San Antonio, TX

     Alamo Area Accessible Transportation

& Mobility News

June 2012

Our vision for accessible transportation in the Alamo Area is to insure that all seniors and people with disabilities have safe, least restrictive and barrier free access to affordable transportation to meet personal needs


Vision Statement,
 Alamo Area
Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (AAATCI)


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Welcome to the June edition of the Alamo Area Accessible Transportation & Mobility Newsletter, a forum to inform our community about accessible transportation and discuss opportunities for improvements 


This month's topics:  


We encourage your feedback and contributions each month! Please forward any information you would like to share.





Isa Fernández, MPA

Mobility Specialist

Bexar Area Agency on Aging

Alamo Area Council of Governments

(210) 362-5227

Bexar Area Agency on Aging (BAAA) Mobility Management Program Receives National Innovation Award


The Bexar Area Agency on Aging (BAAA) Mobility Management Program has been selected to receive the 2012 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) Innovation Award in the Transportation category. The highly selective award is given out in multiple categories to ten programs in the nation. The BAAA Mobility Management Program has demonstrated innovation in the following areas: 


  • Enhanced regional coordination among stakeholders through its integral role in developing the Alamo Area Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (AAATCI), a coalition of over 40 partners comprised of transportation providers, urban planners, infrastructure engineers, transit users and ADA advocates;


  • Active support and partnership with specialized transportation providers Call A Ride for Seniors (CARS), the coalition of four nonprofits providing escorted transportation and other services to ambulatory older adults 60 and over;  


  • Research partnership with the University of Texas in San Antonio Department of Demography to study and map transportation and livability indexes in Bexar County. Studies also address the built environment, gaps in transit service areas, and accessible transportation needs of older adults and people with disabilities; 


  • Accessible Publications "Getting Around Bexar County and the Surrounding Alamo Region: A Guide for Older Adults and People with Disabilities" and the "Alamo Area Accessible Transportation and Mobility News" disseminated to the community in print, PDF, and All-Text format. This has resulted in an increase of information and referral information available to the community that is accessible.


The award will be presented July 10 in Denver, Colorado at the 2012 n4a Conference. The top three Awardees will also be up for a cash award to be used to increase funding for programming, a determination to be announced at the awards ceremony. 


For more information on n4a, visit


 Spotlight On: Greater Randolph Area Services Program (GRASP) 


Greater Randolph Area Services Program Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1983, is a United Way Agency that established the TRANSIT program to help seniors in the communities that typically are outside of the VIA service area.


GRASP TRANSIT offers Para transit demand response service to seniors living in Northeast Bexar County and part of Guadalupe County that includes the cities of Converse, Live Oak, Universal City, Schertz, Selma, Cibolo, and Windcrest.


GRASP Transit operates a fleet of six wheelchair accessible buses Monday to Friday between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. Individuals utilize the service to access Congregate Meal/Senior Center sites, medical appointments, grocery shopping and other personal needs.   Most trips are curb to curb; however, in certain prearranged trips, drivers will provide door through door assistance.


Individuals may schedule appointments for transportation with 24 hours' notice. If an ride or space is available on the day of the appointment, the drivers will make an effort to meet their needs.   A nominal fare is charged for the service.


GRASP Transit links with community transportation partners to meet the demands of the community, improve the efficiency of vehicle resources, training, and more.


Funding and support for the program are provided by individuals, private and corporate resources, Texas Department of Transportation, United Way of San Antonio, and United Way of Guadalupe County. 

For more information about GRASP services, please visit or contact Sheila Buitron, Director of Transportation at  (210) 658-6351


 Senior Transportation Provider Map Highlights Service Areas in Bexar County



Bexar Area Agency on Aging (BAAA) Mobility Specialist  Isa Fernández has continued her partnership with University of Texas Department of Demography doctoral candidate Chun-lin Lin to create a senior transportation service area map tailored to the needs of older adults in Bexar County. 


The map details provider service areas by zip codes and major roads. The map has been instrumental in providing information and referrals to older adults and caregivers looking for answers on how their loved one can get around. To download a copy of the map, click here.


For use of the map, please be sure to list BAAA as the author and point of contact for any questions. Please contact Isa Fernández, MPA (210) 362-5227 or email with any questions



Removing Barriers for the Disabled 

by Larry Johnson

(Copyright 2012 San Antonio Express-News, reprinted with permission). 



