TARPS opens doors of opportunity – one ride at a time
JoRita Fox, an Indiana native, but Toledoan by choice. She made the move to the Glass City to be a teacher. It was a decision that would shape her future in an influential way.
“I lost my job because of my disability, and that’s what got me really involved in the disability issues,” she said.
It started off small, becoming a member of an epilepsy support group. Before long she was a volunteer and her passion for disability advocacy continued to grow. JoRita is now a member of SALUTE, a self-advocacy group through the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and is the Vice President of the Maumee Valley Chapter Partners for Inclusion– an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of persons with developmental disabilities in the Toledo area.
“You’d be surprised the doors that open to you and if you just walk through them, marvelous things can happen,” she adds.
Fox says her independence is thanks to transportation services like TARPS – TARTA’s paratransit service. She’s been a fixed-line rider since 1981 and a TARPS rider since the late 90s and early 2000s, Fox says that riding the public transportation system has allowed her to be included in her community.
“[TARPS] take us to work, to go shopping, to recreational events, to go see our friends – these are things we wouldn’t be able to do ourselves. Some of us, like myself, don’t drive and if we don’t drive, TARPS helps us to be more independent, to have more freedom.”
Fox knows first-hand how accessible transportation makes for more accessible communities.
“We talk about being inclusive a lot these days. [TARPS] helps us with disabilities and the older populations to feel more included in the community and we all appreciate it. We are glad it’s there, we’re thankful every day that we have it.”
She adds that public transportation effects everyone.
“Anybody could be in need of TARTA at any time,” she said. “All of us are only one incident away from not being able to drive. From having medical issues that prevent us from getting around the way we used to. TARPS is there for us. TARTA is there for us.”
To request a TARPS application, please call 419-382-9901, option 2, Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and holidays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. After your application is received, you will be contacted by phone and/or email to arrange an in-person interview. Transportation for this interview at 130 Knapp Street, adjacent to the Amtrak/Greyhound Station, is free if you would like to use a TARPS vehicle. *NOTE: your pickup address must be within the TARTA service area.*
For more information, visit https://tarta.com/services/tarps.
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