April Paratransit Policies. For Persons with Disabilities

April 2012 Paratransit Policies For Persons with Disabilities Table of Contents Glossary of Terms 2 Introduction 3 Scheduling Policy 4 Prope...
Author: Peter Hill
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April 2012

Paratransit Policies For Persons with Disabilities

Table of Contents

Glossary of Terms




Scheduling Policy


Proper Footwear


Boarding Assistance


Child Accompaniment




Ramps and Lifts


Maintenance of Ramps and Lifts


Passengers Requiring the Use of Ramp/Lift


Mobility Aid


Transporting Mobility Aid


Forward vs. Backward Mobility Aid Loading


Mobility Aid Brakes


Mobility Aid Securement




Segways and Two Wheel Scooters


Carts and Packages


Passengers with Open Sores and Wounds Personal Care Attendants (PCA)

12 13

Portable Oxygen Use


Service Animals


Customer Rights


How to File a Complaint


Glossary of Terms ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Passed in 1990 to ensure the protections of the civil rights for persons with disabilities. Direct Threat A direct threat is a significant threat to the safety of others that is based not on speculation, but on other ascertainable evidence, and the risk cannot be mitigated through changes in policies and practices. Disability As defined by the ADA, a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities such as walking, speaking, hearing, breathing or caring for oneself. Dispatcher/Supervisor Refers to the person available to the vehicle operator via the radio. Lifts & Ramps Devices on vehicles that enable a person or mobility aid to board or deboard the bus without having to negotiate steps. Mobility Aid A piece of equipment, including but not limited to wheelchairs and scooters which assists a person with a disability. A mobility aid belongs to any class of three or more wheeled devices, usable indoors, and designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments whether operated manually or powered. Paratransit Services that can be used as an alternative to fixed route bus service for passengers with disabilities. Personal Care Attendant (PCA) An individual who assists a person with a disability in carrying out his or her life activities. 2

Securement System A configuration of straps and hooks on a vehicle that are attached to a mobility aid to keep it stable during travel. Segways A two-wheeled, gyroscopically, battery powered Personal Transportation Device (PCD). Service Animal An animal that has been trained to assist a person with a disability.

Proline averages 140,000 trips per year.

Introduction Public Transit Policies Regarding Passengers with Disabilities Using ADA Paratransit Service SARTA’s paratransit service (Proline) is a service intended to complement SARTA’s fixed routes for individuals with disabilities that otherwise prevent them from using SARTA’s fixed route services. Proline service is comparable to the level of service provided to individuals that do not have disabilities. Proline is a “Shared Ride” service which means most of the time an individual may share his/her ride with other individuals that are scheduled to be picked up or dropped off while they are being transported to their destination. 3

Individuals may be ADA paratransit eligible on the basis of a permanent or temporary disability. Furthermore, an individual may meet the eligibility requirement criteria for some trips but not others, depending on his or her disability. Paratransit complementary service is required to be provided within corridors with a width of three-fourths of a mile on each side of each fixed route. Within the core service area, paratransit service shall also be provided to small areas not inside any of the corridors but which are surrounded by corridors. Passengers wishing to use the ADA paratransit services must be certified as eligible through SARTA’s Proline Certification office. For further information regarding the eligibility process for passengers with disabilities, please call 330455-2292 or visit us at www.sartaonline.com. It is our goal to ensure that passengers with disabilities receive paratransit services that are provided with dignity, kindness, and respect without compromising safety and security.

Scheduling Policy Once you have received your eligibility letter you are registered in the Proline program and can call 330-455-2292 to schedule your ride. You will be issued a personal identification number that is unique to you. Please have this number available whenever you call to schedule a ride. Do not issue or make available, your personal identification number to anyone unauthorized to schedule rides on your behalf. Any trips scheduled, using your personal identification number, are trips that you will be accompanying. 4

Any authorized representative that is scheduling trip(s) on behalf of Proline eligible clients should ensure that a personal identification number is available at the time of scheduling for each client that will be utilizing the Proline service. A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) will be allowed to ride free of charge with any client that has previously indicated on their application their need for a PCA. One companion per Proline client will be permitted to ride along for the regular Proline fare. Any additional person(s) will be considered based on availability. Any misrepresentation or fraudulent use of your personal identification number could result in loss of SARTA’s Proline service. Any agency or representative requesting Proline service, on behalf of a client that will not be utilizing the services for the trip(s) scheduled, will no longer be permitted to schedule on that client’s behalf. SARTA may no longer permit the agency or representative(s) to schedule any Proline trips on any SARTA Proline client’s behalf.

All Proline passes can be used on Fixed Route buses.

