The Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority will sponsor a three-day orientation and training session in May that will be the first step in forming a Council on Accessible Transportation to improve paratransit and other services provided by the RBA.
The training is being facilitated by the disability-rights group Everybody Counts under a contract with the RBA. It will feature nationally recognized disability-rights advocates.
"We're very fortunate to have support from national leaders who want to contribute to this process in Northwest Indiana," said Everybody Counts Executive Director Teresa Torres. "They have been instrumental in building successful coalitions between transportation officials and ridership communities across the country."
The council's formation comes as the RBA is trying to rally support for continued funding for bus services. A temporary operational subsidy from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority ran out last year.
"The CAT (Council on Accessible Transportation) will become a key component of our operations," said Tim Brown, RBA executive director. "Together, we can make transportation better and more accessible for everyone."
The three-day orientation and training session will be from May 22-24 and is limited to 25 people, most of whom will have disabilities. A majority of the members must also be residents of Hammond, but the event is also open to those who qualify for paratransit services in other communities.
Anyone interested in attending the three-day event must submit an application by April 30. It will be held at the in the Gary SouthShore Railcats VIP facility at the U.S. Steel Yard stadium, 1 Stadium Plaza, Gary.
Applications can be obtained from Easygo Lake Transit bus drivers or Easygo Complementary Paratransit Triple A drivers, or by going to the Everybody Counts Web site at www.everybodycounts.org . Those needing more details or help filling out an application can contact Everybody Counts at CAT@everybodycounts.org or (219) 769-5055.
The council is required by a federal court order obtained by Everybody Counts. East Chicago Transit and Gary Public Transportation Corp. already have provided the training and formed councils.