Companions/Personal Care Attendants
Para-transit service also must be provided to a personal care attendant (PCA) traveling with an eligible rider. In addition to a personal care attendant, the regulations require that service be provided to one companion accompanying an eligible rider. Other persons accompanying the rider are to be accommodated on a “space available” basis. Persons are considered to be accompanying the eligible rider if they are picked up and dropped off at the same locations as the eligible rider. Companions must be charged the same fare as the eligible rider and PCA’s must ride free.
No Show Policy and Procedure
If the bus is dispatched to pick you up and you are not there or do not ride, and failed to notify the dispatch office to cancel the ride, then you or the referring agency may be required to pay for the trip. Vehicle movement is tracked by GPS and documentation of the time of our arrival at your pickup point can be furnished upon request.
Finally, the regulations permit RMTD to suspend Para-transit service to you when you have established a “pattern or practice” of missing scheduled rides (“no-show”). Service can be suspended for a “reasonable period of time”. Allowances may be made for missed trips that are beyond your control. The number of no-shows considered a pattern or practice and the period of suspension has been developed through the public participation process required for the development and updating of Para-transit plans.
Before service can be suspended for cause under this provision, you will be given an opportunity to appeal the proposed suspension.
If you are a persons with disability, RMTD will ensure adequate time for you to board or disembark a vehicle.
If you are a persons with disability,, RMTD will permit service animals to accompany you in vehicles and facilities.
For safety reasons, drivers are not required to load a passenger in a wheelchair if access to your home involves maneuvering more than one step, unless your home is equipped with a ramp for easy wheelchair access. If members of your family are available to transfer you from your home to the vehicle, then the step limitation will not apply. Drivers are not required to transfer you from your home to the vehicle if the ramp is determined to be unsafe for normal maneuvers.
If you choose to sit in the front seat, it is the policy of RMTD that you wear the seat belt. This may include a person using a wheelchair for transportation seating. If you refuse or do not want to use the seatbelt, the driver will record that you do not want to wear the seat belt and request that you sign the trip sheet/form documenting that you did not want to wear the seatbelt.
Lift and Securement Use
Public and private entities providing transportation service must have a securement system for wheelchairs. RMTD will ask that wheelchair users permit their wheelchair to be secured, but will not deny service on the grounds that a wheelchair cannot be secured. RMTD will not require a wheelchair user to transfer to another seat. Staff will provide assistance upon request or as necessary with lifts, ramps and securement systems. If you have a disability, and do not use a wheelchair, you may use the vehicle’s lifts or ramp.
You may use a lift to disembark from a vehicle at any designated stop, unless the lift cannot be deployed, the lift will be damaged if it is deployed, or temporary conditions preclude the safe use of the stop by all passengers.
Vehicle operators and other personnel are required to use accessibility-related equipment and features (such as tie-downs to secure a wheelchair on the vehicle).
Wheelchair definition-three-or-more wheeled devices.
With respect to the size and weight of wheelchairs, RMTD will transport a wheelchair and its user, as long as the lift can accommodate the size and weight of you and your wheelchair, and there is space for the wheelchair on the vehicle. However RMTD is not required to carry your wheelchair if in fact, the lift or vehicle is unable to accommodate the wheelchair and its user, consistent with legitimate safety requirements.
Segways or other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) – RMTD will accept such devices as long as your mobility device can be transported safely. If you cannot be safely secured on the device with approved securements, you may be required to transfer to a seat or wave liability.
If you are currently using RMTD for transportation services, you may continue to be eligible for the services, unless your disability changes, your safety or the driver’s safety is at risk, or other factors which go into the determination of eligibility changes.
RMTD has developed an integrated eligibility determination process, which we use for new customers. You may be required to provide documentation to help determine eligibility.
“Once RMTD has certified you as eligible, your eligibility takes on the coloration of a property right. (This is not merely a theoretical statement. For example: if you depend on transportation, you have been found eligible for transportation to get to a job, and your eligibility is removed, you may lose the job. The same can be said for access to medical care or other important services.) Consequently, before eligibility may be removed ‘for cause’ under this provision, RMTD must provide administrative due process to you, the individual.”
