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26 Resource Guide for Commingling ADA and Non-ADA Paratransit Riders available services. In some communities, the public transit agency has taken on the role as the mobility manager. This may be more responsibility than some transit agencies may want, but there may be related activities that the transit agency could extend to non-ADA riders, such as a travel training program. A transit agency might also lend its experience in operating a call center to another local agency developing a one-stop transportation information center, which is among the common mobility management strategies. Or the transit agency could even offer its call center as the provider of one-stop transportation information. A large suburban county in Virginia that operates extensive transit service is considering designation of its transit information center, operated by a contractor, as the county's designated one-stop center for all transportation information. Additional funding available for mobility management, such as that included within FTA's New Freedom and JARC programs, could be sought to help finance the extra resources that would be needed to expand the call center for a more broad-based information provision. C. Evaluate Service Compatibility The third component in the planning phase shown in Figure 1-1 is evaluating whether riders and transportation services are compatible and, if not, can adjustments be made to serve them or do the transit agency and its partners need to find another solution to provide service. When planning the commingling of ADA and non-ADA riders, the issue of service compati- bility must be considered. This analysis involves considering both the mixing of various types of riders on the same vehicle and the mixing of different types of transportation service. Will the different types of riders be compatible on the same vehicle, sharing rides together? What about the different types or levels of transportation service that the different groups receive? Are the types of transportation service related to driver assistance policies and rider policies similar or different? Compatibility of Different Types of Rider Groups The issue of mixing types of riders is subjective, and it may involve stereotyping of certain types of paratransit riders, which should be avoided. But the reality is that there may be certain types of rider groups that would typically not do well traveling together on the same paratransit vehicle. One of the case study transit agencies, a paratransit program serving as the public transit system in its very rural area, indicated that among its non-ADA riders are middle and high school students who have been temporarily banned from the public school bus service because of poor behavior. When these students then turn to the public transit system for some of their trip needs, there can be concerns when such students are traveling on the same vehicle as seniors or very young children. In such cases, the vehicle operators may be given discretion to appropriately modify their manifest so as to minimize the shared time on the vehicle for the different rider types. On the issue of rider type compatibility, ACCESS in Pittsburgh, another case study transit system, noted that it takes a "common sense" approach to commingling. With the size of the ACCESS service and high degree of coordination that the system achieves, there have been situations where the mixing of different rider types on the same vehicle has caused problems. When this happens, ACCESS takes steps to mitigate problems by separating riders onto different vehicles if necessary. The transit agency also educates its riders on the benefits of ride-sharing, particularly those benefits that result in a higher level of service and lower fares. Another consideration under compatibility is vehicle operators' ability to serve different rider types. Toward this end, operator training is critical to ensure that the staff understands