Trista Lawrence and Petrine Griffin, exiting Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT) members, Share Lessons and Achievements of Serving on CAT
Trista and Petrine have been on the CAT committee since 2017. Trista works for TURN Community Services, an organization that supports individuals with intellectual disabilities in a variety of settings. Petrine is the mother of Nina, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy shortly after she was born, Nina relies on UTA Paratransit Services to aid her independence and provide access to her community.
One of Petrine’s favorite things about being on the CAT has been “helping to plan and participate in UTA’s annual ADA Celebration that recognizes the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Highlights of last year’s event included a virtual book club and author presentation of “Riding the Bus with My Sister” and a film screening of “Crip Camp”. The celebration also recognizes UTA employees who go above and beyond in serving their customers with disabilities. It’s inspiring to hear their stories and how they make a difference.”
In addition, Petrine said “Serving on CAT is an opportunity to share your unique perspective with UTA and communicate the challenges you see or experience regarding access to public transportation. You can ask questions and learn about UTA services.” During Petrine’s first year on the CAT, she served on the Services Subcommittee to learn about the systems and processes at UTA. “Understanding all perspectives allows everyone to work together to find solutions.”
When Trista was asked what her favorite part of being on CAT, she responded saying “I think my favorite part of being on the CAT Committee has been getting to know the other members on the committee and becoming more aware of the transportation needs within our community outside of my area of knowledge. Transportation is a complicated issue and it became very apparent as I served on the CAT Committee.”
To anyone considering joining the CAT, she says “It has been a great experience. There are so many things that I did not understand when it came to public transportation. It really helped to gain more knowledge so that I could better help individuals we support to understand the limitations of public transportation. It has also been great to be involved in the improvements, to be able to give feedback or suggestions on ways to make things better for the disability community, and to make new friendships. I think it is an experience EVERYONE should have. It gives people a greater understanding of the obstacles individuals with disabilities can face and provides an opportunity to be part of the solution for those obstacles.”
Some of the successes they’ve seen while being on the CAT for four years, includes improving stop announcements for riders who are visually impaired, new signage that is more effective for the disability community at bus stops, on the buses and trains, implementation of new technology that has reduced the trip time for Paratransit riders. Also, a new call-ahead system that notifies paratransit riders ahead of their scheduled pick-up time which means they need to spend less time waiting outside in inclement weather.
The Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT) is currently recruiting new members. Those interested should fill out an application online at www.rideuta.com/Rider-Info/Accessibility/Accessible-UTA/Committee-on-Accessible-Transportation. Applications will be accepted until Tuesday, April 30th at 5:00 pm. Apply now!