LA Metro announces funding opportunity to increase wheelchair-accessible vehicle services

Posted: 9 December 2022 | | No comments yet

Provided through the State of California’s Access for All Program, the funding will help increase the availability of on-demand wheelchair-accessible vehicles for people with disabilities across Los Angeles County.

LA Metro announces funding opportunity to increase wheelchair-accessible vehicle services

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) has announced that it will release a Solicitation for Proposals for up to $7.8 million in funds through the State of California’s Access for All Program to expand access to on-demand wheelchair-accessible vehicle services in Los Angeles (LA) County.   

The programme aims to improve the response time for hiring on-demand wheelchair-accessible vehicles and to increase their number and availability for people relying on mobility devices.

“Deep in the DNA of Metro are the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Metro Board Chair and City of Glendale Council Member Ara J. Najarian. “Our Access for All Program lives up to those values by levelling the playing field for services and making wheelchair-accessible vehicles more available where they’re needed most.”

LA County has received $9.2 million in funding from the FY 2021 and FY 2022 funding cycles combined. Of these funds, 15 per cent is set aside for administrative expenses, leaving a total of $7.8 million for eligible projects.

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“We give hundreds of thousands of rides a month to customers in wheelchairs,” said Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of LA Metro. “Access for All funding helps us increase the availability of services to help our riders who require accessible vehicles for their transportation needs. We look forward to working with the state to fund this vital programme.”

The California Senate Bill 1376 requires the California Public Utilities Commission, as part of its regulation of Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft, to establish a programme to improve the accessibility of people with disabilities to on-demand transportation services that are requested through online-enabled applications or platforms.

Through this programme, these companies pay a fee to the commission for each passenger trip originating in each county state-wide that their providers complete. From the fees collected, the commission creates an ‘Access Fund’ to deposit the revenue, which is then re-distributed to local administrators to pay for services of competitively selected access providers to operate on-demand wheelchair-accessible vehicle services in their counties.

LA Metro will release a funding application in December 2022 with a submittal deadline in February 2023 to the public following the Board’s approval. Government, non-profit and for-profit organisations will be eligible to apply if they provide direct wheelchair access vehicle transportation services and otherwise meet the definition of an access provider. After evaluating its applications, LA Metro will make funding recommendations to the Board and provide ongoing oversight of the chosen providers.