Laketran pilots Next Day Dial-a-Ride to improve access to service

On August 3, Laketran began a pilot program offering Next Day Dial-a-Ride reservations to customers who use the agency’s door-to-door transportation service.

Dial-a-Ride is an assisted transportation service primarily used by seniors and people with disabilities who cannot access the agency’s Local Route service. Laketran provides the service throughout Lake County and to limited Cuyahoga County medical facilities.

Reservations for Dial-a-Ride that can be made by phone or online, are normally required 2-12 days prior to a trip, but with the new pilot program customers can call for a ride for the next day.

“Since passing our sales tax levy last fall, we have continued to look for ways to improve Dial-a-Ride service for seniors and people with disabilities and this is a service improvement we’ve heard requested from customers for quite some time,” said Laketran CEO Ben Capelle.

“We realize that plans can change last minute and that sometimes it’s difficult to plan your transportation needs two or more days in advance,” continued Capelle. “We still encourage customers to continue booking trips 2-12 business days in advance, but if something comes up do not hesitate to call for a ride or schedule it on Request-a-Ride.”

Next Day Dial-a-Ride reservations are available on a first come, first served basis during the three-month pilot program.

Dial-a-Ride rider Deborah King of Painesville with Laketran driver Paul Lengyel outside the Mentor Senior Center in January.

Laketran continues to take many precautions to make Dial-a-Ride safe during the pandemic including sanitizing buses daily, requiring masks, and limiting number of passengers on board to properly social distance.

A fare collection suspension is in effect until September 30 due to Covid, but Laketran has removed fare boxes from all Dial-a-Ride buses and requires fare payment at time of scheduling a reservation.

“There are many benefits of a prepaid service, but most important now is that it avoids the need to interact with a driver and the fare box,” explained Capelle. “Offering a contactless fare collection process reduces the risk of spreading any germs on high touch surfaces onboard.”