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ADA Paratransit Service Policy Document
July 28, 2016
Table of Contents
SECTION I: PARATRANSIT SERVICE DESCRIPTION
SECTION II: ADA PARATRANSIT ELIGIBILITY PROCESS
SECTION III: SERVICE POLICIES
SECTION IV: RIDER POLICY
SECTION V: PARATRANSIT PERFORMANCE MONITORING
SERVICE VI: THE BELLE URBAN SYSTEM’S ACCESSIBLE BUS SERVICE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FULL SERVICE MAP
A. Service Background
The Belle Urban System (The BUS) offers Paratransit service programs to individuals with qualifying disabilities. Paratransit is a demand response service where the vehicle does not follow a fixed route or schedule.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires federally funded public transit systems to provide a complementary Paratransit service for individuals with a disability whose condition prevents them from using the fixed route bus service. The BUS’s core Paratransit service program was established to comply with the ADA.
This document is designed to provide information regarding The BUS’s ADA Paratransit program. Some of the ADA standards cited in this document do not apply to non-ADA Paratransit programs.
A. Application Materials
The ADA Paratransit Eligibility Form and other information for The BUS’s Paratransit services are available in print form at The BUS office (1900 Kentucky Street in Racine). They are also available for download on The BUS’s website, www.racinetranisit.com. Hearing impaired customers can contact The BUS through the Wisconsin Telephone relay system line (1-800-947-6644).
B. Program Eligibility
The BUS determines eligibility upon review of a completed eligibility form containing information regarding the applicant’s functional ability to board, ride, or disembark from The BUS fixed route buses. The BUS requires a medical professional’s verification prior to determining eligibility.
The ADA certification may be conditional or unconditional depending on the applicant’s abilities. The BUS, in accordance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, will determine eligibility no later than 21 days after receiving the completed application. This does not include time waiting for requests for more information from the applicant or the applicant’s health care professional.
Within 21 days, a written response will be mailed to the individual notifying them of their eligibility status. If eligibility is denied, a reason for the denial will be included in the letter along with a copy of The Belle Urban System’s Appeal Policy. Be advised that you have the right to appeal this decision. (See Section II C. Appeals Process)
Individuals meeting any of the following two criteria will be determined ADA Paratransit eligible as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
All The BUS buses are equipped with a ramp and other accessible features. All routes are served by accessible buses, so there is no eligibility based on inaccessible vehicles. If there is a mechanical failure of a bus’s accessible features, the vehicle is immediately replaced with a fully functioning spare bus.
Type of ADA Eligibility:
C. Appeals Process
An appeal process will be available to those individuals wishing to dispute a conditional, certification, denial certification, or service suspension.
A. Service Hours and Days
B. Service Parameters
Service is only provided inside the service area as defined by the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The area is defined as an area within ¾ of a mile on either side of a fixed route. (Map enclosed).
C. Levels of Service and Fares
The basic mode of service for complementary paratransit is demand responsive, origin-to-destination. Door-to-door service is provided. The Belle Urban System Commission establishes fares for The BUS system. The current Paratransit fare is as follows:
Basic service: $4.00 per one-way trip.
Agency fare: $18.00 per one-way trip.
Riders can pay the driver the exact cost of the one way trip or use a Paratransit ticket. Paratransit tickets can only be purchased at the Belle Urban System office.
D. Trip Scheduling
Paratransit riders reserve trips by calling the service provider’s dispatch number during business hours of 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. The caller should be prepared to provide the dispatcher the following information: first name; last name; phone number; how they intend to pay the fare; origin address; destination address; accompanying companion(s), if needed; accompanying equipment(e.g., oxygen tank and respirators); ambulatory or non-ambulatory and desired arrival time.
Next day or subscription service is available by contacting the provider’s dispatcher. Trips can be scheduled up to 14 days in advance. Call no later than 4:00 PM. The more notice given, the better the chance the requester has of obtaining a desirable pick-up time.
