In 1993, in response to the start of GCRTA's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Complimentary Paratransit operations, which ended service for seniors with no disabilities, the Metropolitan Area Specialized Transportation (MAST) Group developed a county-wide action plan for meeting the paratransit needs of non-ADA eligible elderly.
Incremental improvements were made to senior transportation services in individual communities, but comprehensive county-wide service was lacking.
In 2001, at the behest of the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners, the County's Department of Senior Adult Services (DSAS) and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, with the support and guidance of the Western Reserve Areawide Agency on Aging, the Transportation Consortium Coordinating Committee (TC3) and other social service groups, submitted a grant request to the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation to develop a strategic plan to address the mobility needs of the growing senior population.
In October 2001, the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation awarded the County Commissioners a $247,323 grant to complete a strategic plan for senior transportation. The County secured the services of RLS and Associates to develop the strategic plan United Way's Senior Success Vision Council identified the development of a coordinated transportation system for older persons as a top community priority.
Working under the guidance of the Senior Transportation Working Group, RLS and Associates developed a comprehensive strategic plan that is based on the following principles:
- Improve the quality and quantity of transportation services
- Institute the Family of Services Approach which will provide a range of transit services and integrate non-traditional services (neighborhood circulators and on-demand buses) with traditional bus services.
- Provide a variety of services. While more transit dependent than the general population, many seniors have active lifestyles and different transportation needs depending upon the time of day, season and location.
The Senior Transportation Working Group recommended an organizational structure that incorporates central management of paratransit services, close coordination with the GCRTA and a regional service delivery model.
In February 2005 Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County was established as a nonprofit corporation, and the central management entity to manage and coordinate county-wide delivery of senior transportation services. It is based on business models and its intent is to establish new methods for providing senior transportation services by:
- Consolidating networks of individual operators into multiple formal collaborations providing service over a broad region. Integrating facilities, equipment and systems for better buying power and quality service across the region.
- Using Information Technology as the central organizing component to allow for state-of-the-art customer service and scheduling.
- Developing a more centralized management structure to replace the existing fragmented jurisdictional and organizational structure.