Paratransit Services for Permanently and Temporarily Disabled Persons
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a civil rights bill, was designed to remove barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in American society. In the area of public transportation the Americans with Disabilities Act clearly states that regular bus service should be the primary means of public transportation for everyone, including people with disabilities.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public transit agencies like Razorback Transit are required to provide curb-to-curb, demand-responsive paratransit service that "mirrors" their fixed-route bus service (in terms of service times and areas). The service is a "safety net", and is only for those persons who do not have the functional capability to access the fixed route bus system.
While Razorback Paratransit’s base mode of service is curb-to-curb, assistance beyond the curb may be available. Please contact Razorback Paratransit for additional information.
What Should One Know About Razorback Transit?
All prospective applicants should know the following before applying for paratransit service:
Razorback Transit currently operates 18 accessible buses in peak service on its fixed route system with 4 Paratransit vans in peak service providing comparable service for disabled persons who are prevented from using the buses. Please note the reduced service schedule at specific times during the year.
All of Razorback Transit's buses are wheelchair lift or ramp equipped and have specific secure wheelchair locations inside the bus. Also, all buses have a kneeling feature that will aid in the boarding and disembarking of mobility impaired persons that do not use a wheelchair. Please ask the driver for assistance if needed.
Detailed information such as schedules and maps for the fixed route bus service may be obtained by calling Razorback Transit at 479- 575-7433 or may be picked up at the following University of Arkansas, Fayetteville locations: Transit and Parking Department, Hunt Hall Information Desk, and the Arkansas Union Information Desk.
Applicants are expected to familiarize themselves with all appropriate information concerning the fixed bus routes prior to completing the application for ADA certification for paratransit service.
The application process will require the applicant to explain his/her inability to access the fixed route bus system. This would not be feasible without a good understanding of how that fixed route system operates.
The applicant is also expected to familiarize themselves with Razorback Transit's Policies And Procedures for Paratransit Van Service prior to completion of their application. A description and map of our paratransit service area is available.
Who Is Eligible To Use Razorback Paratransit?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability alone does not qualify a person to ride paratransit. A person must be functionally unable to use the fixed-route bus service. Paratransit service is provided to the following three general groups of persons with disabilities:
Persons who have specific impairment-related conditions which make it impossible, not just difficult or inconvenient, to travel to or from the bus stop.
Persons who need a wheelchair lift and a wheelchair lift-equipped bus is unable to deploy its lift in a particular location due to physical constraints of that particular bus stop.
Persons who are unable to board, ride, exit or otherwise navigate the fixed route bus system, even if they are able to get to a bus stop.
How To Apply For Razorback Paratransit Service?
To be eligible for paratransit van service, one must complete an application for ADA certification. Eligibility applications are reviewed by the Logistics Manager in charge of Paratransit Services. General approval and considerations for trip requests are approved on a trip by trip basis.
The application is printed in fourteen point type and is also available in other formats such as large print, braille or audio cassette, upon request.
Applications and all information for paratransit service may be obtained by calling Razorback Paratransit at 575-6993 and speaking with the Logistics Manager in charge of Paratransit Services.
What Are The Different Eligibility Categories?
All applicants for ADA paratransit eligibility will be informed of their eligibility status in writing within 21 business days of the date the completed application is filed with Razorback Transit. Each applicant deemed eligible for paratransit will be assigned to one of the three eligibility categories.
Conditional eligibility will apply to individuals who are able to use Razorback Transit's fixed route bus service for some trips, but may require paratransit for other trips or in special circumstances. Eligibility for paratransit trips will be determined on a trip-by-trip basis and will be based on the individual's functional ability to independently use Razorback buses for some trips or part of a particular trip.
Unconditional eligibility will apply to individuals who have been judged functionally unable to independently use Razorback Transit's fixed route bus service in any circumstance.
Temporary eligibility will apply to individuals with temporary physical disabilities and will last for the term of the disability, but in no case longer than 12 months. After the 12 month period, individuals who were granted temporary eligibility must reapply and be reevaluated if they desire to continue using paratransit.
How Can One Appeal If Denied Eligibility?
If you do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act eligibility criteria you will be informed of this decision in writing within 21 business days. The letter will explain the reasons for denial as related to the eligibility criteria. You have the right to appeal the denial of eligibility, the level of eligibility granted or a particular trip request that has been denied for those with conditional eligibility.
