Phoenix Man Wants More Transportation Options For People With Disabilities

Published: Monday, January 8, 2018 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, January 8, 2018 - 5:05am
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(Photo by Christina Estes -KJZZ)
Steven Ramirez wants Phoenix to add companies like Uber and Lyft to its Dial-a-Ride program.

A man who relies on others to get around Phoenix wants the city to increase transportation options. Steven Ramirez wants companies like Uber and Lyft to move into the Dial-a-Ride space.

Dial-a-Ride is a taxpayer-subsidized service that allows people with disabilities to schedule trips in small transit vehicles — they look like a cross between short buses and cargo vans.

During a November city council meeting, Steve Ramirez said calling Uber or Lyft is more convenient than scheduling trips through Dial-a-Ride.

“Rather than schedule 24 hours in advance, I can choose my destination and have a driver show up within ten minutes. Rides that would take me an hour and a half on Dial-a-Ride now take me twenty minutes,” he said.

Ramirez said most Dial-a-Ride users like him do not need wheelchair-accessible vehicles and he asked city leaders to add ride-sharing companies as an option. Phoenix already provides taxi subsidies for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

In a report to city council, staff said the Public Transit Department has been monitoring other agencies' pilot programs that include Uber and Lyft and have invited transportation network companies to learn more about and potentially submit proposals. Staff reported meeting with Ramirez and Tom Jenney, State Director for Americans for Prosperity, in December to discuss the department’s research and share information on the city’s current taxi subsidy programs.

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