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

This photo shows the National Archives in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle that has about a million boxes of generally unique, original source documents and public records. In an announcement made Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General's Office. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle

Tribes and members of Congress pushed for the halt.

This photo shows Unangax̂ Gravesite at Funter Bay, the site where Aleut villagers forcibly relocated to the area during World War II are buried. A bill recently passed by the Alaska House of Representatives would make the area part of a neighboring state park. (Courtesy photo / Niko Sanguinetti, Juneau-Douglas City Museum) 
Bill to preserve Unangax̂ Gravesite passes House

Bill now heads to the state Senate.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

The state announced this week that studded tires will be allowed for longer than usual. In Southeast Alaska, studded tires will be allowed until May 1 instead of April 15. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
State extends studded tire deadline

Prolonged wintry weather triggers the change.

COVID at a glance for Friay, April 9

The most recent state and local numbers.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Court sides with Dunleavy in appointments dispute

The court, in a brief order, reversed a ruling by a superior court judge.

The Juneau Police Department are seeking Brenda Jay Gallant, 40, after she was indicted recently for her alleged role in a 2021 vehicle arson. (Courtesy photo / JPD)
Police seeking woman indicted for arson

The indictment for the August fire came this March.

Police calls for Friday, April 9, 2021

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

Most Read