Access Center receives money for new van

Vehicles transport students in wheelchairs, with injuries to classes around campus



Access Center Director Meredyth Goodwin says the Cougar Accessible Transportation Services program received additional funds to replace a van which was experiencing mechanical issues.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Cougar Accessible Transportation Services (CATS) gained additional funding from the WSU Services and Activities Fees Committee to purchase a replacement for one of its wheelchair accessible vans.

Meredyth Goodwin, director of the WSU Access Center, said CATS requested $68,000 for a replacement because one of the two vans has “wear and tear” issues. Problems include the sliding door and the wheelchair ramp, which often gets stuck.

“It’s just getting to the point where we really should get a new van,” Goodwin said.

She said wheelchair accessible vehicles cost about $60,000, and the extra $8,000 would cover additional expenses and maintenance fees. The last time CATS purchased a van was in the early 2000s, she said.

“I’ve been here [for] about eight years,” Goodwin said. “We’ve had those vans since then.”

She said it may be awhile before CATS receives the replacement van because it needs to go through a process before purchasing the vehicle, but the organization hopes to get it by the end of December.

Aside from the wheelchair accessible vans, she said CATS also has a car that was purchased three years ago. The car benefits students who may not be wheelchair users but have issues that impact their mobility.

CATS also serves students with temporary injuries or chronic medical conditions whose stamina may be impacted, she said.

“A person doesn’t just have to be a wheelchair user,” Goodwin said. “It’s anything that impacts their ability to navigate.”

Goodwin said CATS provides rides for about 60 students per semester. The service works with students’ class schedules to transport them as close to their classes as possible.

She said CATS provides rides Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. but hopes to expand working hours in the future. The organization usually receives more ride requests during the winter, she said.

Goodwin said CATS works with WSU Facilities Services and Operations to determine which routes on campus need more attention once snow and ice start to appear.

She said CATS only operates in WSU-owned property like residence halls with the exception of Greek housing. Students who live off-campus would have to go to the closest location on campus to get a ride.

Goodwin said Pullman Transit also provides Dial-A-Ride, which is a program similar to CATS.