ADA PARATRANSIT SERVICES

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1 ADA PARATRANSIT SERVICES A GUIDE FOR RIDERS Prepared by Mountain Line Operations, April 2016

2 Disclaimer The information in this booklet is subject to change. Please consult Mountain Line Paratransit scheduling staff for the most current information. Electronic copies of this document can be found online at:

3 Notice This Mountain Line Paratransit Rider s Guide outlines operational policies and procedures approved by the Missoula Urban Transportation District board of directors and Missoula s Special Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC). These policies and procedures comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit service guidelines.

4 Table of Contents Introduction... 1 What is Paratransit Service?... 1 Paratransit Hours of Service... 2 Why Read this Guide?... 3 Eligibility for Using Paratransit... 4 Criteria... 4 Eligibility Categories... 4 How to Become Eligible... 4 Eligibility Questionnaire... 5 Professional Verification Statement... 5 Submitting Your Paratransit Service Application... 7 Eligibility Determination... 8 Full vs. Conditional Eligibility... 8 Temporary Eligibility... 9 A Note to Out-of-Town Visitors... 9 If You Are Denied Eligibility... 9 What Happens After a Rider Becomes Eligible... 9 Keeping Your Contact Information Up-to-Date Recertification A Note to Healthcare & Service Providers Service Limitations Timing Constraints An Important Notice about Emergencies How to Schedule Paratransit Service... 16

5 Scheduling a Trip Standing Orders What to Expect Pickup Windows Vehicle Arrival Trip Length Assigned Vehicles and Operators Curb-to-Curb vs. Premium Service What to Do if Your Plans Change How to Change a Scheduled Trip How to Cancel a Scheduled Trip If You Fail to Show Up for Your Ride Riding Paratransit Driver Uniforms and Identification Vehicles Ride Sharing Door-to-Door Rules Assisted Boarding Riding with Packages Riding with other Individuals Personal Care Attendants Companions Children Lost and Found Timing Problems... 28

6 What if I Am Late for My Scheduled Ride? What if Mountain Line is Late Picking Me Up? What if the Driver Arrives Early? Ensuring a Safe Ride for All Driver Duties Vehicle Restraints Wheelchair Size Mobility Device Condition Life-Support Equipment Motion Sickness and Incontinence Caregiver Responsibility In Case of Injury Paratransit Policies Disciplinary Policy Behaviors that May Result in a Penalty Disciplinary Process No-Show Policy No-Show Records Appeals Other Mountain Line Policies Animals on Board Service Animals Pets Packages Policy Eating, Drinking and Smoking... 43

7 Strong Scents Customer Comment Procedure Appendix A: Other Services Mountain Line s Fixed-Route Advantage Other Transportation Providers Montana Medicab Yellow Cab The Green Taxi Appendix B: Glossary of Terms Appendix C: Title VI Appendix D: Rider & Driver Responsibilities Rider Responsibilities Driver Responsibilities Appendix E: Code of Conduct Appendix F: Tips for Riding Paratransit Appendix G: Paratransit Service Area... 66

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9 Introduction Welcome to Mountain Line! This Paratransit Rider s Guide provides vital information about using Mountain Line s ADA Paratransit curb-tocurb service. This service provides a public transit safety net to people who have disabilities that prevent them from using our lift-assisted fixed route vehicles. The purpose of Mountain Line s ADA Paratransit service is to give people with disabilities equal access to public transportation. This guide is for riders and their caregivers to ensure they understand the process for negotiating ride reservations as well as the policies controlling this valuable and costly service. What is Paratransit Service? Paratransit service is public transit service provided to people who have disabilities who are not able to use conventional ramp-equipped public buses and vans. According to federal law, all public transit operators are required to complement fixed-route public transit with other appropriate transit service for these individuals. This regulation arose from the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 1

10 Paratransit services must: operate at similar times and in similar areas as fixed-route public transportation. be provided to eligible riders who live within three-quarters of a mile on either side of existing public non-commute, fixed-route transit. be governed by specific eligibility criteria for paratransit riders. treat all transportation needs equally (e.g., offer transportation to medical services with the same priority as any other type of destination). Mountain Line Paratransit service currently is a Zero-Fare service. No payment is required. Paratransit Hours of Service Monday through Friday 6:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Line does not operate on Sundays or federally observed holidays. Paratransit rides are guaranteed when rides are booked 24 hours in advance. 2

11 Why Read this Guide? Mountain Line works to operate its Paratransit service as efficiently as possible, especially since operating the Paratransit service is costly. When eligible riders and their caregivers use the information contained in this Paratransit Rider s Guide, Mountain Line is more able to provide each rider with quality service and make the best use of available funds. Also, knowing the information contained in this guide helps you to do your part ensuring that Mountain Line s Paratransit service is safe, convenient, efficient and accessible to all passengers. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following information, please contact the Mountain Line office staff at (406) or the Paratransit scheduler at (406)

12 Eligibility for Using Paratransit Criteria To be eligible for Paratransit service, riders must: Complete and submit a Paratransit Service Application. Receive eligibility status from Mountain Line. Eligibility Categories In order to become eligible you must qualify under one or more of the following ADA eligibility criteria: You are unable to independently board, ride, or exit an accessible Mountain Line fixedroute bus because of your disability. You are able to independently board, ride, and exit an accessible bus, but a lift cannot be deployed at your stop. (Please note: All Mountain Line buses are lift or ramp equipped.) You are unable to travel to or from a bus stop because of your disability. How to Become Eligible To become eligible for Paratransit service, riders must complete the two-part Mountain Line Paratransit Application. The two parts comprise an Eligibility Questionnaire and a Professional 4