Proper Footwear All passengers, including those who use mobility aids, are required to wear shoes unless a disability either prevents the wearing of shoes or necessitates that the passenger’s feet be bare. 5

Boarding Assistance Operators shall position the vehicle to make boarding and deboarding as easy as possible for everyone. Operators are to be available at the door to provide assistance when boarding or deboarding, as needed. SARTA provides curb to curb ADA service. However, Operators will provide door –to-door if requested by the passenger. For instance, the nature of a particular individual’s disability or adverse weather conditions may prevent him or her from negotiating the distance from the door of his or her home to the curb. A physical barrier (e.g., sidewalk construction) may prevent a passenger from travelling between the curb and the door of his or her destination point. In these and similar situations, to ensure that service is actually provided “from the user’s point of origin to his or her destination point,” the operator may need to provide assistance beyond the curb. Operators do not have to provide services that exceed “door to door” service (e.g., go beyond the doorway into a building to assist a passenger). Drivers should not leave their vehicles unattended for lengthy periods of time or place the vehicle in an unsafe situation.

Child Accompaniment Children under the age of six who are certified for ADA paratransit service must be accompanied by a “responsible person” when using SARTA Proline service. A responsible person is defined as one who can directly control and supervise the child. 6

Fares Exact fare is recommended. Operators do not carry change. However, the farebox will issue a change card for any amount inserted in the farebox above the cost of the fare. Please let the operators know that you will need a change card prior to inserting any cash into the farebox. The fare must be paid upon boarding the bus. No person shall occupy, ride in or use, any SARTA vehicle unless the person has paid the applicable fare, is a Personal Care Attendant, or has a valid lawfully acquired bus pass. No person shall attempt to use a SARTA bus pass to board or ride a SARTA vehicle unless the bus pass was lawfully acquired at an authorized SARTA outlet by or on behalf of that person. Any person refusing to pay the applicable fare and/or found to have misused a SARTA bus pass may be denied transportation and subject to criminal prosecution for theft of services. The Operator will be expected to report to the dispatcher immediately prior to departure if he/she suspects any violation as listed above.

Service is available countywide for customers who meet ADA requirements .


Ramps and Lifts Maintenance of Ramps & Lifts Vehicle operators must test the lift or ramp during the pre-trip inspection. All breakdowns of accessibility equipment must be reported to the dispatcher immediately. Operators should follow the instructions they receive upon making such report. A vehicle with an inoperable ramp is to be removed from service as soon as possible-no later than the next day-and not returned to service until repaired. Passengers Requiring the Use of Ramps & Lifts Customers requiring a ramp or lift shall board first after on-board passengers have exited. Walk-in passengers will then be allowed to board. Passengers needing the ramp/lift should exit last after on-board passengers have exited.

Mobility Aids Transporting Mobility Aids A mobility aid is any class of three or more wheeled devices that are usable indoors and designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments. It may be operated manually or powered. All mobility aids shall be transported unless the lift and the vehicle cannot accommodate the mobility device or there is a legitimate safety requirement that cannot be met if transported. Legitimate safety requirements include such circumstance as a wheelchair of such size that would block an aisle , or be too large to fully enter the bus, or would interfere with the safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency. Operators will make every attempt to properly secure all mobility devices. Paratransit vehicles may not be able to accommodate mobility aids exceeding 600 pounds when occupied. 8

Reasonable efforts shall be made to transport persons in oversized mobility aids. However, transportation cannot always be guaranteed to a person in an oversized mobility aid and suggestions for alternative transportation shall be provided upon request. Forward vs. Backward Mobility Aid Loading For safety reasons, passengers using mobility aids are encouraged to back onto the lift when boarding; however, passengers are not required to do so. When a ramp is used, the boarding direction is the passenger’s decision. Mobility Aid Brakes When occupying a lift or securement area, it is recommended that passengers apply the brakes on their mobility devices. With power chairs and scooters, it is recommended that the power switch be turned to the off position. The application of the brakes and turning the power switch to the off position are not mandatory. However, it is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that the mobility device is not operated while the lift is in motion. Mobility Aid Securement It is SARTA’s policy, as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, that mobility devices be secured using the securement system available. If the customer will not allow the Operator to attempt securement, the Operator shall refuse service and the passenger will not be transported. If such occurs, the Operator will be required to notify dispatch immediately prior to departing for further instructions. Mobility Aids must be properly secured whenever possible. Operators will use their best efforts to correctly use the appropriate number of securement points. Service will not be 9

denied because the mobility device cannot be secured to the operator’s satisfaction either due to the awkward position of the securement points or the design of the mobility device. A passenger may not be refused service based on an inoperable securement system. In the event the securement system is inoperable the operator will be required to notify dispatch immediately and follow the instructions given. Lap belts and shoulder harnesses shall be placed on the individual for their safety. If the passenger refuses the lap belt or shoulder harness the operator is required to notify dispatch prior to departing and document it on their manifests, if one is available. Passengers using mobility devices may transfer to a vehicle seat if one is available. Passengers using a mobility device are not required to move to a vehicle seat due to securement difficulties that raise safety concerns. Passengers requesting a ride in a specific securement area will be secured in the area of their choice, if that securement area is available and unoccupied by a passenger using a mobility device.

