Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) is rolling out a new on-demand service transit service for people with disabilities.
JTA Monday launched what it calls “Connexion Plus,” a private pick-up and drop-off service. It’s partnering with the company UZURV to provide the service in privately operated vehicles
“We thought it would be ideal for customers who wanted an alternative because it is not a shared ride,” said JTA Chief Transportation Officer Lisa Darnall. “You can actually book a trip same day, so it doesn’t have all the restrictions that we have on a regular Connexion service.”
JTA will continue to offer its Connexion service, which helps disabled residents get to medical appointments and run errands. But that service only transports customers within three quarter mile of a fixed route, said Darnall.
“If you can imagine now that we’re offering not only same day service, which we don’t have currently on Connexion, but anywhere within Duval County, I think it will provide some opportunities for the disabled community that they just haven’t had in the past,” she said.
UZURV provides disability sensitivity training to drivers and is able to make accommodations for things like a wheelchair lift. Registered personal care attendants can ride along with the disabled rider for free.
According to Darnall, JTA will pay UZURV per mile, along with a booking fee, at the minimum cost of $17 per trip.
“But I can tell you that it will be less costly than what we pay for our current Connexion service,” she said.
Customers pay will pay a flat $6 each way, which is twice as much as the standard Connexion rate, and only credit and debit card payments are accepted.
No one is required to use the new service. Connexion serves anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 passengers, depending on the day. Darnall expects some of those riders will choose to take advantage of the new service.
The on-demand service is offered weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Riders are asked to book at least two hours before their pick up time.
Corrected: This story incorrectly referred to UZURV as "UShare." The number of riders that Connexion currently serves was also incorrectly stated.