13 Verification Statement, to be completed by a licensed healthcare provider. Both documents collect information about what limitations you have that prevent you from using lift-equipped buses and vans on Mountain Line s fixed routes. Eligibility Questionnaire 1. Obtain the two-part Paratransit Service Application online, at or by calling Mountain Line Paratransit at (406) Complete the Eligibility Questionnaire. Incomplete applications may delay the process. 3. Sign the Authorization for the Release of Information, which is located at the beginning of the Professional Verification Statement (Part 2 of the application). 4. Give the Authorization for the Release of Information and the Professional Verification Statement to your licensed healthcare provider to complete. Professional Verification Statement To become eligible for Paratransit, riders must obtain and submit a completed Professional Verification statement. 5

14 1. Ask your health care provider to complete the Professional Verification Statement and return the completed statement to you. 2. Your health care provider must describe the condition that prevents you from independently using Mountain Line s liftassisted fixed-route vehicles. List of Licensed Healthcare Professionals* Physician or Psychiatrist Physical Therapist Physician Assistant Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)(LCPC) Occupational Therapist Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner Psychologist Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Speech/Language Pathologist *Mountain Line recognizes that many different types of licensed healthcare professionals work with clients who are disabled. The preceding list provides examples, but may not include the licensed professional who serves you. Generally, Mountain Line requires individuals who complete the Professional Verification to have completed a 6

15 multi-year degree program and/or be licensed by the State of Montana. A primary care physician is often able to adequately complete this form. Potential riders do not need to visit a specialist. Submitting Your Paratransit Service Application When both the Eligibility Questionnaire and Professional Verification Statement are complete, return your entire Paratransit Service Application to: Mountain Line Paratransit Service 1221 Shakespeare Missoula, MT

16 Eligibility Determination Mountain Line will review the application to determine your eligibility status. This review may take up to 21 days from the date the application is received (though in most cases the review will be much faster). Mountain Line may contact your health care provider as part of determining your eligibility for Paratransit Service. Mountain Line will notify applicants by mail regarding their eligibility determination. The letter will inform eligible applicants of any conditions of eligibility. Full vs. Conditional Eligibility Passengers may be considered unconditionally or conditionally eligible. Unconditionally eligible riders are those riders whose inability to ride the bus is not based upon conditions that change. Conversely, conditionally eligible passengers include passengers who are eligible for Paratransit only when certain conditions exist (e.g., seasonal weather, darkness, geographical or architectural barriers, and distance). Conditionally eligible passengers may only use Paratransit service whenever conditions stipulated in their eligibility exist. 8

17 Temporary Eligibility Riders may be determined to have temporary eligibility based upon a condition that is expected to be short-term, but prevents them from riding the fixed-route service. A Note to Out-of-Town Visitors ADA-eligible visitors to Missoula who are residing within the Mountain Line Paratransit service area may use Mountain Line Paratransit for any combination of 21 days of service during any 365- day period beginning with the visitor s first use of the service. If You Are Denied Eligibility When Mountain Line determines that an applicant is not eligible for Paratransit service, the applicant will receive a letter of explanation about the reason for the denial of service and information about how to appeal the eligibility decision. (See Appeals, Page 39). What Happens After a Rider Becomes Eligible Once determined as eligible, riders are certified to ride Paratransit anywhere in the United States for up to two years before recertification is required. We suggest eligible riders contact the transit agency in other cities before travel to get 9

18 information about scheduling trips, fares, operating times, and schedules. Keeping Your Contact Information Up-to-Date Mountain Line Paratransit must maintain current contact information for all Paratransit passengers. Paratransit riders or their personal care providers must call Mountain Line at (406) if there is a change in any of the following: Rider address or telephone number (including cell phone). Rider emergency contact's name and telephone number. Mobility device required by rider. Rider physical or mental condition. Rider need for a personal care attendant. Recertification Riders must recertify their eligibility for the Paratransit service every two years. 10

19 A Note to Healthcare & Service Providers A Note to Healthcare & Service Providers Healthcare providers, nursing home staff, rehab providers and personal care assistants should be familiar with this Paratransit Rider s Guide and Paratransit policies before submitting applications for Paratransit service on behalf of their clients. 11

20 Service Limitations Paratransit is only available for approved riders who need transportation within ¾ of a mile of an active fixed bus route. Eligibility does not ensure that Mountain Line can provide Paratransit service in every situation. Other situations that will limit service are indicated below: Pickup or drop-off locations outside the Paratransit service area cannot be scheduled. A map of the Mountain Line Senior Van service area is available in Appendix G of this guide. Information also is available at (406) Information also is available at (406) Certain conditions at pickup and drop-off locations may make curb-to-curb Paratransit service impossible due to safety concerns. Dangerous parking, an unsafe loading area, low-hanging branches or an area that requires the Paratransit vehicle to back up are examples of unsafe conditions for the Paratransit vehicle. In such cases, riders must choose a safe alternative location for pickup or drop-off. Mountain Line Paratransit operators are 12

21 13 permitted to help passengers board or disembark, but for the safety and security of others, they may not walk beyond their line of sight of the van or travel more than 50 feet from their vehicle when other passengers are on board. Boarding and disembarking help is limited to the outermost threshold of a building, including lobbies, entryways, and exterior staircases. Drivers are not permitted to assist passengers beyond these points. For riders who need assistance beyond these limitations, Mountain Line recommends riders travel with a personal care attendant. Paratransit operators are trained to work with people with disabilities, but they are not caregivers. The operator s primary responsibility is to safely transport riders to their destination. Timing Constraints Flexibility is essential for Paratransit riders. With shared ride services, Paratransit passengers may be required to wait for pickup or arrive early at their destination. Individuals who need a direct trip to or from their destination must seek other transportation options.

