The bus rolled up outside her home. The driver engaged the wheelchair lift and helped her maneuver to the sidewalk. He was so helpful! As she rolled toward her home, she eyed the temporary ramp leading to the front door. It was starting rain; she was nervous about navigating that ramp on her own.
Thankfully, she had arranged for a private caregiver to be there to help her get up that ramp and settled into her home. The friendly caregiver was walking toward her now and greeting her by name. What a relief!
The benefits of paratransit services
Paratransit from Whatcom Transportation Authority is a fantastic service at a great price (just $1 per ride, generally). They help many, many people move around Whatcom County, including the elderly, disabled and those with mobility challenges.
To be eligible for paratransit rides, an application needs to be submitted to the transit operator. Riders (or their representatives) may be able to take part in a phone interview as an alternative. Either way, the paratransit operator will need to know why the rider is unable to ride buses on existing fixed routes throughout Whatcom County.
Signing up for paratransit can be a fairly easy process, and WTA does a nice job providing this service in our community.
Shared transportation is not always a good fit
Sometimes, however, public transportation does not line up with the needs of a rider.
For example, paratransit services generally mirror the times and locations of fixed routes, so riders may not be able to use the service on their schedule or at the time they need if they’re in an unserved part of the county or if it’s early or late in the day. Those living in rural areas of Whatcom County may find it a challenge to use paratransit services on certain days of the week.
Another item to note is that paratransit trips are shared with other riders. Transit operators schedule their daily service routes to include picking up and dropping off people along a certain route. They work to include the time it takes to load passengers who use mobility devices and the time it takes to wait through unforeseen traffic.
For a 1 p.m. appointment, for example, the bus may need to pick the rider up at 11:30 a.m. or noon to account for other stops along the route. That’s totally understandable; that’s how public transportation works.
Due to bus rides that may be 45 minutes or longer, using public transportation can be difficult for older adults with a variety of health conditions, such as joint stiffness and bladder issues.
An alternative for paratransit in Whatcom County
For those looking for an alternative to paratransit, caregivers from Take My Hand At-Home Care can be hired to provide personal transportation that gets older adults and disabled individuals from door to door — inside a doctor’s office and inside their home (settled in, even) — on a schedule that works for them.
Hiring a caregiver to provide private transportation is an efficient, worry-free way to be transported to many places, such as social outings, family events and medical appointments.
Licensed caregiver companions can even sit in on doctor’s appointments and relay info to family members who could not be present. They can ask questions on behalf of the patient and advocate on their behalf. This is a great option for adult children who are trying to help their parent while residing in another city or state.
The benefits of hiring private transportation
No long periods of waiting. No concern about being too early or late for appointments. No worrying about making it through a long bus ride without access to a restroom. No wondering about managing mobility challenges into the home. The benefits are many!
If you have loved ones living in Lynden, Bellingham, Ferndale or somewhere else in Whatcom County, and if they would benefit from personal transportation and help from a part-time caregiver – maybe because they’re recovering from surgery, or maybe because they’re older and need assistance getting around – please connect them with Take My Hand At-Home Care.