Each month, PRTC shines a light on one of our passengers to learn why
that person chooses to ride public transportation, how long he or she has
been using PRTC’s services and what we can do to improve that person’s
commute. Check out this month’s Rider Spotlight below.
Mr. Chiominto uses the Wheels-to-Wellness program to travel with his wheelchair.
Customer Profile - January 2015
James Chiominto is new to the Wheels-to-Wellness program so he’s still a bit unsure about how effective and convenient it will be for him. But one thing is certain: he wants to occasionally be able to leave the Woodbridge apartment he shares with his wife, Teresa, and have some measure of the independence he had before moving to Virginia.
The Chiomintos moved to Woodbridge in spring 2014 to be closer to their daughter and grandson. Two years of not being able to see them was just too much, so they left the Bronx and headed south. As one might expect, the move from city to suburb has required a bit of adjustment. In New York, Mr. Chiominto was used to being very independent thanks to a paratransit service that allowed him to travel virtually anywhere he wanted to go for $2.50.
Mr. Chiominto has a prosthetic right leg, although because of a medical issue he currently can’t wear the leg and must get around in his wheelchair. The family doesn’t own a vehicle, and the independent Mr. Chiominto prefers not to ask family or friends for a ride.
When he arrived in Northern Virginia, he was astounded to discover that OmniLink bus service runs on an hourly schedule in the middle of the day and was frustrated one day when he was unable to board an OmniLink bus because there was no room for his wheelchair. On a more positive note, he was pleasantly surprised to discover OmniLink buses can make off-route trips enabling him to get closer to his destination.
Still, the door-to-door service and ability to travel on his own schedule through Wheels-to-Wellness makes that service more attractive than the alternatives, he said.
James and Teresa registered for Wheels-to-Wellness at the same time, and he said that while he’s taken only a handful of trips through the program, his wife has used it more frequently to go to the hospital and doctor’s appointments.
When he rides with Wheels-to-Wellness, he is especially appreciative of cab drivers who assist him by loading his wheelchair in the vehicle, particularly now that he can’t use his prosthetic leg.
“It’s hard to get around, but I can’t complain,” he said.
Interested in having your story spotlighted? There’s no minimum time that you must have been riding with PRTC! As long as you ride with us at least occasionally and are willing to submit a photo, you qualify! If you’d like to be featured in Rider Spotlight, contact Christine Rodrigo at (703) 583-7782 or at crodrigo@OmniRide.com.