A program that provides golf cart rides to those at the University with disabilities and injuries has come under new leadership.
The courtesy service, called jAUnt, was started in 2011 by the Office of Accessibility. Transportation Services took over operations in June.
jAUnt was moved over to transit because it was a part of the transportation industry, said Chris Harris, transit operations manager.
“We understand logistics and scheduling and how vehicles operate … those kinds of things that the Office of Accessibility was never trained for,” Harris said.
However, due to federal regulations, he said the Office of Accessibility continues to play a critical role in the program.
“The confidentiality part of this program is really important. We don’t really want to know what the medical condition is,” he said. “They’re not trained in the transit part. We’re not trained in the medical part.”
The service is available to faculty, staff, visitors and students, offering rides to various parts of campus throughout the day.
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“Accidents happen. Injuries happen,” Harris said. “There are times when a person would miss class if the jAUnt service wasn’t available. That’s what the [program] is for … to help out when needed.”
To be eligible for jAUnt, applicants must first contact the Office of Accessibility detailing the need for the service.
“They start with an email,” Harris said. “They have to get approved through the Office of Accessibility before we can book them a scheduled ride. They have to supply documentation proving their injury or condition requires a golf cart ride. Once they are approved by the Office of Accessibility, they contact us.”
Harris said jAUnt currently provides about 90 rides per day. With only three to four golf carts, he said the program is looking to expand.
“We’re looking right now at possibly getting some new carts and getting some more drivers so that we can kind of spread the schedule out,” he said.
Because of the number of rides scheduled throughout the day, students have a limited amount of time between classes to make it back to the golf cart.
“Once we arrive on site at your time that you’ve asked us, we will wait three minutes for you,” Harris said. “If you’re not out within those three minutes, we’re leaving because we have someplace else to go.”
In an effort to streamline the process, Harris said they are working on developing a website for jAUnt.
“We’re working with Campus Web Solutions on trying to put together a webpage [so] students, faculty or staff, whoever is trying to book, will have a step-by-step web service to go in and supply their qualifying documentation, which will automatically go to the Office of Accessibility,” he said.
Harris said he sees jAUnt as more than just a golf cart service. Instead, he said he sees the program as a means for students to avoid falling behind in their schoolwork.
“I’d hate to hear that a student had to take medical disability to miss class or not be able to graduate school,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for, to help them graduate and get through it, even if it’s just a temporary thing.”
Those interested in registering for the jAUnt service must first provide all pertinent documentation to the Office of Accessibility. This information can be sent to Barclay Bentley, assistant director for accessibility, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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