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City of St. John’s eyeing changes to GoBus eligibility rules, contract language

A Go Bus heads west onto Topsail Road from Brookfield Road Wednesday morning. <br />— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The City of St. John's is considering some changes to GoBus user eligibility. - SaltWire File Photo

Recommendations come as part of ongoing public transit review

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Based on a preliminary recommendation to the City of St. John’s ongoing review of public transit, some current GoBus users might not be eligible to avail of the service in the future.

In an effort to address rising costs and issues associated with the system, Dillon Consulting advised the city that it should employ a third-party contractor to determine and approve client eligibility.

“Over the past five years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals seeking approval to use GoBus services and our staff, while knowledgeable, are not equipped to assess recommendations from family physicians for GoBus passes,” the city stated in a news release announcing the recommendations.

“Even though some users may have been with us for many years, it is important that we start with a clean slate and we apologize for any stress or concern that this may cause our clients.”

The city says it’s working with its own Inclusion Advisory Committee, as well as the Paratransit Working Group, Network of Disability Organizations at Metrobus and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities NL (CODNL) on these recommendations and will work closely them on the development of the eligibility requirements as well as the request for proposals for the third-party assessment company.

The city suggests a contracted third party organization would typically employ a registered occupational therapist, nurse, medical doctor, and so on and that assessments will be confidential and provided at no cost to users, and once a long-term eligibility is approved, the process will not ever have to be repeated.

“It is our hope that third party assessments will help us manage the growing demand by determining who needs the service; reduce the current 24-hour advance booking notice in the future and increase the potential for same day bookings; and include education to support use of conventional Metrobus services,” the release states.

Another recommendation put to the city relates to the language in the contract with service provider MVT. It was recommended that the current definition of “no shows” from 90 minutes to 45 minutes and discontinue paying for now shows at 90 minutes, and that all passenger-paid fees for taxi rides and no shows are collected from the users.

These city says users can continue to book rides as they have done previously and that these recommendations will be discussed at Committee of the Whole next Wednesday and will be voted on at a future council meeting.


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