What does it take to ride a bus? That’s a simple question with a range of answers. At OCTA’s ACCESS Certification Center in Anaheim, a professional team in a state-of-the-art facility helps a select group of Orange County residents find out.
The center provides evaluation services to determine eligibility for ACCESS, OCTA’s shared-ride paratransit service for those who are unable to use regular fixed-route bus service because of functional limitations due to a physical or mental disability.
In Orange County, where more than 60,000 people are certified to use ACCESS, a facility like this gets a good workout. More than 500 people a month are certified and re-certified to use ACCESS services.
One of only four such indoor facilities in the country, OCTA’s ACCESS Certification Center features a 40-foot fixed-route bus with OCTA bus stops, a 30-foot ACCESS bus, sidewalks, wheelchair-accessible curbs, a crosswalk, and operating traffic signals. Applicants for ACCESS service are evaluated on their ability to board, exit, and navigate the fixed-route system.
Under the management of contractor C.A.R.E. Evaluators, the professional service provider that staffs the center, the OCTA ACCESS Certification Center offers a safe environment for a fair and standard evaluation. An assessment takes about 45 minutes. Before the center opened in April of 2012, applicants were evaluated outdoors on their ability to navigate uneven surfaces and curbs and were then required to go on a 45-minute bus ride. The entire process took about an hour.
In addition to being more functional, the new air-conditioned center is simply more pleasant, with murals depicting shops, offices and famed Anaheim destinations like Angel Stadium. The murals are more than just decorations – they’re used as part of the functional assessment. In an environment like this, where people are able to relax, the evaluators get a better idea of the abilities of the applicants.
OCTA’s ACCESS service provides more than 1 million annual trips. A recent customer satisfaction survey showed 88 percent of those who use ACCESS are satisfied with the service, with the majority of users highly satisfied. Learn more.