RMTD provides and maintains adequate records of certification requests, reviews completed, notification provided, and any appeals requested and prepared to demonstrate that regulatory requirements were met in the handling of each request for eligibility. Our records include dated applications, notes on incomplete applications, requests for additional information, reasons for determinations, and requests for appeal. Decisions made throughout the review process are recorded.
Documentation of Eligibility
If you are determined to be eligible, documentation of eligibility will be provided. This documentation specifically states that you are “ADA Para-transit Eligible”.
- If you are a new customer, call the transportation office to schedule transportation.
- Dispatch will conduct the interview and complete the passenger information form to determine eligibility.
- When you are approved, transportation will be scheduled.
- You may be required to provide documentation to help determine eligibility for transportation.
Notice of Initial Determination
You will be notified in writing of the initial determination of eligibility. If the determination is that you are not eligible, the written notification must state the reasons for the finding.
The notification of ineligibility must be specific. Information provided in the application or obtained in the review process must be related to the eligibility criteria (the categories of eligibility) and to the review process, which RMTD has designed.
Processing Time/Presumptive Eligibility
You will be granted presumptive eligibility if ADA determination of eligibility has not been made within 21 calendar days of the submission of a completed application. Service must be provided, and you are presumed to be eligible, until and unless the determination is complete and you are found to be ineligible.
An application is considered to be complete once you have provided all of the information required. Subsequent investigations or requests for additional information by RMTD would be considered part of the review process and within the 21-day timetable. For example, if an application process requires that you complete a form which includes the name of a professional who can be contacted for further information, the application would be considered “complete” once the requested information and professional contact were indicated. Follow-ups by RMTD in getting additional professional verification and information would be part of the 21-day review process.
Administrative Appeal Process
An administrative appeal process is available to you if it is determined that you are ineligible for transportation service. Because the provision of ADA complementary Para-transit service is a civil right, the denial of eligibility is a serious matter.
The appeal process is available to you if RMTD determines that you are ineligible in all situations, or conditionally eligible. Limiting eligibility is denying eligibility for certain trips.
- You are permitted to request an appeal within 6 days of the initial eligibility decision
- You have an opportunity to be heard in person and to present additional information and arguments regarding their disability and ability to use the service
- There is a “separation of function” between those involved in the initial eligibility determination and those selected to hear appeals
- You will be notified of appeal decisions in writing, or in accessible format if requested, and the notification will state the reasons for the decision if eligibility is still denied
- If a decision on the appeal is not made within 30 days of the completion of the process, you will be considered “presumptively eligible” and must be provided Para-transit service until and unless a decision to deny the appeal is issued. Para-transit service does not have to be provided, however, during other phases of the appeal.
Holding an Appeal Hearing
- An introduction of panel members
- In an appeal process, you will be provided documentation of the appeal process.
- You will be provided documentation of RMTD eligibility policy and the nature of the ADA Para-transit eligibility.
- A summary of initial determination findings;
- You or your representative will be provided the opportunity to provide additional information or dispute the initial determination findings.
- The hearing officer or panel members will have an opportunity to ask you or your representative questions; and
- The restatement of policy concerning a decision on the appeal so that you clearly understand what will happen following the hearing.
If there is a conflict of interest with you or your representative or there is a personal relationship with a person on RMTD panel and/or decision maker, it may become the subject of a civil rights complaint and ultimately be reviewed by the courts. It is therefore important that there be documentation of the proceedings. It is not required or necessary to have hearings transcribed, but documentation will be thorough enough to capture the essential issues raised and note that the established process was followed.
Observing Privacy Rights
The medical information that may be gathered as part of the ADA Para-transit eligibility certification process are not shared with any other party. This would include specific diagnosis provided by professionals and information about the nature of disabilities provided by you or your representative. Access to eligibility files is limited and those with access to these files are informed and instructed to respect your privacy. This includes ‘in-house’ staff as well as any third-party contractors used in the determination process.
Information regarding your functional ability to use fixed route service, derived from the determination process can, however, be shared with other transit providers. Other entities may call to obtain more detailed information about your ability to travel if you requested service in another area as a visitor.