During periods of high demand, it may be necessary for dispatchers to negotiate pick-up times; however, the rider will not be required to schedule a trip more than one hour before or after the desired pick-up time.
Same day call-ins, including unscheduled requests for return trips, will not be accepted. You must have a scheduled pick-up time. A rider can call to request an earlier pick-up time before their scheduled trip, but the BUS cannot guarantee that the requested pick up time will be accepted. We cannot assure any specific pick-up time.
E. Trip Purpose
The ADA prohibits restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose. All trips are served in the order received and as scheduled. For state and federal reporting purposes, riders may be requested to provide the reason for the trip, but will not be denied service based on trip purpose.
F. Service Reservation
There are two types of reservations: advance and subscription. Advance service includes trips scheduled for next day service. You must call by 4:00 PM the day before your ride. Subscription service is defined as trips that are set up for a rider to occur on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly).
The rider must demonstrate a pattern of the subscription trips for 30 days prior to subscription service being implemented. Riders must travel to and from the same destination, with similar pickup and drop-off times, at least once a week for 30 days to demonstrate a pattern for subscription service.
Riders are allotted one permanent change per subscription trip to their subscription service. Permanent changes are defined as changes to pickup time, locations, number of companions, and other factors that may affect scheduling. More than one change may result in the subscription being cancelled.
Subscription trips that are cancelled 25% or more within a 30 day period may result in the cancellation of subscription service.
The rider is to be aware that subscription service will be automatically cancelled on all Federal holidays.
If the destination and/or origin address changes, the rider has to cancel their current subscription and a new subscription must be implemented. The rider must demonstrate a pattern of the new subscription as described above.
Subscription service may take up to fourteen (14) calendar days to implement. Prior to subscription service being established riders must continue to call for a scheduled pick-up time.
Subscription service may be placed on hold for a maximum of 14 days within a rolling 90 day period. The exact same subscription must be implemented, or it will be handle as a new subscription.
Subscriptions which have been inactive for longer than 30 days will be cancelled. The rider is responsible for rebooking inactive subscription trips. If a client rebooks a previously existing subscription after 30 days and the subscription is identical to the original, the 30 day pattern is not required.
The BUS limits the number of subscriptions riders at 60 percent. Once the limit is met the rider will be added to a waiting list.
G. Multiple Destinations
Each trip includes one destination. Brief stops at locations before the scheduled destination will not be allowed. If multiple destinations are needed, each section of the trip must be scheduled separately and the rider must pay a fare for each ride.
H. Pick-Up Window
When your pick-up time is scheduled, the vehicle can arrive anytime within a 30-minutes pick-up window, which is defined as Thirty (30) minutes before and Thirty (30) minutes after the scheduled pick-up time. For example, if your appointment is scheduled for 9:00 AM the pick-up window time frame is 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM. It is the rider’s responsibility to be prepared to board the vehicle within the pick-up window.
I. 5-Minute Wait Time
Once the vehicle arrives in the allotted pick-up time, the driver will wait for up to five (5) minutes for a rider. If the rider is not prepared to board within this five (5) minute period, the trip will be counted as a no-show and the vehicle will be dispatched to another location. It is the rider’s responsibility to be able to clearly see the area where a vehicle would arrive for pick-up. The rider should be prepared to approach the vehicle when it arrives unless driver assistance was requested when the ride was scheduled.
When a rider needs to cancel a trip, the cancellation should occur at least two hours prior to the scheduled pick-up time. A late cancellation (less than 1 hour) is considered a no-show (see the “No-Shows” policy below).
A no-show occurs when the Belle Urban System Paratransit vehicle arrives at your pickup location; waits the required five (5) minutes past the scheduled pick-up time and the passenger does not board the vehicle. A Late cancellation occurs when the scheduled trip is canceled less than 2 hour prior to the scheduled pick up time. Late cancellations will be considered and treated as no-shows. Three (3) no-shows within any 30 day period may result in the following sanctions being imposed if the frequency of no-shows is greater than 50% of the reserved trips:
Any person suspended from service has the right to appeal the decision. ADA Service may continue during the appeals process.