22 Paratransit trips often include several stops so each passenger can be accommodated using the most efficient route possible. Mountain Line cannot prioritize any Paratransit service for any rider, regardless of the purpose of the trip or a rider s particular needs. Trips are scheduled to allow for the maximum number of individuals to ride. No one trip will be given priority over another. Paratransit services must be prescheduled and are offered solely on a first-call, firstserved basis. 14

23 An Important Notice about Emergencies An Important Notice about Emergencies Paratransit does not provide emergency medical transportation and cannot be scheduled for this purpose. Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing a medical emergency. In the event of a medical or health emergency onboard the Paratransit, the driver will pull over, call the Mountain Line dispatcher (who will in turn call 911 and your emergency contact), and wait for a medical professional to arrive. 15

24 How to Schedule Paratransit Service Scheduling a Trip Paratransit rides must be scheduled in advance. Mountain Line accepts trip reservations not less than 24 hours and no more than 30 days before the time of the trip. Early booking helps the Paratransit scheduling department, as it provides more time to put together a quality schedule. Early booking also increases the likelihood of having your trip timing preferences met. To schedule your trip call: Mountain Line Paratransit (406) :30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday Friday You must have all of the following information on hand before you call: Your name. A telephone number where you may be reached. Day of the week and date of your trip. Your preferred pickup time. Your pickup address. 16

25 Your destination address and any scheduled appointments at that location. Your return time and return address. Whether you use a cane, walker, or other mobility device. Whether you will need assistance with boarding and disembarking or carrying packages. Whether you will be accompanied by a personal care attendant or a companion and whether that person has any special needs (e.g. mobility devices, service animals, pets in a carrier). Please tell us if you will be travelling with a child. Remember, Paratransit is scheduled on a first-call, first-served basis and the exact pickup time you want may not be available. Your scheduler will work with you to get the best reservation time possible. Please remember, too, Paratransit is a shared-ride service and flexibility is required to use it. Standing Orders If you travel to the same place on a regular basis and schedule (work, school, etc.), you can request a "standing order" for Paratransit service. 17

26 If Mountain Line cannot accommodate your standing order, you may be placed on a waiting list. While you are on the waiting list, you can make individual reservations for each day's trips in the normal fashion. Once a standing order has been set up, Mountain Line will continue to pick you up without the need for you to make an individual reservation for each trip. If you have a standing ride scheduled and you will not be able to take your ride, you must call and cancel. Missing your ride will result in the ride being categorized as a no-show. If you accumulate five (5) no-shows within a rolling 30-day period you will be subject to suspension from the service under Mountain Line s no show policy, and you will not be allowed to schedule standing rides for a period of at least two (2) months. Reinstatement of standing rides is at the discretion of Mountain Line and will require a review of your standing with regard to Mountain Line s no show policy. Please note that ADA policy requires that no more than ½ of all simultaneously scheduled rides can be reserved as standing orders. 18

27 Call the customer services center to request a standing order at (406) What to Expect Pickup Windows After you request a ride, the scheduler will provide you with 30-minute time range in which to expect your pickup. This time range is called your pickup window. You must be ready to board the vehicle at any point within your pickup window. Vehicle Arrival When the Paratransit vehicle arrives during your scheduled window, the driver is not permitted to wait for more than five minutes for you to board. If you are not curbside when the bus arrives, the driver will call your phone number to announce the Paratransit vehicle s arrival. If you miss your trip, Mountain Line will not likely be able to provide you with alternate transportation. Trip Length Travel time on Paratransit varies according to the number of rides being accommodated at any given time. Rides are scheduled to ensure transit time is comparable to a trip on a regular fixed-route bus (including travel to and from the bus stop from 19

28 your origin and destination, as well as any transfers needed to complete a similar trip). Riders who are concerned about their travel time should speak with Paratransit schedulers. Sometimes, much less time is required to complete a Paratransit trip. In rare circumstances, trip times may be longer due to situations beyond Mountain Line s control (e.g., traffic conditions, road construction, weather, vehicle breakdown, etc.). Assigned Vehicles and Operators Paratransit schedulers cannot schedule pickups in a certain vehicle or by a certain driver. Riders must ride in the vehicle dispatched with the vehicle operator assigned by Mountain Line. Riders who have concerns or complaints about the condition of a vehicle or the vehicle operator s performance, should report their concerns or complaints to a Mountain Line supervisor promptly by calling (406) Curb-to-Curb vs. Premium Service The Mountain Line Paratransit is primarily a curbto-curb service. Drivers pick up and drop off passengers curbside. You may schedule premium service that allows your driver to escort you both from the vehicle to the front door of your 20

29 destination and from the front door of your pickup point to the vehicle. Both services include boarding the vehicle and securing any mobility device you may be using. What to Do if Your Plans Change As a popular first-call, first-served reservation service, Paratransit depends on advanced scheduling to help our community stay mobile and independent. How to Change a Scheduled Trip If you have to change a scheduled trip, call the reservation line at (406) at least one day before your scheduled pickup. You must provide the following information: 21 Time and date of scheduled pickup. New destination address, if applicable. New telephone number, if applicable. Status of any other scheduled trips for that day. New time of scheduled pickup, if applicable. If you request a change on the same day your pickup is scheduled, Mountain Line will make a good faith effort to accommodate you, but cannot

