Harris County Precinct 4Senior Adult Program
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Policies and Regulations

Commissioner R. Jack Cagle is pleased to provide day trip transportation services to Harris County Precinct 4 residents ages 50 and better. The goal is for all Precinct 4 senior adults to participate in community and area events by using this educational and recreational transportation that includes wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Participants must be residents of Harris County Precinct 4, and at least 50 years of age or accompanied by a spouse who is 50 years of age. Please see the “Exceptions to the Age Requirement” section.

  1. Trip coordinators must reside in Harris County Precinct 4 and ensure that every passenger complies with the age restriction of 50 years or better. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in termination of the group’s bus usage.

  2. It is necessary for all new trip coordinators and assistant trip coordinator (existing and newly formed groups) to attend the first available trip coordinator training meeting. These meetings are scheduled in March, June, September, and December of each year. Please contact the Transportation Division at 281-893-3726 for the next available meeting date, time and location. The schedule is also available online. Trip coordinators should attend at least one training session every two to three years. Former trip coordinators that have not planned trips for two or more years are required to attend the next available trip coordinator training session.

  3. A maximum of five trip coordinators per group can be assigned each calendar year.

  4. Each year, trip coordinators will be required to complete a new Annual Group Reservation Contact Form. A group number will be assigned in the order in which the form is received via U.S. mail at the Transportation Office. Assigned group numbers determine the order in which trip coordinators will be called to make reservations. The number of buses each group can reserve each year is determined by the number of groups that submit an Annual Group Reservation Contact Form.

    Twice a year in March and September, the Senior Adult Program’s Transportation Division will contact each group’s primary trip coordinator to reserve buses for a six-month period. During the first call, trip coordinators will make reservations for the first half of the buses that have been allotted for the six-month period, and the second half of the buses will be reserved during the second call. Following each round of calls, if buses are still available, a third call to each group will be made to book the remaining buses.

    Please note: More than one bus may be booked for “same day/same destination” trips, but each bus goes toward the allotted number of buses for that period.

    Example: If each group is allotted four buses for each six-month period and they book four buses for one trip, they have used the total allotted number of buses for that period. No additional buses can be booked by the group until the next six-month period.

  5. Important! Trip coordinators are required to call the Transportation Division, 281-893-3726, three to five working days before a trip to report the maximum number of passengers confirmed for each trip. Please do not exceed the maximum number reported after contacting the Transportation Division, since Precinct 4 schedules the vehicle/s to be sent on trips based on the final passenger count.

    Effective September 6, 2011: A minimum of 10 passengers is required for the 20 passenger buses; a minimum of 13 passengers is required for the 26 passenger buses; and a minimum of 20 passengers is required for the 39 and 41 passenger buses. Trips with less than the minimum number of passengers at the time of pick up will be canceled.

    Example: A 39-passenger bus is reserved. However, three days before the trip the passenger count drops to 15 passengers. If the trip coordinator does not notify the Transportation Department of the reduced passenger count, the trip will be canceled upon arrival at the pick-up location. When trip coordinators call in new/reduced passenger counts within the three to five day advance notice period, a smaller bus will be sent to accommodate the actual number of passengers.

    Bottom line: Please reconfirm the maximum number of passengers traveling. Please refer to item 5 above.

    Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program Fleet includes:
    One, 20-passenger ultra mini bus
    Two, 39-passenger buses
    Four, 26-passenger mini buses with wheelchair lift
    Five, 39-passenger buses with wheelchair lift

    Note: Precinct 4’s vehicles are not equipped with rest rooms.

  6. Please announce to passengers prior to the trip that there is no eating, drinking, gum or tobacco chewing, nor smoking on the bus. Water (only) is allowed on the bus in a clear container. Picnic lunches may be taken, but not eaten on the bus. The use of alcohol is discouraged while passengers are off the county buses. Excessive alcohol consumption will not be tolerated.

  7. Detailed itineraries and plans for the group/trip must be arranged by the group’s trip coordinator. Precinct 4’s staff, including bus drivers, cannot plan trips. For example, rest stops, restaurants, picnic areas, etc., must be planned prior to the trip by the trip coordinator and listed on the required Trip Reservation Form.

  8. Departure times are not scheduled for any time earlier than 8 a.m. From the time of passenger pick up to return, all trips are limited to a 10-hour day within a 150-mile radius from the pick-up point. Additionally, there are no overnight or out-of-state trips. The precinct’s Transportation Department reserves the right to modify all trip itineraries. Effective Monday, May 2, 2011: Precinct 4 is not booking day trips on Mondays.

  9. The pick-up and return point must be the same location and within Precinct 4 boundaries. No exceptions! Bus transportation is provided as a round-trip service. All participants must return to the original pick-up location with the group.

  10. There is no charge for using Precinct 4’s day trip transportation services for older adults. However, please treat the driver as a guest by covering the cost of expenses required for the driver/s to participate with the group: meal/s ticket/s, entrance fee/s, and parking fee/s for the bus. The bus drivers are county employees and not permitted to personally accept cash, tips, or gifts.

No Tipping

Precinct 4 bus drivers are Harris County employees. Under the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 36-Bribery and Corrupt Influence section, governmental employees are not allowed to accept tips of any kind, especially cash, no matter how small the amount. It’s the law!

