The ATAC was originally formed in 1991 to meet the requirement of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to involve persons with disabilities in the planning process for the ADA Complementary Paratransit Plan for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA).
After the ADA paratransit requirements were fully implemented, the ATAC was reinvented as an advisory committee to RIPTA, providing input on the accessibility of all transportation services and other transportation-related issues affecting persons with disabilities.
The majority of ATAC members are persons with disabilities who use fixed-route and/or paratransit services, and since 2001 the co-chairs have been RIPTA customers with disabilities. The ATAC members also include representatives of State, community-based, and advocacy organizations serving people with disabilities.
In accord with Rhode Island General Law Section 39-18-4(7), the ATAC fulfills RIPTA’s requirement to “establish an advisory committee comprised of seniors/persons with disabilities who are constituent users of the authority’s services to assist in the implementation of this section.” ATAC members have met frequently with the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and other public officials in support of the importance of RIPTA’s services.
The ATAC meets on the first Thursday of each month at 4 PM with some exceptions. The ATAC’s input and feedback is important to RIPTA, and the mutually respectful and productive working relationship has resulted in many significant improvements in transportation services to Rhode Islanders with disabilities.
Any person who has a disability or who represents an organization concerned with disability issues can be an ATAC member. Membership is established 2 times in non-election years and 3 times in election years: at the first ATAC meeting of the year and the sixth meeting of the year, as well at the meeting immediately preceding biennial officer elections. To be eligible to vote in an ATAC meeting, a person must have attended 5 of the previous 12 ATAC meetings.