By David Volz
Florida Atlantic University students who are dealing with disabilities will have an easier time getting to the FAU Boca Raton campus. Broward County paratransit bus service will be extended directly to the campus.
The Broward County Commission voted unanimously in favor of extending the current transit route directly to the FAU campus. Currently, students are driven from Broward County to a transfer point in Mizner Park where they wait for Palm Beach County paratransit services to pick them up and take them to FAU, less than a mile away.
“These are students with varying degrees of disability. A large percentage are visually impaired and dropping them off in Mizner Park is endangering them,” said Roland Mendonca, who uses a wheelchair. “It’s also more costly and time consuming.”
“We have a great opportunity fix a wrong here,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler, who brought the issue forward. “It’s the philosophy of this Board to pay for paratransit services for all of our needy and qualifying individuals even though it is beyond the three-quarters of a mile of the fixed route bus service. We do it in other areas and should do it in this case.”
“We want what is best for these folks and if there is a roadblock that we can remove, I’m for it. But I’m not in favor of extending paratransit service anywhere else in Palm Beach County,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca. “We are here to help those in need. If we can help the people who really need it we should be here. So I am fully supportive,” said Commissioner Mark Bogen.
“I am going to support this today but I would not support an item in the future to go anywhere outside this really small northern-southern border of Broward County into our sister counties,” said Commissioner Stacy Ritter.
“I want to thank the people who talked today. I think you put a face on what paratransit is all about in the county that very few people have had a chance to see,” noted Mayor Marty Kiar.