Woman with disabilities says new bus routes cost her access to Para-transit

5 days 22 hours 16 minutes ago Wednesday, June 12 2019 Jun 12, 2019 Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:05:00 PM CDT June 12, 2019 in News
By: Bailey Yang, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A Boone County woman with disabilities said she recently lost access to ride Columbia Para-Transit buses, something she'd been doing for almost two years.

Myra Hodge said she almost cried when she was told about it on June 3, the same day new routes took effect for Columbia's bus system.

"I have a job, and I am one of the people that depend on Para-Transit to get me to work and to get me to the doctor's appointments," she said.

Hodge's house is located outside of Columbia's city limits, making her ineligible for Para-Transit. She said she was being routinely picked up anyway.

City spokesperson Brian Adkisson said the new bus routes in no way affected who can ride Para-Transit.

"We've never provided rides outside the City of Columbia. Maybe he/she (Hodge) was thinking of some other service company," he said.

Boone County Family Resources said Para-Transit buses used to pick up people who live within a quarter mile of bus routes.

Hodge said she now needs to ask Service for Independent Living (SIL) and OATS Transportation for help.

Samantha McCay, an independent living specialist for SIL, said the cost of riding in private taxis is not affordable for most people with disabilities.

"One consumer showed me the receipts from her taxi rides," she said. "40 to 50 dollars, just to go from the bank to the grocery store and home. People can't afford that."

McCay said SIL may face more pressure as people lose their access to ride Columbia's Para-Transit.

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