30 guarantee it. When you change a destination or time, your pickup or drop-off time may change. How to Cancel a Scheduled Trip You must cancel a reservation as soon as possible and no later than 4:30 p.m. the day before your scheduled trip. When you call to cancel a trip, you must provide the following information: Name of passenger. Time and date of scheduled pickup. Time of your scheduled return trip and whether it is to be canceled as well. Exact destination address. Whether another trip scheduled for that day is also being cancelled. For your convenience, a 24-hour voic is available for cancellations at (406) If you fail to cancel, you may: Prevent other passengers from using the service. Contribute to higher operations costs and system. Waste limited Paratransit resources and 22

31 create unused capacity. If You Fail to Show Up for Your Ride Failing to show up for your reserved trip can lead to your suspension of Paratransit service (For more information, please see No Show Policy, page 33). Please remember that Paratransit service is a vital community resource, and there is limited public funding to support it. Missed trips and late notices of cancelled rides are a major contributor to service costs and system inefficiency, resulting in waste and unused capacity. The earlier you cancel a trip reservation, the greater the chance another passenger will be able to use the time. If for any reason you cannot make a scheduled ride, always let us know as soon as you know and as far in advance as possible. 23

32 Riding Paratransit Driver Uniforms and Identification Mountain Line Paratransit drivers wear uniforms bearing the Mountain Line logo on the shirt, jacket, and cap. Drivers also wear badges with their picture displayed prominently on the front. Drivers will greet each passenger, give their name and confirm the passenger s name and destination for each scheduled pickup. Vehicles All vehicles, ramps and lifts purchased for Paratransit service will meet or exceed accessibility standards as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of All Mountain Line vehicles are kept in a safe and well-maintained condition. Ride Sharing Mountain Line Paratransit service is a shared-ride system. Other passengers may be on board during transport to your destination. Your scheduled pickup times or route of travel may be altered so another passenger can be accommodated. The Paratransit vehicle may stop and pick up other 24

33 riders as it proceeds to your destination. Shared rides lower the cost of Paratransit service by increasing system productivity. Mountain Line schedulers may ask you to accept trip reservation times that are different from your original requested pickup time. Your reservation time will be the available time closest to the time you requested. We ask that you be flexible. Door-to-Door Rules Paratransit drivers must consider the front door of any building to be the outermost door, including the base of any stairs that serve that door. If you are to be picked up at an assisted living facility or a hospital, the driver will meet you at the base of the stairs (if any) of the official front entrance of that facility. The following rules apply: 25 Drivers are not permitted to assist clients up or down flights of stairs at their pickup or drop-off location, nor are drivers permitted to assist riders with elevators. Drivers may not enter interior areas within living accommodations or facilities to search for riders.

34 Riders who require assistance in these areas must obtain help from a personal care attendant or another qualified individual. Remember, Paratransit drivers are not permitted to leave the line of sight of their vehicle when other passengers are onboard. The driver may be unable to assist you to or from doorways if such assistance: Requires the driver to lose line of sight to their vehicle. Requires travel more than 50 feet from their vehicle. Prevents the driver from easily and quickly returning to the vehicle in case of an emergency. When providing door-to-door service the van must be easily accessible to the driver at all times in case of an emergency. Assisted Boarding Ambulatory passengers who have difficulty navigating stairs may request to board the vehicle on the wheelchair lift or ramp. 26

35 Riding with Packages Riders may bring packages aboard according to the Packages Policy. (Please see Packages Policy, page 40). You will not be allowed to board if your packages do not conform to this policy. Drivers are permitted to assist riders with packages. Riding with other Individuals Each Paratransit rider is allowed up to one traveling companion and one personal care attendant as long as these individuals travel to and from the same location as the rider. Personal Care Attendants Riders may bring a personal care attendant on rides. You must alert the scheduler if you will be traveling with a personal care attendant. Companions Paratransit passengers may bring one additional rider along. This additional passenger does not need to be eligible for the Paratransit service and is considered a companion. Children Be sure to alert your scheduler at the time of booking if you will be traveling with a child. All rules applying to adult riders also apply to 27

36 children. Children 8 and under are required by law to use a child safety seat, a booster seat, or other safety restraint system (unless over a height of 4 9 ). An adult is responsible for providing such safety equipment and for securing it, and the child, in the Paratransit vehicle. Mountain Line is not responsible for the safety of the child safety seat or booster, nor for properly installing it in the Paratransit vehicle. Lost and Found Passengers are responsible, and Mountain Line accepts no responsibility, for personal items left on a vehicle. Passengers may call Mountain Line Lost and Found at (406) to find out about any personal items they may have left on the vehicle. If recovered, Mountain Line will hold personal items for 30 days prior to disposal. Timing Problems What if I Am Late for My Scheduled Ride? If you are running late, please call Mountain Line as soon as possible. We will try to schedule a later same-day trip to accommodate you. 28

37 What if Mountain Line is Late Picking Me Up? Many factors affect the on-time performance of Mountain Line vehicles. These include traffic and weather conditions. If the Paratransit driver will be late for your scheduled pickup window by 15 minutes or more, Mountain Line staff will make every effort to notify you. What if the Driver Arrives Early? Sometimes your vehicle will arrive before the beginning of your pickup window because of a cancellation or light traffic. If your vehicle arrives before the pickup window, you may wait to get on the vehicle until the start of your confirmed pickup window or you may get into the vehicle and leave right away. Ensuring a Safe Ride for All Driver Duties Riders must take care not to distract Paratransit drivers. Even talking with the driver while in transit may be distracting; consequently, we ask for your understanding if your driver asks you to refrain from engaging in conversation while in 29