L. Driver Assistance
Drivers are able to assist all riders with wheelchair when boarding and alighting vehicles, including securement. Driver limitations include: (1) assistance up or down more than two (2) steps; or (2) assistance transferring an individual in or out of a wheelchair.
M. Prohibited Behaviors
To ensure safety, our rider policy prohibits seriously disruptive behavior, public health threats, and refusal to comply with rules. If the prohibited behavior results from a disability, The BUS may require that a personal care attendant ride with the rider to control the prohibited behavior.
N. Personal Care Attendants and Companions
One personal care attendant (PCA) per ADA program rider is permitted to ride free.
One companion may accompany a program rider, but must pay the current cost for each one-way trip. Additional companions may ride and pay a fare, if space is available for safe transport. PCA’s and companions must have the same origin and destination as the program rider.
Arrangements for all additional companions must be made at the time of the reservation. Program rider must supply child safety seat for accompanying infants and small children.
O. Visitors and Reciprocal Eligibility
Visitors are eligible for 21 days of service in a 365-day period beginning on the first day the service is used by the visitor. For additional days of service, the individual is expected to register under The Belle Urban System’s eligibility procedures.
For individuals who reside outside The BUS service jurisdictions, The BUS shall certify an individual with a disability as a visitor when providing documentation of residence, a statement that because of their disability they are unable to access the fixed route, and, if requested, documentation of disability.
The BUS shall accept the certification of another transit agency for visitor service.
Individuals from outside The Bus service jurisdiction may also self-certify that they are unable to use the fixed route system for visitor service.
P. Medical Equipment
The BUS allows riders to bring medical equipment such as respirators and portable oxygen tanks on board vehicles. Oxygen tanks should remain upright at all times and must be secured to the mobility device or held in an upright position.
Q. Carry on
Each eligible rider is allowed to carry on up to two (2) carry on. This includes personal belongings and grocery bags.
R. Reasonable Modification
The Belle Urban System will honor and accommodate any reasonable modification to service as long as the request 1) does not fundamentally alter the service; 2) does not create a direct threat to the health and safety of others; and 3) is not necessary to permit the passenger to use the services for their intended purpose (nondiscriminatory). Such modifications should be made in advance to properly consider and plan for such modification but may be made to the driver at the time of boarding.
S. Mobility Devices
Under ADA all “mobility devices” and their users must be transported. A “mobility device” is defined as any device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion; whether or not individuals with mobility disabilities designed it primarily for use. A mobility device (including three-wheeled scooters) which safely fits on a lift or ramp and does not exceed the lift or ramp manufacturer’s stated weight limit will be transported.
The purpose of the rider policy is to set guidelines for refusal or suspension of transportation services administered or provided by The Belle Urban system (The BUS).
This policy applies to circumstances and/or behavior that occurs on The BUS property, vehicles, or while boarding The BUS vehicles.
Services may be refused, suspended, or conditioned due to the following circumstances and/or behaviors:
A. Seriously Disruptive Behavior
Service may be refused to riders who engage in violent, illegal, or seriously disruptive behavior. Seriously disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, the following:
B. Public Health Threats
Service will be refused to any rider who poses a potential public health threat. Examples of public health threats include, but are not limited to the following:
C. Refusal to Comply with Safety Rules
A rider that refuses to comply with posted safety rules or driver instructions may be refused service.
Riders must be able to physically board and alight from the bus. If a rider can not physically board or alight from a bus, the rider will need to acquire the resources needed to overcome their disabling condition, such as, a mobility device and/or personal care attendant.
D. Service Refusal Process
The vehicle operator has the authority to refuse service on the day of the violation. Violations of these rules will be reviewed by The BUS staff for further action.
