Under the Transportation Standard of the AODA, specialized transportation providers must create, implement, maintain, and document multi-year accessibility plans. Accessibility plans for specialized transportation providers describe how the providers will work to prevent or remove barriers against people with disabilities.
Accessibility Plans for Specialized Transportation Providers
All public sector and large private organizations must create accessibility plans. However, there are a few topics that specialized transportation providers must include in their plans that do not apply to other kinds of organizations.
Providers must outline in their plans what procedures they will follow when accessibility equipment on their vehicles fails. They should also inform passengers with disabilities about these procedures, so that passengers will know what will happen if equipment fails.
Demand and Wait Times
Providers must also plan how they will estimate demand for their services. In other words, they must outline their process for determining how many people in the community will need their services. This estimate will help them plan how many vehicles, booking agents, and other elements of service they will need. In addition, providers must plan how they will reduce wait times for rides. Wait time is the amount of time between when a ride is supposed to arrive and when it does arrive.
Reviewing and Updating Plans
Providers must post plans on their websites and provide copies in accessible formats upon request. They must review and update the plans every five years. Furthermore, providers must consult people with disabilities during the process of creating, reviewing, and updating their plans. In addition, they must write status reports every year that describe the progress they make toward implementing their plans. They must also post these reports on their websites and provide copies in accessible formats upon request.
More to Plan
Accessibility plans for specialized transportation providers ensure that several important aspects of specialized transportation run smoothly. However, if there were requirements to include more details in provider’s plans, services might improve further. For instance, the plans of conventional transportation providers require them to create processes for accepting and responding to feedback from passengers with disabilities.
Feedback allows providers to learn about any difficulties or barriers passengers have encountered, so that providers can improve their equipment or services. Moreover, conventional transportation providers must hold at least one public meeting every year where passengers with disabilities can offer feedback on accessibility plans. If the provider also offers specialized transportation, the meeting can cover both types of transportation. However, specialized transportation providers not connected with a conventional provider are not required to hold meetings about accessibility. Without arrangements for holding meetings and responding to feedback, providers lose valuable opportunities to hear from a wide audience about how to improve their services.