Details about Paratransit
The goal of WTA's paratransit service is to serve you with:
- A safe ride
- Courteous, professional staff
- Clean, well-maintained vehicles
- Timely and thoughtful responses to your questions and concerns
- Consideration for your special needs
About Our Drivers
WTA drivers are specially selected and trained to assist passengers with disabilities. We hire friendly, responsible and respectful people. All drivers pass drug and alcohol screenings as well as criminal background checks. Drivers receive current training in first aid/CPR, disability awareness, passenger assistance techniques and defensive driving.
What are My Responsibilities?
To keep paratransit running smoothly and effectively, we ask riders to:
- Be ready 60 minutes before the arrival time at your destination (or 90 minutes for longer trips).
- Board the bus promptly. Drivers can't wait more than five minutes.
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street.
- Make sure the pick-up area at your home has safe and easy access. We need obstruction-free access and enough turn-around area. Otherwise we’ll need to arrange alternate pick-up and drop-off locations. If you are not sure about this, please request an access check.
- Tell us when making your reservation who will travel with you (a companion, personal care assistant, child or service animal).
- Indicate specifically where you will wait for your return trip so your driver can easily locate you.
- Call to notify us of changes to your address, mobility aids, or assistance needs before your next ride.
- Call to notify us if you no longer need Paratransit service.
Drivers are not allowed to enter your home or help you get ready to go. Be prepared with everything you need for your trip, so you can board the bus when it arrives.
Please cooperate with our drivers and staff. They are specially trained to serve you and to facilitate a safe, efficient ride.
Buses cannot be left unattended or out-of-sight with riders on board. If you need extra assistance, plan to bring a PCA.
In the case of a Medical Emergency, call 911.
Traumas, falls, or urgent medical situations need immediate help. Our drivers do not have medical training and cannot transport riders who require medical care on their trip.
Can Others Ride With Me?
Yes. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), children, companions and service animals may travel with you. Small pets can travel with you if they’re contained in a secure pet carrier.
Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
Riders unable to travel alone should travel with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). WTA does not provide PCAs. Riders who need them are responsible for providing their own. Authorization for a PCA will be established during your eligibility determination. It’s OK if you need a PCA for some trips and not for other trips. It’s also OK if your PCA is not always the same person.
We need to know if you’ll travel with your PCA when you book your trip. We also need to know if your PCA has any special mobility needs.
PCAs travel free on Paratransit. They must get on and off the bus with you.
PCAs may also accompany you on fixed route buses. PCAs ride free on fixed routes, provided you show the driver a special card, issued by WTA. The card will be issued to you, not to your PCA. For more information, call (360) 733-1144.
One companion can travel with you. If there will be room on the bus, additional companions may also come along. When you schedule your ride we will need to know how many companions will accompany you.
All companions must pay the fare. They must get on and off with you. Please tell us whether your companion has special mobility needs when requesting your ride. For instance, if your companion uses a wheelchair, we’ll need to reserve space for a wheelchair on the bus.
Children can travel with you. Let us know if you will travel with children when you book your trip. Children age seven and under ride free and must be accompanied by an adult on all WTA buses. Please tell us how many will accompany you.
Children must wear safety belts or be secured in safety seats appropriate to the age and weight of the child. WTA does not provide car seats or booster seats. The parent or guardian is responsible for providing and using a car seat compatible with safety belts on our buses.
A service animal, trained to assist people with disabilities, can travel with you.
Small pets may travel with you if they're contained in a secure pet carrier.
What Can I Bring With Me?
Drivers can help you carry up to four packages or grocery-size bags if it is safe to do so while assisting you. Assisting you safely is our first priority. Keep in mind our drivers are not allowed to transport bags or packages into your home, and are not allowed to lift more than 35 pounds.
Extra large, heavy, or odd-size items cannot be transported on WTA vehicles. Drivers are not allowed to help move personal belongings from one residence or facility to another.
What if I Lose Something on the Bus?
WTA is not responsible for lost items, however we will attempt to locate lost items. Found items are stored for 60 days. If unclaimed, they are disposed of according to our Lost and Found policy.
Safety Belts and Wheelchair Securements
All riders are required to use the safety belts provided in Paratransit vehicles.
Riders in wheelchairs are required to use safety belts as well as the wheelchair securements, locked into position by the driver.
If your torso is not strong and stable, please also consider using a positioning belt in addition to the seatbelt to ensure stability in your chair while traveling.
Riders with Mobility Aids, Wheelchairs or Life Support Equipment
Keep your mobility aid, wheelchair or life support equipment in good operating condition.
Your wheelchair may not be transportable if:
- Wheels or other parts are loose
- Tires are flat
- Batteries on power wheelchairs display leaks or low charge
Other considerations regarding wheelchairs and scooters
If you use a manual wheelchair, and the combined weight of you and your wheelchair exceed 350 pounds, please travel with an attendant unless you’re certain you can manage rough terrain or steep slopes without assistance. For everyone’s safety, WTA drivers are not allowed to assist you under these conditions.
Bus lifts can accommodate wheelchairs up to 30” wide, 48” long and up to 600 pounds when occupied. If you and your wheelchair exceed these dimensions and weight please let us know when booking your trip. We will do our best to serve you but we need to consider your case individually.
If you have more than one step at your residence or destination, you will need to arrange for someone to assist you up and down the steps. WTA drivers are only allowed to assist you up or down one step by themselves. If this is an ongoing need, please consider installing a ramp.
Power scooters are allowed on buses, but you are strongly encouraged to transfer into a seat while riding in the vehicle. Drivers can secure your scooter and assist you to a seat.
Special Health Conditions
Paratransit is a shared ride service. We do not promise trips directly to your destination, so it’s important to be prepared.
- If you are diabetic, bring along a snack in case you have a long wait or travel time.
- If you travel with oxygen, be sure your supply will last until you return home.
- If your wheelchair, mobility, or life support equipment is battery-powered, make sure it has a sufficient charge to last through your traveling day.
- If you are sensitive to weather conditions, bring several layers of clothing.
- We can transport riders with portable medical equipment, such as oxygen, respirators, etc. However, if the equipment is unwieldy in size or dimension, and you can’t carry or operate it by yourself, someone will need to accompany you. Drivers cannot safely assist you and carry equipment at the same time. They cannot administer oxygen or operate other life support equipment. You or your attendant must hold your equipment securely, or we must be able to secure it on the vehicle.
- If you are very frail and can’t withstand long trips and wait times on public transportation, Paratransit service may not be appropriate for you. Consider taking a taxi or arranging for family, a friend, neighbor, or volunteer to drive you.
Use of Taxi Services
When schedules are tight, your ride may be provided by a local taxi company, hired by WTA. The taxi driver will know your name and your destination. The fare is the same as on paratransit, $1 per ride. You can also use your bus pass for the taxi ride. Do not tip the taxi driver; they are providing a ride booked through WTA.
Only WTA dispatchers send taxis for Paratransit trips. If you request a ride through a taxi company directly, you will pay the regular taxi fare.
We do not accept trip requests specifically for taxis. Taxis are only used when we don’t have enough drivers or buses for your trip.
Taxi companies providing this service are required to handle riders’ special needs. You can expect the same level of service and quality from the taxi driver as you would from a WTA driver. Please call us at (360) 733-1144 if you experience unsatisfactory service.
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.