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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Public Transportation Works for Everyone

HART buses are accessible for everyone
Stop and think for a minute, "What if..."

What if you couldn't walk? What if you couldn't see? Or hear? What would change in your life? Would you be able to work? How would you get there?

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and HART is proud to recognize the important role people with disabilities play in our community, in our businesses, and in our economy.

Onboard our buses and vans, we meet people with disabilities every day. We've designed our services to meet the needs of people with disabilities, which makes access for everyone a little easier.

Buses Built for Access
All HART buses are designed for easier access. Each bus can carry up to two wheelchairs at a time, with secure tie-downs and other features to increase the safety of riders. Boarding the bus is also easier, with ramps that extend to the sidewalk and a "kneeling" function that lowers the front of the bus so anyone with limited mobility can board without having to step up.

People who are visually impaired rely on audio cues to tell them where they are and when their stop is approaching. HART has recently installed automated onboard audio announcements that alert passengers to major intersections and approaching stops.

At the street level, HART has been working to upgrade its bus stops to improve accessibility. In 2007, we launched a system-wide evaluation of the nearly 4,500 bus stops, transfer centers and transit centers we serve to find out what kind of accessibility improvements need to be made.

In the last two years, we've installed 223 new shelters, plus bus landing pads, ramps, and railings at many of the stops most in need of improvement. To see HART's 2007 Bus Stop & Facility Accessibility Study Draft Summary Report, click here.

Personal Training
For some people, using the bus for the first time can be intimidating, especially with mobility issues. But HART helps them move past those fears with our Travel Training program, giving them a personal "bus buddy" who takes them through that first trip on the bus. The Travel Training program provides one-on-one instruction on reading the timetables, knowing which stops to use, how long the trip will take, when to change buses, and much, much more. The Travel Trainer creates an itinerary for the customer, and accompanies him or her on the first trip for free.

HART's award-winning Travel Training program has been an enormous success, giving people confidence to ride the bus and gain independence.

HARTplus Takes You There
For people who are unable to use regularly scheduled bus service, HART provides HARTplus, a specialized service for people with disabilities. After an application and interview process, HARTplus customers are certified to use the service as needed. HARTplus customers make advance reservations for trips to and from any location that's within 3/4-mile of a HART local bus route. For many people, HARTplus is a vital link to medical appointments, shopping and employment destinations.

Equal Opportunity Employer
In addition to providing transportation for people to get to their jobs, HART also proudly employs a diverse workforce including people of all abilities.

To learn more about National Disability Employment Month, click here.

For a listing of current job openings at HART, click here.

For more on HART's services for people with disabilities, click on the links below.

HARTplus

Travel Training

Discount Fare Cards

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Comments to this blog are moderated by HART staff. Constructive comments are welcome; any obscene, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate comments will be deleted before posting. Questions about specific service ("is my bus on time?") cannot be answered here, and should be directed to the HARTinfo Line at (813) 254-HART (4278). General questions may be addressed in future posts.