Jillian Schaible

Jillian Schaible
Transportation access is a daunting challenge for many people with a wide range of disabilities in North Dakota. Bismarck native Jillian Schaible knows this first hand.

She’s taken it upon herself to try and better matters, particularly in her community, through volunteerism and as a watchdog over local public transit issues. Jillian, who has cerebral palsy, does not drive and frequently uses a power wheelchair that gives her more independence.

She improved her own transportation access about three years ago when she applied for and began receiving transportation assistance from NDAD through Bis-Man Transit, the public transportation system for Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln. Each month, she receives assistance for up to 12 round-trip rides.

"It’s very helpful,” said Jillian, whose volunteerism includes sitting on the planning committee for Bismarck’s Great American Bike Race. “Even if it covers my volunteer stuff and those types of things I’m involved in to help other people, it offsets some of the other costs for me. I can schedule and I can kind of plan out what I’m doing and what I need to do and see how many things I need to attend.”

Jillian, who’s on a fixed income, has taken on a mix of paid and volunteer work over the years. She continues to look for “suitable employment,” she said, but those jobs are scarce. Complicating matters, Jillian said, are recent paratransit rule changes that challenge riders’ abilities to meet set work hours and appointments while reducing flexibility.

Still, NDAD’s transit help is “fantastic,” Jillian said. She hopes more people will be able to take advantage of NDAD paratransit assistance so they can come closer to “being in the community the way they want to be.”

Published in October 2018.