For the first time, JeffTran has begun the recertification process for Handi-Wheels clients.
JeffTran staff contacted about 130 of its 1,700 active Handi-Wheels clients by mail last week in an effort to recertify riders, Jefferson City Transit Division Director Mark Mehmert told the city's Public Transit Advisory Committee on Monday.
Recertification will allow the Transit Division to update its records and ensure clients are still eligible for the Handi-Wheels service.
Handi-Wheels is a paratransit service Jefferson City provides to residents who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Handi-Wheels is not a fixed-route transit service since it picks up clients inside city limits and takes them to any destination within the city.
City staff plans to continue contacting the remaining clients in phases over the coming months. It may take staff about a year to complete the recertification process, Mehmert said.
Clients will have 60 days to fill out the recertification form and submit it to JeffTran after staff contacts them. If they don't submit the form, their accounts will be listed as "inactive."
This is JeffTran's first time recertifying clients, Mehmert said.
"This is a whole new endeavour for us, something we've never done in the past," he said. "So we're making sure we don't overload our (staff)."
Contractor Lochmueller Group suggested the recertification process last year following a transportation system analysis. It compared JeffTran to other similar transit systems, and Handi-Wheels usage per capita was about five times higher than the other transit systems in the comparison group.
JeffTran gave more than 50,300 Handi-Wheels rides in the 2018 fiscal year — which ended Oct. 31, 2018 — Mehmert said previously.
The high usage means the Transit Division is spending significantly more money than similar systems to provide paratransit services, Mehmert said.
The division plans to recertify Handi-Wheels riders every three years, Mehmert previously said.
Those who want to apply for Handi-Wheels service can fill out the application at jeffersoncitymo.gov/government/transit/handi-wheels.php and either mail it to or drop it off at 820 E. Miller St.
Handi-Wheels clients can schedule Handi-Wheels rides up to 14 days in advance or the day before service by calling 573-634-6477.