You must initiate an appeal by contacting the Director of Transit and Parking, University of Arkansas, in writing within 60 days of the date of the denial letter. A letter will then be sent explaining the procedure of your appeal options which are: appearing in person with additional information or just sending in additional written materials.
Policies And Procedures For Paratransit Van Services For Disabled Persons
Paratransit Service is available in an area three quarters of a mile in any direction from any of the fixed routes. A map, indicating boundaries of the service area is included on the last page of the application. Persons living outside of the paratransit service area may coordinate a pickup location, within the service area, through the paratransit office.
Applications in Accessible Format, braille, large print or audio tape, will be made available upon request.
Personal Care Attendants will not be provided by Razorback Transit. The van driver's responsibility is to safely transport passengers from point of origin to their destination. Any other personal assistance, including but not limited to carrying groceries or other goods from a store to a residence, is the responsibility of the passenger. Another person accompanying the eligible passenger for the purpose of assistance is considered eligible, as long as the point of origin and destination are the same.
While our base mode of service is curb-to-curb, assistance beyond the curb may be available. Please contact the Paratransit Services Manager for additional information.
Visitor’s Requests for Paratransit Service will be honored, with proof of eligibility from another paratransit provider or with documentation of the passenger’s disability from a medical professional, for a total of 21days within 1 year from the date of the first ride. The visitor must submit an application to Razorback Transit for service beyond these 21 days of service.
The visitor can present, if the individuals disability is not apparent, proof of the disability (e.g., a letter from a doctor or rehabilitation professional ) and if required by the local provider, proof of visitor status (i.e., proof of residence somewhere else). Once the documentation is presented and is satisfactory, the local provider will make service available on the basis of the individual’s statement that he or she is unable to use the fixed-route transit system, that is, the local provider cannot require functional testing.
Granting visitor eligibility is a fairly simple and quick process enabling individuals to contact Razorback Transit to learn what is required and then be able to easily meet the requirements. This also means that upon receipt of any required documentation described above, Razorback Transit is to quickly enter necessary information into the database permitting visitors to place trip requests.
Next Day Service will be granted, from schedule requests made the previous day, within one hour on either side of the requested trip time. Requests for next day service will be taken between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on normal business days. Requests made on weekends and holidays, via voice mail, will be honored for next day service. Please call 575-6993 for all schedule requests. It is the responsibility of the passenger to follow up on any messages requesting service, to confirm scheduled pick up times.
Subscription Service or Long Range Scheduling will be allowed at the discretion of Razorback Transit and is limited in its manner of service. Primary consideration for this service will be given to eligible passengers with a permanent work or school schedule during peak transportation hours in the mornings and afternoons.
Same day schedule changes or alterations, for a person who is already on the schedule for the day, will be allowed only when feasible. Approved changes will be on a first come first served and space available basis. To cancel a ride or make changes on the same day, please call 575-6993 as early as possible.
Same Day Requests for Service for a passenger who is not already on the schedule for the day, will not be accepted by Razorback Transit.
Scheduled Pick Up Times are actually scheduled Departure Times. Passengers should allow themselves enough time when requesting a scheduled ride to be at the actual pick up location three to five minutes prior to the scheduled pick up or departure time.
Passenger no shows and late shows for scheduled rides seriously affects the scheduling efficiency of the van service and the schedules of other passengers. For more information, please see the Razorback Transit No Show Policy.
Razorback Transit Service Animal Information
Razorback Transit allows all service animals according to the following criteria:
Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3, “service animal” is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” DOT ADA regulation 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d) requires transit entities to permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. Appendix D to Section 37.167 contains further important information on service animals. It is important to note that while the U.S. Department of Justice has amended the definition of “service animal” for purposes of its ADA regulations under Titles II and III of the ADA, for state and local governments and places that are open to the public, the definition under DOT ADA regulations for transportation has not changed. Therefore, members of the public may find that some service animals may no longer be considered service animals once they leave a transportation system.
*Comfort Animals: DOT ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3 define a service animal as an animal “individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” If an animal’s only function is to provide emotional support or comfort for the rider, that animal would not fall under the regulatory training-based definition of a service animal and would not be permitted on Razorback Transit vehicles.
Whenever feasible, requests for modifications/accommodations should be made in advance of when the modified service is being requested to be provided by Razorback Transit. The request should be as specific as possible and include information on why the requested modification is needed in order to allow the individual to use Razorback Transit's services. Razorback Transit will make every effort to communicate determinations on requests for modifications in advance of when the service will be needed verbally or in writing.
Gary K. Smith
Director,Transit and Parking
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701