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Possible Changes Ahead For MetroAccess

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Residents listen to Metro officials brief them on proposed changes to the Metro Access service.
David Schultz
Residents listen to Metro officials brief them on proposed changes to the Metro Access service.

By David Schultz

Metro is considering making changes to the way it determines who is eligible for MetroAccess, its transit service for people with disabilities.

Currently, it uses a one-size-fits-all criteria. If Metro determines you're disabled and you're eligible for MetroAccess, you can use the service whenever you want. But Metro might take up a new criteria called conditional eligibility. That means you can use MetroAccess under some circumstances, depending on what type of disability you have and how severe it is.

Metro is currently facing a huge budget shortfall, and conditional eligibility could save it up to $6 million a year.

But Wendy Klancher, a transportation planner with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, says it could also make the eligibility process much more difficult.

"You really need to be able to fairly determine who can use MetroAccess," says Klancher, "on a trip by trip basis."

If the Metro Board approves conditional eligibility, it would take effect on July 1.

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