Updated: Dec 27, 2022
A few months ago I had a routine appointment at my primary care doctor in Slingerlands. I love my doctor, and before downsizing, his office was a three minute drive from our house. Part of our downsizing project was to see if we could share a car instead of having two of them. We tested the concept by driving just one car for two weeks. The experiment caused us to have more talks like “Are you going to need the car tomorrow?”, but talking is good. We found that coordinating schedules was not too hard. We sold our second car not long after.
From our new, downsized, house our doctor is a 15 minute drive. In order to use the car most efficiently, our plan for the day was for my wife, Nancy, to drop me off at my doctor for a morning appointment. She would take the car for the day, I would take a cab or Uber home.
It was a nice day, so after my appointment I decided that I would take a regular CDTA bus home. I used to take a bus to work daily, but have not used a bus for years. The bus trip took almost two hours and involved almost a mile of walking. I got home exhausted.
The experience got me thinking. The day may come when I can't drive at all. I read in the booklet by the Albany Guardian Society, “Transportation Options for Senior Adults in the Capital Region“ (https://albanyguardiansociety.org/directory/ )
that, as disabled person with Parkinson’s, I could qualify for Special Transit Available by Request (STAR). STAR is a Paratransit service offering transportation alternatives to people who at certain times cannot use, or have substantial limits using, the CDTA fixed-route bus system because of a disability or impairment.
I read about the service and the certification process from the STAR Handbook and Booking Guide and sent the completed application for use of STAR by mail. After a month, and no response from CDTA, I called them and left a message. When they returned my call two days later, they told me I was approved and could call or email to request a bus.
Another opportunity to use the STAR Bus came up not long after. I had a 9:30 doctor appointment less than two miles from my house on an icy, snowy day. I requested a STAR Bus to pick me up at 9:15. The doorbell rang that day at 8:30 AM. The driver told me that they always come an hour before an appointment, that was new information for me. Mine was the first appointment in the doctor’s schedule and I didn’t know when I would be able to wait inside on a cold, icy day. I asked the driver to cancel my trip and called a Lyft instead.
I am not discouraged, I am glad that STAR is an option if I need it.
STAR is Special Transit Available by Request; a Paratransit service offering transportation alternatives to people who at certain times cannot use, or have substantial limits using, the CDTA fixed-route bus system because of a disability or impairment.
Precertification is required and can take 21 business days.
Albany Guardian Society - Transportation Options for Senior Adults in the Capital Region