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Survey: Transportation a Roadblock for Ohioans with Disabilities

Some Ohioans with disabilities say public transportation can be hard to access and doesn't always run on time. (Metro Bus/Flickr)
Some Ohioans with disabilities say public transportation can be hard to access and doesn't always run on time. (Metro Bus/Flickr)
August 11, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Not having a ride can certainly be an inconvenience, but for individuals with disabilities, it can be a major roadblock in life.

A new survey says transportation is the number one unmet need of Ohioans with disabilities. Barriers to getting around include difficulty driving a vehicle, having a mobility problem, and inability to walk more than a quarter mile.

Mark Seifarth, chair of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, says transportation isn't only about getting from point 'A' to point 'B' - it's about being an active member of the community.

"Being able to participate; it's being able to have a job or volunteer, or go where you need to go and be with the people you want to be with and participate," he explains. "So, transportation has a lot more to do than just inclusion."

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they get rides from family members or friends, and half report waiting at least 30 minutes for that ride. Seifarth says the survey results will be used by advocacy groups, state agencies and transit authorities to address these challenges.

Eleven percent of those surveyed use public transportation, which some said is hard to access and can take too long. And Siefarth adds nearly 67 percent reported having difficulty reading bus and transit schedules.

"A number of folks with developmental disabilities - while they have many, many abilities - who are very, very intelligent folks, but they can't read the printed word," he says. "So, we have to work on different communication options from where the people are and what they need, not just what the systems have currently."

Recommendations to improve access to transportation also include incentives for public transportation systems to stay on schedule and changes to Medicaid transportation rules that would allow the use of ride-share services.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH