New transit option expected to improve mobility for ADA Paratransit passengers
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Today marks the launch of Pace’s first Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Pilot Project with Uber Technologies, Inc. in DuPage County. Pace’s Board of Directors approved the one-year, $1.1 million maximum pilot earlier this month as part of a $6 million investment in TNC partnerships included in Pace’s 2022 budget.
Branded as the DuPage Access Program, this service provides registered Pace ADA Paratransit passengers a free (up to $30) alternative option to dedicated paratransit services. Passengers will be able to book immediate or scheduled trips using the Uber app. Additionally, ADA-eligible passengers who don't use a smartphone will be able to take advantage of this program when a reservation-by-phone option is launched in February.
“Pace service will not look the same as it did prior to COVID-19, nor should it. Our world has changed, and we are changing with it. It is important that we focus on the implementation of innovative programs like this to meet the redefined needs of those we serve,” said Pace Interim Executive Director Melinda Metzger.
Pace Chairman Richard Kwasneski was enthusiastic about the new program and its potential for growth. “Public-private partnerships like this will be the key to building our service back better. We’ll take what we learn in DuPage and use it to implement similar pilots in other areas,” he said.
The new DuPage program was modeled on Pace’s longstanding Taxi Access Program in Chicago, which likewise offers free taxi rides to ADA-eligible riders with the goal of reducing demand on Pace’s ADA Paratransit service and Pace’s overall costs while offering riders a more convenient way to travel. In addition to providing an alternative service option, this pilot will help alleviate the challenges that are being experienced due to the nation-wide operator shortage. Pace continues its campaign to attract bus operators and maintenance professionals and encourages job seekers to learn more about available positions at www.PaceBus.com/Careers. More information about Pace’s DuPage Access Program can be found at www.PaceBus.com/Dupage-Uber.