Pace hears from parents of special-needs students

Pace offers tips on how to utilize Dial-a-ride, among other services

By Andrea Earnest | Enterprise Staff

A forum on Pace special needs bus service was held Sept. 23 for the parents of District 202 students with special needs to discuss transportation issues with the commuter bus service.

“Young adults with disabilities have a difficult time making their needs known without this type of forum,” said Dee Graves, assistant director of student services, transition and private placement.

She added that this is a very underserved population.

“It is essential that Pace and other agencies that service our young adults are aware of the need for transportation,” Graves said.

Beth Gonzalez, a Pace community relations representative, was on hand to hear what transportation needs are important to disabled students to get rides specifically to work sites.

Pace does offer a service called Dial-a-Ride, which is set up by each city or township through Pace. According to their website, Pace offers several paratransit services.

The website states, “This paratransit service is required by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and is provided for customers whose disability or health condition prevents them from using CTA and/or Pace fixed route services for some or all of their travel.”

The website added that only people who are certified by the Regional Transportation Authority are eligible to ride ADA paratransit.

Graves added that concerns were brought forward regarding public transportation in the Plainfield area, which covers Will, Grundy and Kendall counties.

“For people with special needs, it is extremely challenging to find transportation options and availability,” Graves added.

At the meeting, Pace did provide tips on how to utilize their Dial-a-ride service and other transportation options.

While no other conclusion seemed to be reached, Graves added that, “We are only limited by the options that are available to this population. If there are more options, more people with special needs would utilize the service provided by Pace.”

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