GREAT FALLS — Paratransit was declared “essential” last week, but the Great Falls Transit District announced this week that they will be canceling all fixed route and paratransit services.
Paratransit services primarily consist of public transportation options for people that either need to get to a healthcare facility for some form of treatment, or qualify for transportation to and from places like grocery stores and pharmacies due to preexisting conditions.
United Way of Cascade County announced on Thursday that they are working with several organizations to provide alternatives for people who rely on paratransit services to get them from place to place.
“United Way reached out to Opportunities Inc., Alluvion Health Care, Aging Services and other community resources to find transportation options,” the organization said in a press release. “We provided $2,000 to Opportunities Inc., which also is providing some funding as well, to pay BlackOut Taxi to transport people who used para transit services from the GF Transit Authority. People can call Blacked Out directly and they will bill Opp. Inc. They will be reimbursed for trips for any essential service -- medical, pharmacy, groceries.”
The money is coming from United Way’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which was created to respond to community needs. The organization noted that as those needs evolve over time, so will the fund.
“The Paratransit situation, I think, is a perfect example of something we hadn’t anticipated,” said Gary Owen, United Way of Cascade County President. “But, because we had those resources available, we were able to step up and help meet that need on an almost immediate situation.”
This program is only for people who used Paratransit services from the Great Falls Transit District prior to the stoppage, and you can call Blacked Out Taxi at 406.781.5218 if you need a ride somewhere.