EDMOND — Mark Maddy relies on his wheelchair and Edmond's paratransit service to get to the University of Central Oklahoma where he is an assistant professor.
But Maddy may have to look for another means of transportation if the city council approves a recommendation to reduce the area served by the service.
Maddy, a member of Edmond's Public Transportation Committee, made a motion this week to recommend the paratransit service no longer be offered to the entire city because it is running at capacity while rider requests continue to grow.
The committee voted to recommend the service only be provided for rides within 3/4 mile of the fix routes on the city's public transportation system, which is the minimum requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The service now covers the entire 90 square miles of the city limits.
Maddy lives about 75 feet outside the proposed designated area.
“I made the motion even though it affects me,” he said. “If they can't get me, I will abide with the rules.”
CityLink's paratransit service provided 8,453 rides last fiscal year, up from 3,520 rides in 2009-10. Each month, 10 to 12 new applications for the service are submitted.
John Pleveich, Edmond's McDonald Transit general manager, said the only options are to add another bus or cut back on the service area.
McDonald would charge $100,000 to operate another bus. CityLink has a spare bus, but if one of the route buses breaks down, there wouldn't be a bus to continue with the regular service.
“Sometimes we have to wait for a part,” Pleveich said. “There would be nothing we could do. This is a tough decision. Any decisions we make today is short term.”
CityLink has relied mainly on federal funding to operate the public transportation system and that funding is shrinking. This fiscal year, city leaders had to come up with an additional $50,000 for the CityLink bus service.
The transportation committee is studying how to get additional money.
A public hearing will be scheduled about the recommended change in paratransit service before the city council makes the final decision.
“It is hard to look someone in the eye and say we can't provide service,” Pleveich said. “We need to do something fairly quickly.”