to determine whether a disability prevents the applicant from using the fixed route system. The functional assessment usually involves observation of an applicant attempting to perform functional tasks that simulate a fixed route trip, such as climbing steps, crossing a street, walking measured courses, taking cognitive tests, and other activities.
This added step of approval could replace the appraisal of your chosen referral professional.
Complementary paratransit will always have some people with disabilities who are unable to navigate the fixed route bus and train systems on their own.
And we can agree that eligibility determination must focuses solely on the person’s functional ability to use the fixed route service.
Determining ADA Paratransit Eligibility: An Approach, Guidance and Training Materials. Easter Seals Project Action suggest that
“Appropriate professionals” should perform functional assessments. Their examples that are recommend are physical therapists, occupational therapists, or professionals with similar qualifications should conduct physical functional assessments. If assessments are used for people with significant vision loss (legal blindness, the report recommends that “only” Orientation and Mobility Specialists conduct these assessments.
What we may not agree on is that a 30 minute assessment by someone you may or may not have met 35 minute ago knows more about where you can or cannot travel safely than you.