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Service to Persons with Disabilities

Statement of Policy

It is the policy of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, Maryland to ensure that , when viewed in their entirety, St. Mary’s County Government services, programs, facilities, and communications are readily accessible and usable by qualified individuals with disabilities to the maximum extend possible. St. Mary’s County Government is an equal opportunity employer, and no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be subjected to discrimination in the employment, recruitment, or hiring practices of St. Mary’s County government. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of St. Mary’s County government, or be subjected to discrimination in the provision of such services. The CSMC has an ADA Coordinator to ensure the coordination of St. Mary’s County’s compliance with the ADA, including the investigation of any complaint alleging disability-based discrimination or lack of equal accessibility to county services, programs, or facilities. More information is available at our ADA resources and Mid Atlantic ADA Center websites and .

The Transportation Division is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the transit services we offer. The policy is consistent with the requirements of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If you believe you have been subject to unequal treatment because of race, color, or national origin, then you have the right to file a formal complaint. Complaints may be filed within one hundred-eighty (180) days following the date of the alleged discriminatory action. Complaints may be submitted by mail (addressed to Ms. Mary Ann Blankenship Transportation Supervisor St. Mary’s Transit System P.O. Box 409 44829 St. Andrew’s Church Road); by telephone (call us at (301) 863-8400 x 1123 ) or by email.

Upon notification, the STS transit system will consider requests for reasonable modification to its existing ADA service policies or practices in order to ensure accessible services. Please contact us at 301-863-8400 x 1120 or 1121 to make a request.

Program Goals

The Maryland Transit Administration provides grants and technical assistance to several jurisdictions under the Locally Operated Transit Services (LOTS) to finance various transportation programs and services. One of the LOTS programs, the Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP), is described in Section 2-103.3 of the Transportation Articles of the Maryland Annotated Code which was amended to provide for a transportation program for elderly and persons with disabilities of Maryland. The legislation calls for the program to be administered by the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation in consultation with the Maryland Office on Aging and the Governor’s Office for Disabled Individuals. Currently over $130,000 of funding is provided by the State each year in support of this program with an additional local match requirement. The goals of SSTAP are to (1) Provide general purpose transportation for both elderly and persons with disabilities; and (2) Encourage and facilitate the efficient use of funds used to provide transportation to elderly and persons with disabilities through the coordination of programs and services. Please refer to our Bus Rider’s Rules for information on the use of guide animals. Planned demand routes in rural areas do not operate everyday to the same locations. Service is provided to different places on different days of the week to offer more coverage at a reasonable cost. This type of service is geared to senior citizens that do not make daily trips and can plan their trips to match the service. For more information, please refer to our SSTAP Riders Guide and Paratransit Fact Sheet.

ADA Paratransit Program

Currently over $130,000 of funding is provided by the State each year in support of this program. A person with disabilities, who is unable use the regular STS public transportation bus service, may apply for ADA Paratransit certified service. Once certified, door-to-door transportation will be provided to you. as long as you live within ¾ of a mile from one of our fixed public transportation routes. For home/building pick-up—locations MUST have a wheelchair ramp or an assistant to help the rider. This on-call service is offered during the normal hours of public transportation service operations. Please check the Route Descriptions and Maps for scheduled times and locations. To request an ADA certification, an Application for Paratransit Transportation must be completed and submitted to the STS Office either by mail or fax at (301) 866-6797. Please allow 1-2 weeks to process. Once approved, please call the STS Office at (301) 863-8400 x 1120 or 1121 the day before you wish to make the trip or e-mail. A reservation will be made for you and a bus dispatched to your departure location at the scheduled time. All of our buses are wheelchair accessible! For more information, please refer to our ADA Riders Guide.

Service

The agencies that serve people with disabilities in our community are; The Center for Life Enrichment, Center for Life, ARC of Southern Maryland, Rock Creek Foundation, Pathways, Greenwell. Mary’s County Health Department, United Cerebral Palsy and the Commission for the Disabled. Through correspondence with these organizations and groups, STS is aware that many more individuals are in need of transportation services outside the realm of the wheelchairexisting public transportation system and is requesting additional funding to address same. In St. Mary’s County, STS currently provides transportation services for approximately 8,000 people with disabilities through the ADA Paratransit and 17,000 trips per year through the SSTAP programs, respectively. The Specialized Statewide Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) is available to all persons with disabilities between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. on a “first come, first served” basis, with preference given to individuals with scheduled medical appointments. Expanded Services have also been requested to develop new routes outside the current service areas. If you are visually impaired, please do not hesitate to remind our drivers to announce the stops along that route.
Our goal for the ADA Paratransit Program is to provide 6,000 trips a year for persons with disabilities by initiating trips outside the public transportation routes.