38 motion. Disruptive behavior such as screaming, yelling, banging on any surface of the vehicle and loud cellphone conversations are not acceptable on board any Mountain Line vehicle. Any rider behavior that prevents drivers from operating the vehicle safely may be grounds for removal from the service. Vehicle Restraints Each Mountain Line vehicle is fitted with seat belts for every passenger seat and securements for each wheelchair position. Ambulatory passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Customers who use wheelchairs must have their chair safety lap belts secured. All wheelchairs must be secured to the floor of the Paratransit at all times via a four-point tie-down system or a similar device. For the safety of other passengers, if you don t allow your device to be properly secured prior to transport, we may refuse to serve you. If for some reason a seat or safety lap belt is not available due to equipment failure and all other equipment on board is already in use, passengers may decline their scheduled trip and Mountain Line will dispatch a properly equipped vehicle as 30

39 soon as possible. Riders who use a three- or four-wheeled mobility device (e.g., a scooter) may transfer to a regular seat for their own protection. These mobility devices typically are not constructed to withstand the rigors of being used as a seat in a passenger vehicle (especially in the case of an accident). Passengers must follow other safety instructions given by the driver or as required by law. Wheelchair Size When purchasing a new wheelchair or scooter, riders should consider whether it will fit on Mountain Line Paratransit vehicles. Mountain Line recommends that the size of your chair does not exceed: 48 inches long. 30 inches wide. 600 lbs. (including occupant). If you use a wheelchair that is larger than the above recommended size, Mountain Line considers it oversized. If you will be using an oversized chair, there is a chance that the vehicle dispatched to pick you up may not be able to transport you. 31

40 If your wheelchair or scooter is power-driven, the driver is not permitted to assist you in its operation. You must maneuver your powered mobility device safely on and off the vehicle, including using the lift or ramp. Mobility Device Condition For your safety, please be sure that your wheelchair or other mobility device is properly maintained in accordance with manufacturers specifications. We may refuse to transport any mobility device that is not properly maintained and could pose a hazard of any type to riders, the driver, or to our equipment. Life-Support Equipment You may bring your respirator, portable oxygen, or other life-support equipment on the vehicle as long as it does not violate laws or rules related to transportation of hazardous materials. Your equipment must be small enough to fit into the Paratransit vehicle and be managed by you or your personal care attendant. Motion Sickness and Incontinence At Mountain Line, we realize motion sickness or temporary incontinence can happen to anyone. Should it happen to you on board the vehicle, 32

41 please discretely notify the driver of the situation so the driver can make arrangements to get you home quickly and return the vehicle to a clean state. Mountain Line vehicles are not permitted to make stops along scheduled routes of travel to allow riders to use a restroom. Riders must attend to toileting needs prior to departure to ensure they will be able to travel uninterrupted without incident. Caregiver Responsibility Paratransit riders may be cognitively impaired or have a memory problem that prevents them from being safely left alone at either the pickup or the drop-off point. It is the responsibility of the rider s caregiver or family to clearly identify to Mountain Line such riders. Drivers are not permitted to serve as an attendant for these riders. Mountain Line recommends that a personal care attendant travel with these passengers. Cognitively impaired riders may travel without an attendant only as long as they exhibit safe behavior while on board the vehicle and are able to be left alone at their destination. If 33

42 Mountain Line encounters absences of an attendant or caregiver, service to the rider may be suspended and the situation may be reported to Adult Protective Services. In Case of Injury Safety is of primary importance to Mountain Line. If you believe you have been injured on a Mountain Line vehicle, please report your injury to your driver or to a Mountain Line supervisor as soon as possible (preferably immediately or within 24 hours). 34

43 Paratransit Policies Disciplinary Policy Mountain Line reserves the right to keep drivers, passengers and vehicles safe. Mountain Line may issue a penalty to a rider for any proven incident of the behaviors listed below. The penalty, to be determined by Mountain Line, may range from a warning letter to permanent suspension from the Mountain Line Paratransit program. Behaviors that May Result in a Penalty Disruptive behavior is any behavior that inhibits a driver s ability to operate the vehicle safely. Dangerous (unsafe) behavior is defined as any threat or action that could cause direct or indirect physical harm to the driver, vehicle or other passenger(s). Physical abuse is defined as any action that may cause direct or indirect physical harm to a passenger, driver, or Mountain Line staff. Verbal abuse is defined as any oral presentation that is offensive to a passenger, driver, or Mountain Line staff. 35

44 Disciplinary Process Our disciplinary process progresses from warning to suspension. Typically, a rider is first warned by a telephone call from Mountain Line. If the offending behavior or action continues, the rider will receive a written warning with an explanation of the violation. Finally, if the behavior continues unchanged, Mountain Line will notify the rider of a pending suspension. Any step in this process may be bypassed should the behavior warrant doing so. For instance, suspensions can be immediate when the behavior is illegal or potentially compromises the safety of our driver, other riders, or our equipment. No-Show Policy Paratransit riders must cancel any unneeded trips by 4:30 p.m. the day before the trip is scheduled to occur. Both pickup and return trips and must be cancelled. Mountain Line assumes return trips are needed unless notified otherwise. If your pickup trip is a no-show, Mountain Line will not automatically cancel your return trip for you. It s possible to have two no-shows recorded if you miss both the pickup and return trips. 36

45 No-shows increase Mountain Line s operational costs, waste taxpayers funds, and cause an inconvenience to Paratransit passengers, either making them late or preventing them to ride at all. Please remember that the earlier you cancel a trip reservation, the greater the chance another passenger will be able to use the time. No-Show Records Mountain Line works to identify any passengers who accumulate or develop a pattern of no-shows. Paratransit schedulers will record as a no-show any cancellation made after 4:30 p.m. the day before a scheduled pickup. Operators are required to wait a maximum of five minutes for riders. Operators must radio Mountain Line s Paratransit scheduler promptly to report any no-show passengers. The senior scheduler will record each no-show in the passenger s file. You will be considered a no show if: 1. You are not ready or available to take your scheduled trip. 2. You cancel a trip on the day it was scheduled, or after 4:30 p.m. on the business day prior to the scheduled trip(s). 37

