Opinion Columns & Blogs

City needs to privatize paratransit service with caution

One of the strongest arguments for the citywide sales tax proposal in 2014 was its promise to better serve individuals with disabilities with a stabilized and expanded Wichita Transit. The ballot initiative’s failure left that population vulnerable to more system cuts and, now, to any changes that would come with a proposed privatization of the paratransit operation that provides door-to-door rides to about 1,400 disabled Wichitans. Wichita Transit Director Steve Spade’s reassurances are welcome, including that the city still will make decisions about policy, eligibility and service areas. But he will need to be cautious as the process advances and engaged with the Transit Advisory Board and disability community, as privatization’s spotty record elsewhere in state and local government justifies their concern. – Rhonda Holman