The General Manager, or his/her designee, is authorized to suspend or refuse the provision of service to riders who: (1) violate The BUS’s no-show policy; (2) engage in violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct; (3) pose a public health threat; (4) refuse to pay the applicable fare; or (5)refuse to comply with safety rules. The term of the suspension or refusal of service shall depend on the nature and seriousness of the prohibited conduct.
To the extent feasible, the rider shall be notified in writing. The written notification will state the specific basis for the proposed action, the proposed sanction, and the appeal process.
The BUS is responsible for ensuring Paratransit service performance complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Service oversight of the provider is completed through review of monthly trip records, on-site meetings, feedback received through the complaint and comment process, and periodic surveys of riders. In general, the ADA requires Paratransit service provided to riders with disabilities to be comparable to what is provided to riders of the fixed route bus system. The BUS has developed standards based on regulatory requirements and nationally recognized guidance related to Paratransit service. Below is a list of performance measurable to ADA Paratransit service and established standards within each measure.
A. On-Time Performance
A Paratransit vehicle is on-time if the vehicle arrives with a 30 minutes pick-up window. This is defined as Thirty (30) minutes before and Thirty (30) minutes after the scheduled pickup time. The BUS monitors trip records from all ADA trips to track on-time performance. The goal is for 95 percent on-time performance. When on-time performance falls below 95 percent, The BUS will meet with the drivers to determine factors that impact on-time performance and corrective actions, if needed.
B. Phone System Access
The standard is to minimize call hold times. There are 3 phone lines with access to DART dispatch. The operator is readily available for calls regarding both scheduling appointments as well as complaints. In the event that all lines are busy, the message will prompt you to leave a voice message. Your call will be returned within five (5) minutes.
C. Overall Customer Satisfaction
Every year, The BUS surveys a segment of ADA Paratransit riders. Riders are asked to rate their satisfaction with on-time performance, dispatcher courtesy, driver courtesy, driver sensitivity, vehicle cleanliness, and overall ride quality. The survey also allows riders to write in comments and provides valuable information about customer satisfaction over time. The results are reviewed with the provider to identify areas of improvement and areas of success.
D. System Capacity
The BUS’s Paratransit system is prohibited from having any capacity constraints. Trip demand must be adequately served to provide equivalent access when compared to the fix route bus system. The BUS monitors the following to ensure adequate capacity: trip denials; no-shows; subscription rides; customer complaints; and vehicle used.
ADA Paratransit programs are designed to provide transportation for individuals with disabilities that are unable to board, ride or alight from a bus; or when environmental or architectural barriers prevent a rider with disabilities from getting to or from a bus route stop. When these conditions are not present, riders with disabilities must utilize the fixed route bus routes to meet their mobility needs.
The fixed route bus offers a cost effective and accessible service. By presenting your Paratransit approval letter, you qualify for the reduced cash fare or reduced 30-day pass.
Each bus contains accessible features, including: kneeling capability (bus lowers to make the first step easier); a ramp for wheelchair boarding; on-board wheelchair securement areas; and stop announcements by drivers.
The BUS drivers are trained to safely secure wheelchairs. Mobility aide tie-downs are used to secure mobility aides. The vehicles are designed to utilize four (4) straps to secure the mobility device in a forward facing position. All four straps must be secured to the mobility device prior to the vehicle moving. Each vehicle provides seatbelts for all riders. It is required that all riders utilize them for their safety. The BUS drivers also assist with the use of ramps and securement devices.
The BUS does not provide assistance when safety to drivers or riders is at risk. When a driver’s or rider’s safety is at risk, The BUS staff may recommend use of a personal care attendant or Paratransit service for the rider.
The BUS will provide to its riders, upon request, service materials including maps, applications and policies in an accessible format for disabled riders. If an accessible format is unavailable, The BUS will accommodate the rider’s request to the best of its ability.
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