46 3. You do not come to the curb (or door as arranged) within five minutes of the scheduled time. 4. You delay the bus s departure when you cannot be left unattended and no one is at the drop-off location to receive you. 5. If you arrive to take the ride just as the driver is leaving curbside. In such instances, you may be transported if the operator determines it is timely and safe to do so. However you will be charged with a no-show for creating delays. The consequences for no-shows are as follows: Number of No-shows Recording Period Consequence 3 30 Days Warning Letter 5 30 Days 10-day Suspension of Service 6 or More 30 Days 30-day Suspension of Service 38

47 The passenger or the passenger s personal representative will be notified in writing of violations resulting in service privilege suspensions and the passenger s right to appeal. Passengers will be given a 10-day notice in writing of any pending suspension of privileges. Appeals If you are determined to be ineligible for Paratransit service, or you are a client of Mountain Line Paratransit with existing service who has been suspended, you have access to an appeals process. Upon request, suspension of service privileges may be postponed pending completion of the appeals process. All requests for an appeal must be received in writing by Mountain Line Paratransit within 10 days of issuance of the notification of penalty or service suspension, or within 60 days of determination of conditional eligibility or denial of eligibility. Your written appeal must include: 39 Date of appeal. Name. Address.

48 Contact number. The reason for your suspension or denial of service. Why you are appealing that decision. Date of suspension or denial. Signature. Written appeals should be addressed to: Mountain Line Attn: Paratransit Eligibility 1221 Shakespeare, Missoula, MT If you are an existing client of Mountain Line Paratransit who has been suspended for violation of the no-show policy and you choose to appeal, your eligibility will continue until your appeal is heard by a review panel and a determination is reached to uphold or overturn the suspension. A copy of the appeals process can be obtained by contacting Mountain Line. 40

49 Other Mountain Line Policies Animals on Board Service Animals The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animal as an animal that is individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, such as guiding people who are blind or who have low vision, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting for a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals and not pets. The work or task assigned to a service animal must be directly related to the person s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Be prepared to state that your service animal is required because of a disability and what task the animal has been trained to perform. When scheduling a trip with Mountain Line Paratransit, please advise the scheduler that a service animal will be riding. Service animals are not required to have special ID cards or harnesses 41

50 but must be under the control of their owner at all times while in the vehicle. Service animals must be housebroken and must be restrained while riding Mountain Line vehicles. If an animal shows signs of aggression or disruptive behavior, i.e., growling, snarling, or biting it will be removed. In the interest of safety for you and your service animal, Mountain Line asks that if you need to board the vehicle using the lift that your animal be boarded via the passenger door. This is to prevent their tails, paws, head, or equipment from catching in the lift mechanism and to ensure ample room for you to ride up the lift. Pets Pets can be transported in a carrier provided that the carrier fits on your lap or under your seat and the animal and carrier together are less than 20 pounds. Service animals are excluded from this policy (see Service Animals above). Pets must remain in the carrier for the entirety of the trip. Pets are to refrain from barking, showing signs of aggression, or going to the bathroom on board the vehicle. Packages Policy Passengers are advised to limit their carry-on bags 42

51 or packages to what can be carried onto the bus in one trip, with each package no heavier than 20 pounds. One small personal shopping cart is allowed. Packages or parcels may not obstruct aisles or prevent seats from being used. This policy is for your own safety as well as the safety of other passengers. Passengers requiring greater assistance to manage their packages than our drivers can provide are encouraged to bring a personal care attendant and/or discuss their needs with a Mountain Line supervisor. Eating, Drinking and Smoking Mountain Line Code of Conduct requires that passengers refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking while on the vehicle. Exception: Passengers who have a medical condition which requires the intake of food or drink (i.e. diabetes) may eat or drink on board the vehicle if doing so is required to help prevent the onset of a serious medical condition. Inhalation of medical cannabis on board the bus is prohibited by federal law. 43

52 Strong Scents Passengers are requested to refrain from wearing strongly scented personal care products while on board. This helps to ensure that vans are accessible for passengers with chemical sensitivity or environmental illness. 44

53 Customer Comment Procedure Your feedback is appreciated. Comments or complaints may be made directly to Mountain Line by: Phone: (406) U.S. Mail: Mountain Line Paratransit 1221 Shakespeare Missoula, MT

54 Appendix A: Other Services All of Mountain Line s large fixed-route buses accommodate seniors and passengers with disabilities. Mountain Line s entire fleet is 100 percent accessible and complies with ADA accessibility standards. Mountain Line vehicles are equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps or lifts and offer priority seating for seniors and persons with disabilities. Mountain Line operators are trained to provide necessary but limited assistance to persons traveling in mobility devices. Drivers on fixed routes announce major stops, intersections and destination information to assist passenger orientation, and all buses are equipped with a kneeler system to lower the bus for easier entry and exit. Yellow safety lines and tactile warning strips are also provided in an effort to allow many seniors and persons with disabilities to use the regular fixed route bus service. Mountain Line s Fixed-Route Advantage The cost to provide the Missoula community with curb-to curb service is significantly higher than the fixed-route service. We encourage all passengers to consider fixed-route service. Below are some 46

