One of the biggest barriers people with disabilities face is transportation.
Whether someone is going to the store or adventuring around the world, traveling is an important part of life. There can be many ways to get to a destination. We’ve compiled information on some travel options that will hopefully make your next excursion a little less of a headache.
Para-Transit & Dial-A-Ride
Some cities in western Montana offer services that allow elders and people with disabilities to reserve rides within their area. These programs, called Dial-A-Ride or Para-Transit, can require a medical professional’s authorization before people are able to reserve rides but can be important avenues of transportation for people with mobility difficulties. These services are usually run by the same organizations that provide fixed-route bus service in your community.
To find out more about available options, please contact the transit agency in your community.
Kalispell – Eagle Transit – (406) 758 5728
Ronan – Lake County Council on Aging – (406) 676 2367
Pablo – Salish & Kootenai Tribes – (406) 675 2700 firstname.lastname@example.org
Libby – Lincoln Country Trans. Service – (406) 293 8024 email@example.com
Missoula – Mountain Line – (406) 543 8386
Missoula – Missoula Ravalli Transportation (Vanpools) –
(406) 327 8707 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton – Bitterroot Bus – (406) 363 7484
Hot Springs – Sanders County Transportation – (406) 741 2346 email@example.com
Amtrak has stations that run along the northern part of the state and offers stops throughout the country. In western Montana, Amtrak trains stop in Libby, Whitefish and West Glacier.
Amtrak features accommodations that include providing accessible space-including seats and accessible bedrooms-but limits reservations to one adult passenger with a companion. To learn more about Amtrak accessibility please visit: tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/ada .
Rimrock Trailways provides service across the state and links up with Greyhound buses for out-of-state travel at specific stops. Currently, travelers who use wheelchairs can ride any Rimrock route with a 48-hour notice. According to their website, they plan to have all line motorcoaches equipped with lifts by October of 2012. To learn more about Rimrock service please visit: www.rimrocktrailways.com .
When using Greyhound for out-of-state trips, they recommend that passengers with disabilities call 1-800-752-4841 at least 48 hours prior to their departure. To learn more about Greyhound policies, visit www.greyhound.com/en/ticketsandtravel/disabledtravelers.aspx . To book Greyhound trips, visit www.greyhound.com .
Western Montana features commercial airports in Missoula and Kalispell. Airlines using these airports must follow the guidelines in the Air Carrier Access Act. Among other guidelines, the Act prohibits the following discriminatory practices:
* Carriers may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability. Airlines may exclude anyone from a flight if carrying the person would be harmful to the safety of the flight. If a carrier excludes a person with a disability on safety grounds, the carrier must provide the person a written explanation of the decision.
* Airlines may not require advance notice that a person with a disability is traveling. Carriers may require up to 48 hours’ advance notice for certain accommodations that require preparation time (e.g., respirator hook-up, transportation of an electric wheelchair on an aircraft with less than 60 seats).
* Carriers may not limit the number of people with disabilities on a flight.
* Carriers may not require a person with a disability to travel with an attendant, except in certain limited circumstances specified in the rule. If the person with the disability and the carrier disagree about the need for an attendant, the airline can require the attendant, but cannot charge for the transportation of the attendant.
Also, after several incidents involving passengers with disabilities, the Transportation Security Administration has released a new phone line called “TSA Cares.” TSA officials recommend that travelers call this number 72 hours before leaving home so the agency can coordinate with local airport security. TSA Cares is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MST by calling (855) 787-2227.
To find out more about transportation options and information, feel free to contact Summit. You can also visit: www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/public_trans.shtml OR www.disability.gov/transportation .
Transportation Task Force Page and TACs
Interested in advocating for better transportation in Montana? Need to find out more about transportation issues and policies?
Check out the Montana Transportation Task Force by calling Shyla Patera at 1(800) 823-6245 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also find the Montana Centers for Independent Living Transportation Task Force on Facebook.