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Paratransit services can be a lifeline for those who rely on complimentary transport to catch up with their medical appointments, attend school or college, go shopping, etc.

However, unless you’ve personally experienced or used a paratransit service, the term ‘paratransit’ may sound alien to you. In this guide, you’ll learn what  paratransit services are and who is eligible to use them.

What is Paratransit?

As per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), most public transit systems are required to provide paratransit services to disabled individuals who cannot use the mainline bus or rail service.

Paratransit service is available during the same hours of operation and in the same service areas as regular public transport. It normally offers a door-to-door service to customers. While you’ll be required to pay for the service, the service provider cannot charge you more than twice the regular fare.

If you book your service one day in advance, the company must provide you with the service. Plus, it must arrive within one hour of the time you request. For instance, if you requested a paratransit van for 10 am, it must arrive no earlier than 9 am and no later than 11 am.

Now that you know what paratransit services are, let’s find out who can use the service.

Who Can Use a Paratransit Service?

Before searching for ‘paratransit service near me’, it’s important to find out whether you or your loved one is eligible for the service. All disabled individuals do not qualify for paratransit services.

Only those who can’t use a fixed route system are eligible for the service. A person may be eligible for the service on all trips they want to make, while another disabled individual may only be eligible for certain trips, under specific circumstances.

According to the eligibility criteria defined by the ADA, a person must fit in one of the following 3 categories:

Category 1

These include people who can’t get on or off a ride, such as a train or a bus, due to their disability. This also includes visually impaired people and those with compromised cognitive abilities who don’t know where to get off. Such people are eligible for paratransit for all trips they want to make.

Category 2

This category includes people who can ride a fixed-route transit, but no such transit is available for the route they want to travel. This may occur if the fixed-route transit is undergoing maintenance work. You’re also part of category 2 if you require a wheelchair but the fixed-route transit doesn’t allow for it.

Category 3

Finally, if you have a disability that prevents you from getting to and from the transit stop, you’re part of category 3. However, significant difficulty or inconvenience is not enough. Your impairment must totally prevent you from traveling to or from the stop. Long distances, extreme weather conditions, architectural barriers, etc., make you eligible for certain trips.

Closing Thoughts

By now, you should have developed a clear understanding of what paratransit services are and who can use it. If you’re located in Philadelphia, Bucks, or Montgomery and are searching for ‘paratransit near me,’ get in touch with Fortune Transportation Group LLC. We are a  WBENC-certified, women-owned business and provide reliable and superior paratransit services.  To book a paratransit van, contact us today.



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