55 advantages of using fixed-route service over ADA Paratransit and Senior Van, which allow many seniors and persons with disabilities greater freedom. Reservations and negotiating trip times not required. You can travel when you want to. Fixed route buses provide access to all major shopping and medical facilities, many via high-frequency 15-minute service. All buses have ramps or lifts similar to the smaller Paratransit vehicles, which provide easy access for wheelchairs, walkers etc. Each fixed-route bus has designated areas for seniors and persons with disabilities. Each bus is equipped with kneeling systems, voice announcement, tactile signal strips, and non-slip flooring. Operators are trained to secure your mobility device and provide a comparable level of service to what you would receive on curb-to-curb Paratransit. 47

56 Other Transportation Providers Montana Medicab (406) Yellow Cab The Green Taxi (406)

57 Appendix B: Glossary of Terms 49 Accessible a bus that is equipped with a lift or ramp to allow passengers with a disability (with or without a mobility device) to board and de-board with minimal effort. All Mountain Line buses are accessible and equipped with securement devices for wheelchairs. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted in 1990 this law requires that all transit systems allow persons with disabilities equal access to fixed-route buses and requires that Paratransit service be available only for persons with disabilities who have been determined eligible and who are unable to use fixed-route buses. Appeal process which allows a Paratransit applicant to challenge their eligibility determination or a Paratransit passenger to challenge a suspension for violating Mountain Line policy. Chronic Abuse a repeated, continuing pattern of abuse of Mountain Line s Paratransit policies and procedures. Client- Mountain Line Paratransit passenger Cognitive Ability ability to process

58 information and make rational decisions. Companion person accompanying a Paratransit passenger. Denied declined, not approved, ineligible. Disability professionally diagnosed condition which limits ability of an individual. Drop-Off Time time scheduled for Paratransit passenger to arrive at their destination. This time varies with circumstances. Passengers are encouraged to allow for drop-off time delays by allowing extra time when requesting their trips. Environment Conditions that impact the ability of individuals to function, such as steps, steep hills, incomplete sidewalks, etc. Fixed-Route Service buses that serve marked bus stop locations and operate on a specific time schedule traveling a set route each day without variation. Mobility Device a mechanical device used to assist a person with a disability to travel. Examples include walkers, wheelchairs and scooters. No Show term describing a missed trip. The no show may be caused by the failure 50

59 51 to cancel a scheduled trip by 4:30 p.m. the day before the trip, the person not being there to receive the ride, or the person not being ready at the appointed time. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) individuals that are in the employ of the passenger to provide assistance. Please give notice to Mountain Line that a PCA s assistance will be required when applying for Paratransit eligibility. PCA s should be used for assisting a disabled passenger from the curb to a destination or for carrying packages etc. Phone number on file the number the driver will call when they arrive at a location to pick you up. This will be the primary number on file. We will not call multiple numbers. Pickup Time estimated time a Paratransit bus will arrive to pick up a passenger for a scheduled trip. Pickup times can vary depending upon other scheduled trips. Paratransit passengers are requested to be ready at the start of their 30-minute window. Premium Service provides an enhanced ride service for passengers needing additional assistance.

60 Examples of Premium Service may include: door-to-door (as opposed to curb-to-curb) service or assistance with packages. When scheduling your trip, passengers must specify the need for Premium Service so that time can be scheduled to accommodate. Scheduled Trip Time trip times requested by Paratransit passengers are by advance appointment only, and scheduled by computer. Mountain Line drivers make every effort to maintain their schedules, however a variety of things outside their control can result in them being early or late for appointments. Paratransit passengers are encouraged to consider the possibility of delays when scheduling their appointments. Passenger patience is appreciated. Secured not mobile, fastened down, prevented from moving. Paratransit provides transportation for seniors who are not eligible for ADA Paratransit Service. This is also a reservation service which will be provided as available, during prescheduled days and time periods within Mountain Line service area. This service can be used by individuals who receive seasonal eligibility. For example, it is 52

61 possible to be eligible for ADA Paratransit in the winter and able to use regular bus service or the Paratransit service in the summer. Service Animal an animal that has been trained for a specific task to provide assistance to a person with a disability. Shared Ride Service like the regular fixed route bus system, Paratransit and Paratransit passengers share the bus with a variety of other passengers that are going to different destinations at different times. Passengers are boarded and de-boarded in an order determined most efficient by the driver or scheduler. Riders may have to ride to other destinations before reaching theirs. Suspension of Service a temporary or permanent interruption of Paratransit services caused by serious or chronic abuse of Mountain Lines policies and procedures. Time Window A 30-minute period of time in which your bus may arrive. You must be ready for transport at the beginning of this window. Trip one-way transport of a person to a single destination. 53

62 Voice Mail answering machine. Wheelchair mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled devices, usable indoors and outdoors, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments. May be operated manually or powered. Mountain Line may not be able to transport mobility devices wider than 30 inches or devices that weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied. 49 CFR

63 Appendix C: Title VI Mountain Line s Title VI Policy Statement Mountain Line grants all citizens equal access to its transportation services. Mountain Line is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its services on the basis of race, color or national origin as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended ( Title VI ). The public can request additional information on Mountain Line s nondiscrimination obligations or a copy of Mountain Line Title VI Policy Statement by contacting: EEO Officer Mountain line 1221 Shakespeare Missoula, MT (406)

64 Appendix D: Rider & Driver Responsibilities Rider Responsibilities Carefully read all Rider s Guide materials. Follow all rules and regulations set forth in this Rider s Guide. Make ride reservations at least one day in advance. Avoid no-shows and late or repeated cancellation of reservations. Be at the designated pickup location on time, and provide entry for the vehicle if you live in a gated community or have special access requirements. Board the vehicle promptly, remain seated once on board, wear your seatbelt, and keep arms, legs, and head inside the vehicle. If the vehicle has not arrived by the end of the scheduled pickup window, call Mountain Line. Call to cancel an unneeded ride as soon as possible to avoid a no-show. Wear seat belts at all times during transport Avoid distracting the driver or annoying other passengers with inappropriate behavior. Maintain wheelchairs or other mobility aids in safe operating condition according to 56