Service Animals

Service animals are welcomed on the buses. For all riders, please dogmake sure all animals are safely secure at your home if a driver has to leave the bus and knock on the door of your home.

Identification Cards

Persons with disabilities may present special identification cards issued by the STS Transit office located at 44829 St. Andrews Church Road, California, Maryland 20619 for discount fares. Feel free to contact us at (301) 863-8400 x 1120 or 1121 or fill out our on-line eForum Feedback.

Expanded Services

In April 2000, a $110,844 grant request was submitted to the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to develop two (2) new Deviated Public Transportation Routes for persons with disabilities who have needs outside the current STS service areas. This particular program will require a local government match. This proposal provides the opportunity to persons with disabilities for full inclusion into the community to access our existing public STS transportation system and would become a model of transportation accessibility in rural areas for the State of Maryland.

Residents may be picked up from their homes and connected to the public transportation system where they will be able to access businesses, shopping centers, medical care facilities as well as the job market throughout St. Mary’s County. In a point-deviation service, a vehicle has specific stops at specific times, but travels a flexible route between these points to serve specific customer requests. In 2001, the ADA Paratransit program and STS dedicated two (2) additional buses and four (4) drivers to the new routes which now operate 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday. In FY 03, another bus will be purchased through State grant funding to help serve increasing demand for this service in the following areas:

The Northern Route provides service north of Leonardtown and Hollywood (Golden Beach, Wicomico Shores, Chaptico, Colton's Point, Clements) and the rural areas around Charlotte Hall, Mechanicsville and Loveville.
The Southern Route provides service south of Leonardtown and Hollywood (Ridge, St. Mary's City, Piney Point, Valley Lee, St. George's Island) and the rural areas around Great Mills, Leonardtown, Lexington Park, California and Hollywood.

Mobility Assistance Devices

ADA Scooter
The STS system is experiencing an influx of requests to allow new mobility devices, such as power chairs/scooters, to be utilized by passengers. We follow the current published Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines to assure passengers with wheelchair and other mobility devices are provided with safe and secure transportation. STS is obligated to accommodate mobility devices that fit on scooterthe vehicle lift and do not obstruct the aisle, or pose a “direct threat” to the safety of others on the vehicle. However, we must also take into consideration; capacity constraints, lift operations, tie-down procedures, occupant safety, service interruptions, and other operational matters when trying to respond to specific requests. ADA (49 CFR, Parts 37 and 38) issued in 2011, now defines a wheelchair as a “mobility devices belonging to any classes of three or more wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. This amendment requires STS to carry a mobility device, and its user as long as the lift can accommodate the size and weight of the mobility aid and there is space for the mobility aid on the bus.

Because a Segway is not a wheelchair, the ADA regulation’s provisions for lift and securement use specific to wheelchairs (§37.165(a) – (e)) does not apply to Segways and their users. However, §37.165(g) requires transit providers to “permit individuals with disabilities who do not use wheelchairs” to use a vehicle’s lift or ramp to enter the vehicle. Individuals who do not use wheelchairs commonly use the lift together with their non-wheelchair mobility devices, such as canes, crutches or walkers. Under this provision, an individual with a disability who uses a Segway as a mobility device must be permitted to use the lift.

We may not be able to completely or properly secure you and your device (ie power chair, scooter etc.), however we are still obligated to provide you with an option to either refuse transportation or ride not fully secured. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our Transportation Manager via e-mail at Jacque.fournier@stmarysmd.com or dial (301) 863-8400 x 1122.

Out-of-Town Visitors

Out-of-Town Visitors will be eligible for ADA Paratransit Services if they are eligible to use the ADA Paratransit provided by their home system. Visitors must provide proof of residence outside of St. Mary’s County, and ADA Paratransit certification from their home system. If a visitor’s home system does not provide ADA Paratransit certification, other documentation is required to justify the individual’s claim to eligibility (such as a doctor’s letter). Visitors will be provided only 21 days of ADA Paratransit service per a 365-day period. Individuals intending to use the service for more than 21 days will be required to apply for certification with St. Mary’s Transit System.

Right to Appeal

If a person is denied ADA transportation, the STS passengers have the right to appeal their eligibility denial. The denial is reviewed by the Transportation Manager. If the denial is upheld the applicant will be notified of the denial and the reason for the denial. If the applicant wishes to appeal, he or she may contact the Human Relations Commission for St. Mary’s County within 60 day of notification of denial. Contact ADA Coordinator ADA Coordinator Contact Information: Amber Hebert Department of Human Resources Email: Amber.Hebert@stmarysmd.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 653 Leonardtown MD 20650 Telephone 301-475-4200 ext. *1110 Fax 301-475-4082 Physical Location: Potomac Building, 3rd floor 23115 Leonard Hall Drive Leonardtown, MD 20650 See appendices D & E in the ADA Guidelines.