The Daily Californian Online
Berkeley and City CarShare Recognized for Wheelchair-Accessible Transportation


By Alex Gong

Contributing Writer

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Category: News > City

The city of Berkeley and a Bay Area car-sharing company will receive
an award on Wednesday for providing disabled communities with the
nation's first wheelchair-accessible car-share service.

The city and City CarShare will receive the Doris W. Kahn Accessible
Transportation Award for pioneering AccessMobile, a van that has
provided disabled users with an affordable and convenient
transportation alternative since April.

"It's given (the disabled community) another transportation option
that wasn't available before," said Paul Church, secretary for the
Commission on Disability.

Though more expensive than BART, AC Transit and Paratransit,
AccessMobile allows disabled users to get around with greater freedom
because it does not have to follow set routes, said Anita Daley,
membership development and outreach director for City CarShare.
However, it is much more affordable than riding in taxis or owning a
car.

"It's a really important statement that
Berkeley's making," said Mayor
Tom Bates, a commissioner of the Metropolitan Transportation
Commission, which is issuing the award. "We really do care about
making the city accessible for everyone."

The idea of a wheelchair-accessible van jump-started in 2007, when the
city won $25,000 from the National Organization on Disability's
Accessible America contest for designing successful programs, services
and facilities for disabled citizens.

The city used the prize money to fund the $50,000 van. City CarShare,
which provides more than 300 vehicles for car-sharing in 160 different
Bay Area locations, paid the rest.

According to City CarShare Marketing Associate Gretchen Nachtwey, City
CarShare's service provides more than 25 cars in
Berkeley, which has
one of its most successful programs in the Bay Area.

AccessMobile is dedicated to late city Councilmember Dona Spring, who
endorsed and used the program, Daley said.

Though there is no monetary reward for winning the Doris W. Kahn
Accessible Transportation Award, winners will receive a trophy at the
presentation ceremony, said John Goodwin, public information officer
of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Church said the van set a precedent for similar services elsewhere.

"I hope it paves the way and expands services (for the disabled) to
other providers and cities," Church said.

The award ceremony will be held on Wednesday at the Oakland Museum Cafe.

Tags: access mobile

Article Link: http://www.dailycal.org/article/103198