Re-certification of ADA Para-transit Eligibility
RMTD suggests that you periodically reapply for ADA Para-transit eligibility. While your disability may be permanent, other factors, which go into the determination of eligibility, may change. For example: improved technologies and/or operating procedures may be introduced.
Circumstances Under which Service Can be Conditioned
In certain circumstances, it may be possible to mitigate the effects of conduct by requiring that you meet certain conditions (e.g., use the service with an attendant). While the regulation does not allow transit agencies to require attendants in other cases, such a condition of use is permitted, if you would otherwise be refused service. In other words, RMTD may place conditions on the use of service if we otherwise would have the right to refuse service.
For example, a rider with mental retardation may have a tendency to move around the Para-transit vehicle and accost other passengers. The behavior may be controlled by the presence of an attendant. If uncontrolled, such conduct would be seriously disruptive to the service, then RMTD would have the right to refuse service. RMTD could also, therefore, require that the person travel with an attendant.
If RMTD proposes to impose sanctions on someone, we must first notify you in writing (using accessible formats where necessary). The notice must specify the basis of the proposed action (e.g., Mr. Smith scheduled trips for 8 a.m. on May 15, 2 p.m. on June 3, 9 a.m. on June 21, and 9:20 p.m. on July 10, and on each occasion the vehicle appeared at the scheduled time and Mr. Smith was nowhere to be found) and set forth the proposed sanction (e.g., Mr. Smith would not receive service for 15 days).
RMTD will provide you with an opportunity to be heard (i.e., an in-person informal hearing before a decision maker) as well as to present written and oral information and arguments. All relevant RMTD records and personnel would be made available to you, and other persons could testify. It is likely that, in many cases, an important factual issue would be whether a missed trip was the responsibility of RMTD or the passenger’s, and the testimony of other persons and RMTD records or personnel are likely to be relevant in deciding this issue. While the hearing is intended to be informal, you may bring a representative (e.g., someone from an advocacy organization, an attorney). You may waive the hearing and proceed on the basis of written presentations. If you do not respond to the notice within a reasonable time, RMTD may make, in effect, a default finding and impose sanctions. If there is a hearing, and you need transit service to attend the hearing, RMTD must provide it.
RMTD must notify you in writing about the decision, the reasons for it, and the sanctions imposed, if any. Again, this information would be made available in accessible formats. In the case of a decision adverse to you, the administrative appeals process would be available to you.
All of the process issues associated with appeals of initial eligibility determinations must be followed in the final appeal noted above. This would include a separation of function, allowing 60 days for the appeal to be requested, making a determination within 30 days of the hearing, and providing interpreters if needed. The same individuals who hear appeals of initial eligibility determinations do not, however, have to hear appeals of proposed service suspensions.
Finally, it is important to note that service must continue to be provided throughout the process. RMTD may not suspend service while any part of the process is pending.
Circumstances Under which Service Can be Refused
RMTD can refuse to provide fixed route or Para-transit service to persons with disabilities if you engage in “violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct.” This may include assaulting a driver or another passenger, smoking or drinking on the vehicle in violation of established laws, or engaging in conduct that is so severe that the delivery of service is seriously disrupted.
Conduct which is related to your disability and which annoys or offends is not to be considered “seriously disruptive”. The interpretive appendix to the regulation uses the example of a person with Tourette’s syndrome who may make involuntary profane statements. Such behavior would not be grounds to refuse service. Similarly, service cannot be refused based on an unfounded fear of a particular disability. For example, a person with I-UV disease cannot be refused service because drivers or passengers are afraid of being near and being exposed to the condition. On the other hand, refusal to use a seat belt and displaying a habit of not staying seated during transport could distract the driver and seriously disrupt service. Refusing service or requiring that you ride with an attendant might be appropriate in such a case. Similarly, you are responsible for the behavior of your service animals. Service can be refused or conditioned if a service animal is seriously disruptive.
In determining what constitutes “seriously disruptive” or “violent” behavior, RMTD may want to rely on local ordinances. Most communities have established laws and standards that define unacceptable public behavior.
Accurate and correct information about various disabilities and medical conditions is vital to ensuring that you are not subjected to discrimination. For example, it may be necessary to determine if your disability causes annoying behavior or if you are prone to violence.