LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas mother has visited the Regional Transportation Commission's monthly meeting 17 times to ask for the same thing but each time she gets the same result.
Stephanie Vrsnik is asking for the RTC paratransit service area to be restored to levels seen in 2010.
“It’s frustrating sometimes but you have to keep it at a professional level," said Vrsnik.
Her son, Christian, has autism and works at Nellis Air Force Base.
He needs paratransit service to get to his job, but the the Vrsniks live outside the current service area.
“Christian has a federal job, he is a federal employee, his barrier is transportation," added Vrsnik.
An RTC spokesperson says the current needs of the community outweigh the available resources.
The paratransit service is an unfunded mandate from the federal government and must be factored into the organization's budget which currently stands at a $16 million dollar shortfall.
The paratransit service provides transportation for those who are unable to use a traditional, fixed-route bus.
“I am advocating for my son, I’m advocating for everybody else who does not have transportation," said Vrsnik.
The RTC says despite the economic downturn, they have restored much of the service area since 2010.
Still, Vrsnik says there are an unknown number of people who need the service but currently live in the growing edges of the Las Vegas valley.
"I have been advocating for Christian," said Vrsnik.
"He is 34 years old I've been advocating for him since day one and I won't stop," she added.
Robin Kincade has visited the RTC's meeting 14 times asking for the same thing.
"As the city grows, we accommodate growth in many ways but we are not accommodating it through the RTC system," said Kincade.
Her 27-year-old daughter works at the daycare at UNLV and struggles with a developmental disorder.
"I would like paratransit to take me to church, cemetery, visit family or friends and the post office," said Kayla Kincade.
An RTC spokesperson released the following statement regarding the paratransit service area:
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ADA requirements, paratransit must serve origins and destinations within ¾ of a mile on either side of a fixed-route bus route. We currently do this today. In regards to expanding our fixed-route service, our transit operations currently has a projected funding gap of up to $16 million heading into the next fiscal year, largely due to the continuing decline of Strip route revenue.
Unfortunately, the community’s needs outweigh the current available resources. Since 2011, the RTC has expanded the fixed route service, and in turn has expanded the paratransit service in the valley. It is important to note that while our funding is limited, due to the federal unfunded mandate of providing paratransit service, we first budget our paratransit cost and then any additional funding is assigned to fixed-route services. So any expansion to the paratransit service at this time will directly impact our fixed-route service.
During the recession, we had to cut back on fixed-route service and subsequently paratransit service. Since then, however, the current paratransit service area surpasses the 2010 paratransit service in certain areas of the valley where growth and demand for transit has occurred. The difference of the RTC’s paratransit service area today from 2011 is only 47 square miles, which means we are almost to pre-recession levels of service.