Paratransit Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Ride?
Eligibility qualifications have been established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You are eligible to ride Paratransit if you are:
- unable to board, ride, or de-board a transit bus
- unable to travel to or from a bus stop, or to find your way around the transit system by yourself
- because of a physical or cognitive disability
Some riders are able to use our fixed route buses for many—but not all--of their trips. If your disability prevents you from making some trips on our fixed route bus (for example, trips that require you to walk farther to a stop than you are able), you would be eligible for Paratransit on those trips.
If you are unable to make any of your trips on our fixed route system, you would be eligible for all of your trips on Paratransit.
How Do I Become Eligible?
Call (360) 733-1144 or (360) 676-6844 (TTY) for an application packet. We will send it by mail, to be filled out and returned by mail. A friend, relative or caregiver may help you. You can also call (360) 733-1144 with questions.
WTA staff may need to contact your physician, social worker, or other Social and Health professional to confirm your information. Please sign the Professional Verification Release Form at the end of the application before mailing it back to us.
We will determine your eligibility to ride Paratransit within 21 days of receiving your application. You will receive a letter notifying you of our decision. This letter will also tell you when your eligibility will need to be recertified. WTA reserves the right to reevaluate eligibility decisions prior to that date.
If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may appeal within 60 days of receiving your notification letter.
Riders are responsible for informing WTA if their condition changes, or if they no longer need Paratransit services.
Who Can Ride With Me?
- Personal Care Attendants (PCAs). A PCA is someone who travels with and helps a passenger who isn’t able to travel alone. PCAs travel free of charge on Paratransit and must board and de-board at the same location as the passenger.
- If you travel with a PCA, please say so on the application form. This will become part of your eligibility determination and will guarantee a place for a PCA to ride with you.
- Companions. Passengers can travel with a companion or guest (or more than one when space is available). Companions must pay the applicable fare.
- Service Animals. All legitimate service animals are allowed on Paratransit. One service animal is allowed per eligible rider.
- Pets. You may transport a pet provided it is fully contained in a secured pet container and does not disturb other passengers.
- Visitors. Visitors to Whatcom County who are eligible to ride Paratransit services in other communities will be eligible to ride WTA Paratransit services for 21 days. After 21 days, visitors will be asked to apply for WTA’s Paratransit services.
How Much Does It Cost To Ride?
- Regular Fare on Paratransit costs $1.00 per trip. A monthly pass is $13.00. However, if you ride with us at least once a week, a better value is the Quarterly Pass for Seniors and People with Disabilities. This pass gives you unlimited rides for three months and costs only $35.00.
- Reduced Fare Cards. If you have a Medicare card, a disability, or if you're over age 65, you are eligible to ride fixed routes buses for a reduced fare of 50 cents. Call 676-7433 to apply for a Reduced Fare Card.
- FREE Rides on Fixed Route Buses! If you are eligible to ride on Paratransit, you can ride WTA’s fixed route bus for FREE! You must show your valid WTA I.D. Card.
Should I Tip the Driver?
No. WTA drivers are paid public employees and cannot accept tips or gifts.
What can I carry with me?
Drivers will help you carry up to four packages or bags of groceries if they can be safely handled while providing assistance to you. Drivers are able to lift up to 30 lbs.
Extra large, heavy, or odd size items will not be transported on our vehicles. Please arrange for a delivery service, family or friends, or a volunteer agency to help you with these items.
We do not move personal belongings from one residence or facility to another.
What If I Lose Something While Riding?
If you believe you lost an item while riding, please call and we will attempt to locate it for you. The WTA is not responsible for returning lost items. All lost and found items are stored for 60 days.
What Happens When the Roads are Snowy or Icy?
When road conditions become hazardous due to adverse weather, WTA may decide to limit or stop service. We may need to call you to cancel or reschedule some trips.
Road conditions can cause delays. Please consider canceling or rescheduling trips that are not essential on days of adverse weather.
We will do our best to provide service for essential trips even in adverse weather conditions.
Feel free to call to check how your ride may be affected by weather conditions. Our phones can be busy when the weather is bad, so please be patient if your call is placed on hold.
The Transit Guide and all of WTA's primary public information materials are available in alternate formats such as Braille, large-print, or audio. Call (360) 676-6843.
WTA provides services and employment on a non-discriminatory basis and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Please note: Our website provides a summary of our policies, Washington State Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This should not be construed as the full and complete explanation or content of WTA policies, local, State and Federal Law. Actual WTA policies, local, State and Federal Laws take precedence.