The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has entered into a service agreement with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for transportation services to OVR.
Joined by State Rehabilitation Council chairman Isidro K. Seman, OVR director Arlene A. Yamagata, and COTA’s administrator Thomas J. Camacho, a memorandum of understanding was signed on Aug 5.
The memorandum states that OVR costumers have transportation challenges that affect their abilities to avail of OVR’s programs such as training and working activities, therefore, OVR sought independent services, transportation services, and other related services through COTA.
“Currently, under the agreement, COTA is providing transportation services to at least 14 OVR clients,” Camacho said.
According to Camacho, COTA has been serving qualified riders with disabilities and the elderly, that paid $3 per ride or one way, but as of Dec 2013, COTA expanded its services picking up the fee to $5, that allows the riders to go further areas since COTA’s expansion, which OVR could avail for from the transit authority.
“One of the reason OVR chose COTA as its preferred transportation provider is that they are trained in accordance to the Community Transportation Association of America Passenger Service and Safety Certification, Sensitivity, CPR and etc,” Yamagata said.
“COTA is also fully insured and for that, we are at eased that our clients are taken care of and safe,” she added.
The forging of the agreement will improve the quality of life of the residents of the CNMI particularly OVR clients on connecting with the community.
OVR will be paying COTA for services and coordinate and the memorandum will continue as long as OVR clients continue or need transportation and COTA is available.
“By signing the agreement, COTA and OVR, is in line with the OVR mission of promoting employment of qualified individuals with disabilities,” Yamagata said.
Camacho said that the signing is also a clear indication that the demand for transportation is growing.
“To meet these demands, COTA is currently in the process of procuring additional accessible full size passenger vehicles that will be added on to the Call-a-Ride services fleet as well as replace older vehicles,” he said.