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State: Cape and Islands Rides for Disabled to Be Coordinated out of Taunton

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Medical transportation for people who are disabled or low-income on the Cape and Islands could soon be coordinated out of Taunton instead of Cape Cod.

Right now, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority coordinates rides for human services clients through providers such as Cape Abilities and Cape Cab.

But that could change as of July 1st, when the Baker administration plans to hand scheduling of rides to medical appointments and day habilitation to just two agencies, known as “brokers,” for the whole state. That’s a reduction from six agencies doing that work now.

The plan places the Cape and Islands in the hands of the Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority, or GATRA, which is based in Taunton.

Nearly 80 state legislators have called for a delay to study the plan further, and Tom Cahir, administrator of the Cape transit authority, agreed.

“There's a tremendous amount of very important data that has to be transferred to the new brokers — health related data that has to be protected,” he said. “And it's a major undertaking in a multimillion-dollar program.”

He said there’s a chance GATRA could delegate the work to his agency, but if not, he thinks riders won’t like the change.

“GATRA would be coming in from Attleboro, you know, not knowing anybody down in Wellfleet, Truro, or Provincetown — and either island,” he said. “So, right there, [that] suggests that the consumer experience will not be as good.”

The Baker administration gathered comments from stakeholders starting in 2019, according to information on mass.gov.

Cahir said he does approve of some parts of the plan, including technology upgrades and performance measures.