SORTA cuts ribbon on paratransit assessment center

Sept. 7, 2022
The renovated assessment center includes a half-sized bus used to simulate rides and assess whether a customer’s disability would prevent them from using SORTA’s bus system.

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and community partner leadership celebrated the authority’s new state-of-the-art assessment center by holding a ribbon cutting ceremony in August 2022. The assessment center supports customers and staff of Access, the agency’s paratransit service. SORTA CEO and General Manager Darryl Haley dedicated the center to all people living with a disability in Greater Cincinnati.

“We have so many exciting things in store to reinvent what paratransit and transit access for all means in our community,” said SORTA CEO and General Manager Darryl Haley. “This new assessment center serves as a symbol of that progress forward for our customers living with disabilities.”

The complete renovation of the assessment center during the past year included the in-house fabrication and installation of a half-sized bus equipped with a windshield-sized video screen used to simulate fixed-route rides and assess a whether a customer’s disability would prevent them from using SORTA’s Metro bus system. The facility also simulates various terrains and other features at or near bus stops as part of these assessments.

The assessment center renovation is one of several steps SORTA is taking to boost access to paratransit throughout Hamilton County, Ohio, and streamline coordination with other regional paratransit providers across county lines. Those plans will include a single-point reservation process, through which paratransit customers can book a trip supported by multiple agencies spanning the region.

Additionally, leaders from transit agencies throughout Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky – in partnership with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce – have established a regional paratransit coordination committee to continue studying and developing these additional services.