65 manufacturers specifications. Expect shared-ride service. Others may be picked up after you, and/or dropped off before you reach your destination. Maintain acceptable standards of personal hygiene; please refrain from using scented products as they can bother other chemically sensitive riders. Follow these common rules of courtesy: No eating, drinking, or smoking on board the vehicle. No riding under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. No littering in the vehicle. No radios, cassette tape players, compact disc players or other sound-generating equipment may be played aloud aboard the vehicle (headphones are acceptable). 57

66 Driver Responsibilities Mountain Line drivers must: Be courteous at all times. Call upon arrival. Get out of the vehicle, greet and assist you with boarding. Adhere to the same standards of common courtesy and personal hygiene as those required of riders. Be in proper uniform. Visibly display a proper ID badge. Carry only the riders assigned to them along with attendants and companions, who have reservations. Go only to the destinations listed on the manifest or as notified by their dispatcher. For safety reasons, maintain line-of-sight of vehicle at all times. Keep to the assigned service schedule for the convenience of all riders Provide reasonable assistance to riders entering or leaving the vehicle. Driver cannot use personal cellphones or other personal electronic devices, or play loud music while driving. 58

67 Operate the vehicle and lift in a safe manner and safely secure wheelchairs on the vehicle Assist passengers to and from the main door of their origin and destination when requested and only if safe to do so and within line of sight of the vehicle. Assistance includes, but is not limited, to: 1. Offering ambulatory passengers a steadying arm or other appropriate assistance when walking or using stairs 2. Helping persons in wheelchairs maneuver onto standard ramps to and from the main door of their origin and destination (if safe to do so and while remaining in the line-of-sight of their vehicle). 3. Carrying packages that comply with Mountain Line s policy for items on board the vehicle. Drivers Are Not Permitted to: 59 Lift or carry passengers. Enter the residence of a rider. Perform any personal care assistance for any rider, such as assisting with

68 dressing. Retrieve anything from a passenger s pockets, purses or bags. Wait for a passenger to make a stop to conduct business, such as at an ATM/cash machine, pharmacy, or video store. Assist a passenger beyond the exterior door of a public building or beyond the front door of a private residence. Accept tips or any other gratuities. Perform errands for riders such as picking up prescriptions or groceries. Take information from the rider about cancellations or changes in reservations. Secure child safety systems in the vehicle or children into such systems. 60

69 Appendix E: Code of Conduct For the comfort and safety of all passengers, the following conduct is expected of all passengers using Mountain Line services: Cooperate with requests from Mountain Line personnel. Be considerate. Respect the privacy of others. Refrain from behavior that intrudes on the welfare of others including, but not limited to: o Interfering with the safe operation of any Mountain Line vehicle. o Endangering or threatening the welfare of others. o Roughhousing. o Profanity or offensive language. o Screaming, shouting or playing loud music. o Placing your feet on seats or seat backs, or lying down on the seats. o Threatening, harassing or intimidating others. o Refusing to relinquish posted seating to the elderly or disabled. 61

70 o Smoking or eating in unauthorized areas. o Littering. o Spitting, urinating or defecating except in restroom facilities. o Drinking alcoholic beverages. o Possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage. o Drunk or disorderly conduct. o Loitering without intent to utilize Mountain Line services. o Indecent exposure. o Throwing any object at transit property or at any person on transit property. o Discharging a laser-emitting device on a transit vehicle, directing such a device from a transit vehicle toward any other moving vehicle or directing such a device toward any transit operator or passenger. o Bringing onto transit property odors and substances that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system, whether such odors or substances are from one s person, clothes, and articles, 62

71 accompanying animal or any other source. Anyone who fails to comply may be asked to leave the bus or facility as well as be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The code of conduct applies to all activities that occur in or on: Any Mountain Line vehicle, Transfer Centers, Park and Ride lots, bus stops, shelters, or other passenger facilities. You may appeal any of these rules by requesting appeal information at (406)

72 Appendix F: Tips for Riding Paratransit You may arrive at your destination early or be required to wait at your destination. For this reason many riders choose to bring books or some other form or entertainment to pass the time. Remember to take into consideration that weather in Missoula often varies throughout the day. Dressing appropriately and comfortably can make a big difference. If you suffer from an ailment that requires or may require medication, remember to bring it with you. Those requiring oxygen should ensure the tank is adequately filled before traveling. When scheduling your rides, it is important to estimate your return time as accurately as possible. Giving yourself some extra time can mean the difference between meeting your driver and missing your trip. If possible, do not schedule your rides to drop you at a location at the exact time when that location is scheduled to open. The Paratransit may drop you off up to an hour before your requested appointment, and if 64

73 the location is not yet open you may be forced to wait outside. Similarly, do not schedule your return ride at the exact time the location closes, as your pick-up time for your return can also be up to an hour later. You may have to wait outside for your vehicle to arrive. If your rides take you to more than one location before your return home, remember to give yourself enough time at each location to complete your tasks. You should also consider giving yourself some extra time as your ride times may change and this could affect the amount of time you have at any given location. If you have a problem with your ride, please bring it to the attention of a Mountain Line Supervisor or your driver. We are constantly trying to improve the system and your feedback is greatly appreciated. 65

74

75 Appendix G: Paratransit Service Area 66

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