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Aggie Para-Transit will provide transportation to disabled NMSU students

A pilot program initiated by the Associated Students of New Mexico State University will provide disabled NMSU students with a transportation service to and from their homes and classes.

ASNMSU president poses with key players for Para-Transit initiative.
ASNMSU president Wesley Jackson signed the Para-Transit initiative with Ophelia Watkins, Director of Transportation and Parking Services and Trey Hunter, ASNMSU Director of Services, who will oversee the pilot program. Pictured is student Letticia Martinez with her service dog. (NMSU photo provided by Wesley Jackson)

“Aggie Para-Transit will begin serving qualified main campus students with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act in fall 2014 as a supplement to the existing fixed-route Aggie Transit service available on campus,” said Ophelia Watkins, director of Transportation and Parking Services at NMSU. “It will add flexibility to the campus transit service by providing curb-to-curb service in addition to the fixed-route Aggie Transit campus shuttle service.”

The concept of Para-Transit began last year as a collaborative effort between ASNMSU President Wesley Jackson and Gerard Nevarez, executive director of the Office of Institutional Equity at New Mexico State Univeristy.

“It was shocking to know we didn’t have a program of this sort,” Jackson said. “I felt that as a student government leader, we should want to help those students who need the most help.”

Similar to the U-Pass service that provides students with free access to the city buses, the Las Cruces Roadrunner Transit will run Aggie Para-Transit. It will allow students with disabilities to receive assistance to and from their classes and homes, whether on or off campus.

The service will also apply to students who may be temporarily physically disabled.

“As a pilot program, we don’t know what the outcome will be, but I have full faith it will prove to be successful,” Jackson said. “I have hope that by next spring we will be signing an extension for it.”

ASNMSU will run an evaluation each semester, addressing any issues regarding the service.

Students interested in the service can contact City of Las Cruces, Dial-A-Ride at 575-541-2777 or go to http://www.las-cruces.org/Departments/Transportation/Services/ RoadRUNNER%20Transit/Dial%20A%20Ride.aspx for information on how to apply for qualification.