473.386 Special transportation service.
Subdivision 1. Service objectives. The council shall implement a special transportation service, as defined in section 174.29, in the metropolitan area. The service has the following objectives:
(a) to provide greater access to transportation for the elderly, people with disabilities, and others with special transportation needs in the metropolitan area;
(b) to develop an integrated system of special transportation service providing transportation tailored to meet special individual needs in the most cost-efficient manner; and
(c) to use existing public, private, and private nonprofit providers of service wherever possible, to supplement rather than replace existing service, and to increase the productivity of all special transportation vehicles available in the area.
Subd. 2. Service contracts; management; transportation accessibility advisory committee. (a) The council may contract for services necessary for the provision of special transportation. Transportation service provided under a contract must specify the service to be provided, the standards that must be met, and the rates for operating and providing special transportation services.
(b) The council shall establish management policies for the service and may contract with a service administrator for day-to-day administration and management of the service. Any contract must delegate to the service administrator clear authority to administer and manage the delivery of the service pursuant to council management policies and must establish performance and compliance standards for the service administrator. The council may provide directly day to day administration and management of the service and may own or lease vehicles used to provide the service.
(c) The council shall ensure that the service administrator establishes a system for registering and expeditiously responding to complaints by users, informing users of how to register complaints, and requiring providers to report on incidents that impair the safety and well-being of users or the quality of the service. The council shall annually report to the commissioner of transportation and the legislature on complaints and provider reports, the response of the service administrator, and steps taken by the council and the service administrator to identify causes and provide remedies to recurring problems.
(d) Each year before renewing contracts with providers and the service administrator, the council shall provide an opportunity for the transportation accessibility advisory committee, users, and other interested persons to testify before the council concerning providers, contract terms, and other matters relating to council policies and procedures for implementing the service.
(e) The council shall establish a Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee. The Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee must include elderly and disabled persons, other users of special transportation service, representatives of persons contracting to provide special transportation services, and representatives of appropriate agencies for elderly and disabled persons to advise the council on management policies for the service. At least half the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee members must be disabled or elderly persons or the representatives of disabled or elderly persons. Two of the appointments to the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee shall be made by the Council on Disability in consultation with the chair of the Metropolitan Council.
Subd. 2a. Eligibility certification. The council shall include the notice of penalty for fraudulent certification, and require the person certifying the applicant to sign the eligibility certification form and the applicant to sign the application form, as provided in section 174.295.
Subd. 3. Duties of council. In implementing the special transportation service, the council shall:
(a) encourage participation in the service by public, private, and private nonprofit providers of special transportation currently receiving capital or operating assistance from a public agency;
(b) contract with public, private, and private nonprofit providers that have demonstrated their ability to effectively provide service at a reasonable cost;
(c) encourage individuals using special transportation to use the type of service most appropriate to their particular needs;
(d) ensure that all persons providing special transportation service receive equitable treatment in the allocation of the ridership;
(e) encourage shared rides to the greatest extent practicable;
(f) encourage public agencies that provide transportation to eligible individuals as a component of human services and educational programs to coordinate with this service and to allow reimbursement for transportation provided through the service at rates that reflect the public cost of providing that transportation;
(g) establish criteria to be used in determining individual eligibility for special transportation services;
(h) consult with the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee in a timely manner before changes are made in the provision of special transportation services, including, but not limited to, changes in policies affecting the matters subject to hearing under subdivision 2;
(i) provide for effective administration and enforcement of council policies and standards; and
(j) annually evaluate providers of special transportation service to ensure compliance with the standards established for the program.
Subd. 4. Coordination required. The council may not grant any financial assistance to any recipient that proposes to use any part of the grant to provide special transportation service in the metropolitan area unless the program is coordinated with the council's special transportation service in the manner determined by the council. The council is not required to provide funding for transportation services from a residence to a service site and home again when the services are used by individuals in conjunction with their participation in human service developmental achievement center programs in which transportation to and from the program is a required and funded component of those programs.
Subd. 5. Equitable allocation and annual reallocation. The council shall distribute all available funding under this section in a manner designed to achieve an equitable allocation of special transportation services based on the proportion of the number of elderly, disabled, or economically disadvantaged individuals with special transportation needs who actually use the special transportation service.
Subd. 6. Operating and service standards. A person operating or assisting the operation of a vehicle may leave the vehicle to enter premises in order to help a passenger who does not require emergency ambulance service. Operators and assistants shall provide the help necessary for door-through-door service, including help in entering and leaving the vehicle and help through the exterior entrance and over any exterior steps at either departure or destination buildings, provided that both the steps and the wheelchair are in good repair. If an operator or assistant refuses help because of the condition of the steps or the wheelchair, the operator of the service shall send letters to the service administrator designated by the council, who shall notify the person denied service describing the corrective measures necessary to qualify for service.
Subd. 7. Repealed, 1987 c 88 s 13
Subd. 8. Vehicle title transfer; conditions. The Metropolitan Council may transfer to a special transportation service provider or a provider of taxi services the title to a vehicle formerly used to provide special transportation service under this section. If the council transfers title to a provider of taxi services, it may do so only to a provider of taxi services that is licensed by a city whose taxi licensing ordinance requires (1) criminal background checks and annual driving record checks for drivers, and (2) inspection of vehicles at least annually.
HIST: 1984 c 654 art 3 s 122; 1Sp1985 c 10 s 100; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 88 s 8-12; 1987 c 354 s 8; 1989 c 269 s 48; 1992 c 390 s 1,2; 1993 c 326 art 4 s 12; 1994 c 628 art 3 s 77-83,211; 1995 c 236 s 10-12; 2001 c 112 s 2