However, Precinct 4 bus drivers are allowed to accept the following only when transporting a group:

  • Lunch or dinner when dining with a group
  • Tickets to events, e.g. Astros games, the theater, concerts, museums, movies, etc.
  • Refreshments at a rest stop/s
  • A nominal “cash advance” ($20 maximum) for lunch/dinner expenses when the group’s itinerary does not include a planned meal. For example, a cash advance can be given to a bus driver at baseball games/sporting events, the Kemah Boardwalk, shopping malls, The Strand in Galveston, etc.

Please do not:

  • Provide cash to Precinct 4 bus drivers when lunch/dinner is included in the trip.
  • Provide cash to Precinct 4 bus drivers for expenses that did not occur.

Please remember to ask for the change and a receipt for all cash advances. Drivers are required to return the change from cash advances to the trip coordinators, since any amount of money they keep above the actual expenses is considered a tip.

Trip coordinators or group representatives are obligated to request and accept the unused portion of cash advances. Because of the severe limitations for government employees, should drivers not return the change, they could be subject to termination. We ask that all passengers abide by the state of Texas Penal Code and the policies of Harris County Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program.

Special Assistance for Passengers with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities

Precinct 4 bus drivers are unable to provide individual assistance to passengers: trip coordinators are responsible for handling passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities Groups must provide volunteers/caretakers to accompany passengers with a physical or cognitive disability to ensure their safety. The volunteer/caretaker must be at least 18 years of age. (Please see Exceptions to the Age Requirement procedures below). The responsibilities of the volunteer/caretaker include, but are not limited to:

  • Contacting the destination point to arrange any special services required by passengers
  • Assist with the loading and unloading of passengers
  • Transferring passengers from wheelchairs to fixed seats on the bus
  • Assisting passengers on ramps or elevators that may be encountered during the trip
  • Placing protective incontinence pads on passenger’s seats
  • Clean and sanitize the soiled seats/areas

Passengers who cannot climb steps to board a bus without assistance, or who are in a wheelchair, must be transported on a wheelchair-accessible bus. Trip coordinators must indicate if a wheelchair-accessible bus is needed when making reservations. A wheelchair-accessible bus in not needed for passengers who are able to walk up the steps to board the bus.

Passengers who require the use of an oxygen tank must place the oxygen tank/extra tank in a carry-on bag. The bag must remain with the passenger at all times.

Wheelchair and Boarding Information

  • Precinct 4 bus drivers reserve the right to determine and refuse any wheelchair that cannot be safely secured and transported.
  • Wheelchairs with small front wheels cannot be accommodated on Precinct 4 buses.
  • Only Precinct 4 drivers are allowed to operate wheelchair lifts.

For determining an accurate passenger count when traveling with wheelchairs, (standard, electric wheelchairs or scooters) please note that Precinct 4’s wheelchair-accessible buses can accommodate up to three (3) fixed (tie downs) , non-folding, standard size wheelchairs and six (6) folding (transfers) wheelchairs. Passengers with extended leg/arm devices or electric chairs may limit the number of fixed wheelchairs. Confirm the maximum number of wheelchairs by calling the Transportation Division three to five working days before a trip. Please do not exceed the maximum number of passengers after making the passenger count phone call.

Exceptions to the Age Requirement

Registered trip coordinators do not need to be 50 years of age, but they must be 18 or older. The registered trip coordinator is the individual listed on Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Trip Coordinator and Group Contact form (PDF). A maximum of five trip coordinators per group can be registered in any given calendar year.

Nursing home staff who assist residents must be 18 years or older. This policy includes assisted living and/or convalescent care staff. Please note: Precinct 4 requires that nursing homes and assisted living communities provide enough staff for the needs of every individual in the group.

Written notices are required when:

  • Groups who wish to include a religious leader and /or spouse who are under the age of 50. One under-aged religious leader and spouse per trip, please!
  • A participant who is not completely independent and needs a caregiver or assistant to accompany them. This caregiver or assistant must be 18 years of age or older.
  • A senior adult wants to include an adult child (18 years or older) with a physical or cognitive disability who resides with them.

Please note: Precinct 4 encourages passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities, along with their volunteers/caregivers, to participate in the day trip transportation services.

Requests for exceptions must be submitted in writing seven (7) days prior to the trip departure date. Please mail requests to Harris County Precinct 4, Transportation Division, 1731 Hugh Road, Houston, TX 77067, or fax them to 281-893-5589.

We are here to help, so please let us know of other ways we can be of assistance.

DONATIONS

Many senior adult groups ask how they can show their appreciation for the transportation services and other special activities provided by Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program. Donations from groups and individuals to Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program sponsors events like the annual “Opry in Humble,” concert and theater tickets, senior adult dances, plus a variety of other senior adult activities. Only with continued support and commitment can this fund expand to provide additional special events and programs for Precinct 4 senior adults.

If your group would like to make a donation, please make a check payable to Fun4Seniors and mail to 1731 Hugh Road, Houston, Texas 77967. All donations are used exclusively for special activities and events for senior adults in Precinct 4.

We appreciate your support.