Care-A-Van, Juneau’s paratransit service, is being rebranded as Capital AKcess, and some vehicles are already sporting the new name. The service may also have a new operator. (Courtesy Photo | City and Borough of Juneau)

Care-A-Van, Juneau’s paratransit service, is being rebranded as Capital AKcess, and some vehicles are already sporting the new name. The service may also have a new operator. (Courtesy Photo | City and Borough of Juneau)

Longtime Care-A-Van operator may lose bid to taxis

Paratransit service’s potential new direction draws letter of protest

Care-A-Van’s operator might change, but the service will remain.

The transit service for elderly people and people with disabilities could soon have a new operator pending a City and Borough of Juneau decision to award a contract for paratransit services to Juneau Taxi instead of long-time operator Southeast Senior Services, a division of Catholic Community Service.

A change of operators was recommended after proposals to provide the service from Juneau Taxi and Catholic Community Service were evaluated by an evaluation committee consisting of transit staff, according to a memo from the CBJ Purchasing Division.

[Capital City Fire/Rescue investigate body found in Mendenhall River]

“We were baffled how Juneau Taxi scored higher,” Erin Walker-Tolles, Executive Director for Catholic Community Service, told the Empire in a phone interview Thursday.

Four unnamed evaluators almost universally favored Juneau Taxi to Catholic Community Service. Three evaluators rated Juneau Taxi higher, and one evaluator rated Catholic Community Service two points higher —scores fluctuated between 687 to 832 points.

A maximum score would be 1,000 points, according to a proposal evaluation form included in the city’s request for proposals.

Walker-Tolles said the social services agency is protesting the results, and has sent a letter of protest to the city.

A letter of protest is the first step in an appeal process with the city, said Mike Vigue, director for the city’s Public Works & Engineering Department.

Vigue said generally contracts are awarded to the highest-scoring proposal received in response to a request for proposal, but there is not yet a deal in place.

“We haven’t awarded the contract yet,” Vigue said. “We’re in that process.”

The program serves those who cannot ride Capital Transit buses. Paratransit is a service required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center. Generally, in order to be compliant, public transit agencies that provide fixed-route service must also provide a complementary paratransit service to people with disabilities who can’t use bus or rail service.

The paratransit service must provide pick-ups and drop-offs within 3/4 of a mile of a bus route or rail station at the same hours of day at no more than twice the regular fixed-route fare.

“It’s a requirement because we have a fixed route,” Vigue said. “It’s not going away.”

New name

[Watch: Folk Festival highlights]

The program is also heading toward a new name. It’s already being rebranded as Capital AKcess by the city — some vehicles are already sporting the new name.

Regardless of who is ultimately awarded the contract, Vigue said the actual vans used in the Capital AKcess program are the city’s property and not provided by the operators. That means cabs would not be replacing the vehicles used to transport the elderly or people with disabilities.

He said the city has a group of new vans for the program because the old ones had reached the end of their useful life, and they are waiting to be deployed pending settling on an operator.

“They provide the service,” Vigue said. “We provide the equipment.”

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former state labor commissioner Ed Flanagan, State Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, and the Rev. Michael Burke of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Anchorage wheel boxes of signed petitions into a state Division of Elections office on Jan. 9. The petitions were for a ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage, mandate paid sick leave and ensure that workers are not required to hear employers’ political or religious messages. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Minimum wage increase, ranked choice repeal have enough signatures to be on ballot

A pair of ballot measures have enough public support to appear on… Continue reading

State senators meet with members of the media at the Alaska State Capitol to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.
Little public reaction to city’s bailout of school district this year, but big questions beyond loom

Only two people testify Monday about proposed $4.1M loan and taking over $3.9 in “shared costs.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mauka Grunenberg looks at live oysters for sale on Aug. 29, 2022, at Sagaya City Market in Anchorage. The oysters came from a farm in Juneau. Oysters, blue mussels and sugar, bull and ribbon kelp are the main products of an Alaska mariculture industry that has expanded greatly in recent years. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s mariculture industry expands, with big production increases in recent years, report says

While Alaska’s mariculture industry is small by global standards, production of farmed… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (center) walks with Alaska Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, and Alaska Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, into the Alaska House of Representatives chambers ahead of her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

Congresswoman says wins for Alaska’s fisheries and state’s economy occurring through collaboration.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

Most Read