Walkers Passengers using walkers may request to board/deboard using the ramp or lift. As with all passengers using mobility aids, they should board/deboard before other passengers board the bus. A walker meeting the definition of a mobility device may also be secured, if the passenger requests securement. If the passenger does request that the walker be secured, all securement points should be used. 10

The passenger may request to sit in a bus seat after the walker is secured. However, if the walker has a seat and the passenger does choose to sit on the walker, they may do so. At the passenger’s request, walkers can be left open and kept in close proximity to the passenger, if they do not block the aisle. A passenger must maintain physical control of the walker at all times. Segways and Two-Wheel Scooters The Segway is a two-wheeled, self stabilizing, battery powered Personal Transportation Device (PCD). The Segway is not designed primarily for use by people with disabilities, nor is it used primarily by such individuals. However, some individuals with disabilities may use a Segway as a personal mobility aid, in lieu of a more traditional device such as a scooter. The same can apply to other PCDs such as a two wheel scooter. When a Segway or two - wheel scooter is being used by a person with a disability as a mobility device to assist them in navigating the fixed route or paratransit systems, the passenger must be allowed to bring the device on the bus. The following guidance applies: Passengers with Segways will board using the lift. Under no circumstances will paratransit passengers be allowed to stand on the Segway device while the lift is in motion. Passengers will ride the lift standing off of the Segway. Segways must be secured in wheelchair securement area with the power turned off. The parking brake must be on if there is a brake device on the Segway. The passenger will transfer to a bus seat. Under no conditions, will a passenger with a disability be allowed to stand on the Segway while the device is being transported. 11

Two wheeled scooters must be folded or held close by the passenger with the aisle kept clear. No gas powered scooters will be transported on the bus. Carts and Packages Passengers with disabilities requesting to use the ramp/lift to board the bus, may board without having to fold up the cart that they may be using to assist them in carrying their belongings. The passenger should be encouraged to keep the cart as close to them as possible and to keep it out of the way of other passengers needing to use the aisle. At the discretion of the operator, if an overcrowding condition exists that will not allow the passenger any access to a seat with the unfolded cart, dispatch should be called for instructions. A road supervisor may need to come and assist the passenger or provide rescue.

Open Sores and Wounds When using the paratransit vehicle, passengers with disabilities who have health related open sores and wounds need to ensure that all sores and wounds are properly covered. Passengers with disabilities who have open sores and wounds shall be transported unless their medical condition presents a “direct threat” to other passengers. Any passenger, including passengers with disabilities, may be refused access to public transportation if visible body fluid leakage or dripping is occurring at the pick-up location. Such leakage or dripping can create a biohazard to other passengers on the paratransit vehicle. If such a condition exists, the Operator will be expected to report to the dispatcher prior to departing for further instructions. A SARTA 12

official may be dispatched to evaluate and determine the appropriate course of action. Based on the evaluation, the passenger experiencing the leakage or discharge may be transported back to their point of origin, their final destination, or to another appropriate destination capable of responding to the passengers’ needs. In certain circumstances, 911 may be contacted to arrange emergency medical care. When it is determined that the discharge or leakage poses a direct threat to the safety of the operator or other passengers in the vehicle, such determinations of direct threat may require that passengers are transported on another vehicle to ensure their safety.

Personal Care Attendant On ADA paratransit trips, personal care attendants ride free; however, companions traveling are required to pay the appropriate fare. Only one PCA is allowed per passenger and more than one companion is only allowed if space is available. PCAs and companions must have the same destination as the passenger. A personal care attendant is not responsible for the loading, securement or unloading of the passenger. A PCA will be identified during the ADA certification process. If a PCA is not identified during the ADA certification process and the passenger requests a trip to be the PCA will be allowed. The passenger will be advised to contact the Proline Supervisor to request a review of their PCA status. The passenger may also be sent a letter and application form allowing them to provide appropriate information regarding their need for a PCA to the Proline department. 13

Portable Oxygen Use Individuals with disabilities that use portable oxygen devices are allowed to travel with respirators and properly secured portable supplies. Oxygen supplies must not obstruct the aisle.

Service Animals Persons with disabilities who use service animals are allowed to board with their service animal. Operators may ask any passenger if their animal is a service animal and/or if the animal assists them with their disability, but may not require certification or identification for service animals. Passengers using their service animals must keep their animals under control, and the animal must not pose a threat to other passengers. Failure to do so may result in the passenger being requested to exit the vehicle. Pets other than service animals must be transported in portable pet carriers. Carriers must have a door that closes and locks or that can be secured.

Customer Rights Customer using public transit are given equal access, seating, and treatment without regard to race, color, national origin or disability. 14

How to File a Complaint Customers wishing to file a complaint may call SARTA Customer Service at (330)-4772782 or TTY ((800) 750-0750) or visit the website at www.sartaonline.com. All complaints received by SARTA’s Customer Service Department are documented and assigned to the appropriate transit staff for investigation. As part of the processing of all complaints a SARTA representative may be in contact with you regarding the complaint and appropriate action will be taken. We’d like to hear your questions, comments, or concerns regarding the SARTA system. Please notify us at the phone number or website listed above with any feedback you may have.

Qualified riders can call 330-455-2292 to make reservations 3-4 days in advance (depending on the day). Reservations are accepted from 7:30 am - 5:00 pm; Monday-Friday .

Proline Hours of Operation are online: www.sartaonline.com/proline-paratransit

or you can call (330) 455-2292 15


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