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Dover Post
  • Delaware Transit Corporation postpones implementation of portions of redesign plan

  • The Delaware Transit Corporation announced Friday that many of the changes to Delaware's paratransit system proposed earlier this year will be postponed until the fall.
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  • The Delaware Transit Corporation announced Friday that many of the changes to Delaware's paratransit system proposed earlier this year will be postponed until the fall.
    During a string of public forums held by the transit corporation in September, the public was presented with a list of proposed changes that included fare increases, enhancements to the no-show policy, and implementing conditional eligibility for those who suffer from conditions such as night blindness.
    Due to feedback the department received, the transit corporation decided it would hold off on implementing those changes, with the exception of fare increases, until September.
    "People recognize the need to make changes, but they want to see more details and be more a part of the process," said Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt said. "We don't want people to feel this is something we are doing to them. We want it to be something we are doing with them."
    In the meantime, DTC will be meeting with stakeholders, Bhatt said.
    Changes also included extending fixed route service in some areas. The primary change that Kent County residents will see in fixed-route transit will be an extension of weekday service hours. Weekday service hours will now run until 9 p.m., rather than ending service at 6 p.m. This change will take effect on Feb. 9.
    Five evening trips between Smyrna and Dover will now operate on Del. Route 1, rather than on U.S. Route 13. Due to the extension in hours, Route 120 will serve Governors Avenue, replacing the three northbound and two southbound trips made by Route 301.
    In its initial plan DTC proposed increasing fixed-route, inter-county and paratransit fares over the course of two year. After fielding public inquiries throughout the fall, DTC has since revised that plan, said Richard Paprcka, acting CEO for DTC.
    "Many of our customers recognize the need for the fare increase but the initial reaction was that it was probably too much too soon," Paprcka said. "So the fare increase will be over three years not two."
    The cash fare in Kent County will go from $1 to $1.50 starting Feb. 9. The fare will increase again to $1.75 in January 2015 and the final increase to $2 will take effect in January 2016.
    The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that paratransit be provided within a three-quarter-mile corridor of fixed route transit routes. Fares for paratransit riders who use paratransit within that three-quarter-mile corridor will also see an increase in their fares. ADA paratransit fares are currently $2; effective July 1, fares will increase to $3 and will remain at $3 until July 2016, when fares will increase to $4.
    Currently the fare for paratransit trips that begin or end outside of that three-quarter-mile radius carry the same fare as an ADA compliant trip. The fare for non-ADA trips will rise from $2 to $4 on July 1 of this year. In 2015, the fare will be raised to $5 and another $1 increase will go into effect in July 2016.
    Page 2 of 2 - The cost of paratransit currently stands at roughly $50 million per year, Bhatt said. In order to find a way to control costs DTC began looking at ways to redesign the system.
    "We are going to talk to rehabilitation agencies, developmental disability agencies, offices of Easter Seals, the folks who are big consumers of paratransit," Bhatt said. "Another group we will talk to will be non-profit providers like CHEER, Modern Maturity Center, who are providing transit. We want to talk to riders. If there are local groups that have ideas that we have not considered we want to sit down with them and give everybody an opportunity."
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