STA's paratransit policy leaves Spokane Valley woman behind - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

STA's paratransit policy leaves Spokane Valley woman behind

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

A local woman has medical appointments she says he life depends on. She told KHQ's Hayley Guenthner she's struggling to find transportation. She said the STA's para-transit program agreed to help but told her she would have to walk roughly eight blocks each way to hitch a ride. At 83-years-old, that's not something she can do. That's when she said "help me Hayley."

"We've never asked for help from anybody," said Harry Brothers. "We try to do things on our own."

This is new territory for Arlene and Harry Brothers, but they say they are desperate. Arlene has a bad heart and vision issues.

"Every eight weeks, I have to have an injection in my left eye to keep me from going completely blind," Arlene said.

But with Harry often working driving school bus to make ends meet, she's frequently left alone with no way to make it to those appointments. She said she qualified to utilize the para-transit program, but staff said she must walk blocks from her home to get on board. They said eight blocks may as well be eight miles.

"They say there's nothing we can do," Harry said.

The couple called Hayley Guenthner, desperate for some answers.

"Para-transit access is based on reasonable expectations of services," said Brandon Rapez-Betty with the STA. "It is federally regulated."

Hayley learned if you live inside Spokane para-transit's service area, you could be picked up from you door. If you don't, it's on you to make it to their service area. Their routes are something they said they can't budge on. Several hundred people in our community benefit from the service every year, but as it stands now, Arlene cannot be one of them.

"There's always those heartbreaking stories, but we have to follow the federal guidelines," he said "This is one of those situations where it's outside the boundary area."

The couple is clinging to hope the policy may change, before it's too late.

"My god, I just can't do that," Arlene said.

Hayley Guenthner has been digging into alternate resources to give to Arlene. She is meeting up with here again Tuesday.

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