If you need a ride to the doctor or day care, to the bank or senior club meeting, a youth activity or to church, Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. may be able to help.
MEO is the human services and Maui Bus ADA paratransit transportation provider for the County of Maui.
MEO is a nonprofit community action agency that was established in 1965 under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. It is not a government agency. MEO administers 50 funded programs and serves more than 23,000 individuals annually. As MEO enters its 50th anniversary year, we continue to be committed to helping people and changing lives.
MEO Human Services transportation began in 1969 providing rides for Head Start preschool children, getting them to and from school. During that time, a group of disabled senior citizens approached then-Executive Director Gladys Baisa and requested expanded service to seniors and the disabled. The first bus was retrofitted with a wheelchair lift with funds raised at an MEO booth selling chili and rice at the Makawao Rodeo. Today, MEO transports more than 5,000 unduplicated clients each year.
Under the human services contract funded through the county Department of Transportation, MEO works with various community agencies to qualify clients for transport, and there is no charge for the service. Partners include Maui Adult Day Care, Hale Mahaolu, Hale Makua, Kalima O Maui, Easter Seals, Liberty and Rainbow Dialysis, The Boys and Girls Clubs and the Kihei Youth Center and Paia Youth & Cultural Center, to name a few. MEO also provides a shuttle that runs in the Upcountry area and Ala Hou, which serves disabled clients who are limited in using the Maui Bus ADA paratransit service because they reside outside of the three-quarter-mile service area of the Maui Bus. Hours and days of service vary, based on the program connected with the service. In some cases, human services transportation is a door-to-door or door-through-door service. Human services transportation is available on the islands of Maui (including Hana), Molokai and Lanai.
Maui Bus paratransit transportation is designed to provide service for individuals with certified physical and mental disabilities who are unable to access a fixed route bus stop and does require payment of a fare. It is a curb-to-curb shared ride service and reservations can be made for service up to 14 days in advance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a civil rights bill, was designed to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in American society. Under the ADA, paratransit service is designed to closely mirror the Maui Bus fixed-route bus service. Service is available during the operating hours of the Maui Bus seven days a week, 365 days per year.
Maui Bus paratransit does not provide service to areas outside of corridor boundaries that extend three-quarters of a mile on each side of the Maui Bus fixed route. Interested individuals should visit the county Department of Transportation's website at www.co.maui.hi.us/bus or call 270-7511 for more information.
For more information about MEO services and programs, visit www.meoinc.org or call 249-2990.
* Debbie Cabebe is the chief programs officer for MEO. Contact her at 249-2990, ext. 342.