I was brought up to believe that society didn't owe me a living. I had to earn it. Just because I was blind didn't mean I was entitled to special treatment. My elementary school teacher told us, "Because you're blind you have to be better and work harder to make it in this world."


Tough words, but they instilled in me the drive to be successful. There was no talk about the school's responsibility to provide us with a reader or the material in Braille. It was up to us to figure out the solution, to adapt to the world in which we lived.


My blindness, my "handicap," was my problem, I thought. Sighted students volunteered to read to me. Bus drivers helped me across the street. Waitresses read me the menu. They did it out of kindness. I was lucky. I met a lot of caring people. I got to go to college. I got to follow my chosen career in radio. And I got to go to Mexico at 18, with my guide dog.


I never thought about barriers that confronted people in wheelchairs or the problems a deaf person might have in a job interview. And I did not consider that the "handicapped" had rights, that they deserved the same opportunities as other people. Then, in 1977, I read a book by Frank Bowe, "Handicapping America: Barriers to Disabled People." It was an indictment of our country's exclusion of persons with disabilities. He wrote: "For 200 years we have designed a nation for the average, normal, able-bodied majority, little realizing that millions cannot enter many of our buildings, ride our subways and buses, enjoy our educational and recreational programs and facilities and use our communication systems. There are in this country tens of millions of people who have difficulties hearing, seeing, moving, learning, controlling their emotions, talking, but all are people. Their disabilities are real, but so are their abilities."


I realized I was living in a shell and that we were all guilty of creating these barriers - and all responsible for removing them. In 1979, I joined a group of disabled leaders who formed an advocacy organization representing disability groups from across Texas - the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. I served on its board for eight years. We helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Since then, I have given scores of motivational talks and conducted workshops and sensitivity training programs, focusing on providing persons with disabilities equal quality of life opportunities.


This devotion was inspired by Bowe and his powerful words: "The obstacles that face disabled people today may face anyone. A skiing accident. A highway collision. A mistaken dose of medicine. The barriers ... are important because they deprive our country of badly needed manpower, deplete our natural resources, waste human lives and potentially affect all of us. There is a huge economic cost being incurred by our society's failure to utilize this untapped reservoir of human talent. But even more importantly, is the staggering human and moral cost of depriving people with disabilities the dignity and opportunity to earn a living and fully participate in ... their community."


Larry Johnson is an international motivational speaker and author, chairman of Bexar County Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities  and president of the Alamo Council of the Blind of the Braille Revival League of Texas


Register for the American Public Health Association  Webinar Series: 

Health and Equity in Transportation


APHA has kicked off its free webinar series on critical health and equity issues within the transportation sector.  The three 60-minute APHA webinars will explore the ties between public health and:

  • Increased use of public transportation;
  • Reduced injuries, particularly for children and young drivers;
  • Increased access to goods and services, such as healthy foods, jobs, employment and health care, for all communities; and
  • Other topics within transportation, such as updates on the federal surface transportation authorization.

Webinar 1: What Public Transit Means for Public Health

Explore how public transit may impact health, via increased physical activity, improved air quality and reduced risk of injuries from crashes. Hear about health impact assessments that estimate how increased spending on public transportation and sustainable modes of transportation can  benefit health and reduce social inequities. 




Wednesday, June 13, 2012



Webinar 2: What Role Injury Prevention Plays in Transportation

Learn about state efforts to strengthen young driver licensing systems, and how such policies can most effectively be promoted to raise the profile of transportation as a public health issue.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2-3 p.m. EDT



Webinar 3: What Health Impact Assessments Can Do for Health Inequities

The health impact assessment, or HIA, is gaining huge momentum as a tool to address the social and environmental determinants of health, particularly on transportation-related projects and policies. Learn about HIAs conducted on transportation corridors with high rates of poverty and unemployment, on a new public transportation line and on a city's master plan. Some of the most important health risks or outcomes addressed are healthy food availability, physical activity through multi-modal transportation and safety.  




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2-3 p.m. EDT 




Permission to reproduce or reprint: Please feel free to forward this newsletter. However, if you wish to use any information marked "original" please contact the owner of that information, or Isa Fernández.



AAATCI members include representatives from:


ADA Advocates
Social Workers 
Urban and Transportation Planners
Transportation Engineers 
Transit Users 


Contact Us: to submit "Spotlight" stories, current events, article suggestions, data to share, best practices and/or with any comments or questions: or call (210)-362-5227.