A survey of people who ride Para Transpo found that 72 per cent want the service expanded so people with mental health and developmental disabilities are eligible to ride.


Para Transpo is the door-to-door transportation service for the disabled run by OC Transpo. ((CBC))

It's difficult to estimate how many more customers Para Transpo would take on if it expanded the service, OC Transpo's Troy Charter told the transit commission on Wednesday, but said it could be up to 2,000.

Charter said it will help that a new contract with accessible taxis will save money equivalent to another 12,000 Para Transpo rides per year. OC Transpo worked with the taxi industry to drive down the the administrative costs for the accessible taxi fleet.

Fifty-seven per cent of people who took part in consultations also felt that the reason for a booking, such as for a medical appointment or buying groceries, should take priority. 

Right now, Para Transpo takes bookings on a first-come first-served basis and it's all done by phone.

Transit general manager John Manconi said electronic booking is on the horizon, but the eligibility policy and electronic fare payment system had to come first.

Nearly a thousand people, most of whom already use Para Transpo, took part in sessions or wrote e-mails and filled out questionnaires last fall during the city's consultations

Transit staff will now come up with changes to recommend to the city's transit commission in a report due this spring.

Para Transpo currently has 13,000 riders and costs $33 million a year to operate.