For those who do not have their own transportation or need accessible transportation, Reserve-A-Ride is one of the best transportation options around town and throughout Jackson County.
A Jackson Area Transportation Authority (JATA) program, Reserve-A-Ride is a curb-to-curb service for the general public, including wheelchair users in Jackson County. JATA will pick up passengers and transport them to their desired destination.
The service is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call (517) 788-8410 to schedule a pickup.
“Reserve a Ride, with an on-time performance of 95%, is likely the most reasonably priced public transportation in the county of Jackson,” said Chad Cumberworth, JATA’s Government and Community Relations Manager. “This service offered by the Jackson Area Transportation Authority provides approximately 30,000 trips to individuals each year.”
Cumberworth said JATA recently received a $1.1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration for a ‘Rides to Wellness’ program that is expected to start by the end of this year. The new program will provide non-emergency same day, door-to-door transportation to individuals.
Under Rides to Wellness, the drivers will pick up passengers at their residence and take them, for example, to their doctor’s appointment. The drivers will then wait for them to finish their appointment, and return them home or to another wellness destination such as a pharmacy or grocery store.
For now, here’s what you need to know about Reserve-A-Ride:
**You have to wear a facemask while you’re in a JATA bus or mini-van and in the transfer center.**
Call JATA in advance if you need a ride. You might get lucky and get a ride the same day if there’s a bus available. If you need a ride on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll have to call JATA before 4 p.m. the Friday before.
If you live inside Jackson’s city limits, Reserve-A-Ride is available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. If you live outside of Jackson, the county Reserve-A-Ride is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
JATA vehicles are equipped with lifts or ramps to assist the physically disabled. Up to 24 passengers can fit in a small bus. A pickup can be made curbside or in a designated parking area if one is available.
As the service provider, JATA reserves the right to deny service for non-compliance with passenger rules.
Here are the four big rules for riders:
- Once JATA arrives, you have 30 minutes to get on the bus or mini-van.
- All passengers who require assistance beyond JATA service limitations must provide their own personal care attendant, commonly known as a PCA. The PCA is allowed to ride on the vehicle at no charge, but only with ADA-certified passengers.
- If someone you know is coming with you, he or she will have to pay the same fare you paid. All passengers are required to pay a fee or show a ticket or pass, unless prior arrangements have been made with the JATA scheduling office.
- Give the JATA scheduling office at least a 2-hour heads-up if you need to cancel a ride. If you don’t cancel a ride and a JATA shows up, you could lose your privileges for a while. You also may be charged for the non-canceled ride the next time you ride a JATA vehicle. If not canceling becomes a habit, you could lose the service.
There are 12 other rules to follow:
- No eating, drinking or smoking
- No talking on cell phones
- No profanity or shouting
- No soliciting
- No littering or defacing JATA property
- Playing radios is prohibited, unless you have earplugs
- Drivers do not make change (so bring the exact fare)
- Passengers without correct fare will not be allowed to board (told you)
- Shoes and shirts must be worn
- No unnecessary conversation with the driver
- Parents must keep their children seated for the duration of the trip
- Children under the age of 5 must be accompanied by an adult
Also, if you call for a ride, make sure the building you’re calling from is safely accessible. Parking areas, including driveways, must be free of snow, ice or other obstructions.
If you’re certified for the “Americans with Disabilities Para-transit Priority Certification” (ADA), you can make reservations up to two weeks in advance during normal business hours.
For more information, visit www.jacksontransit.com.