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A Guide to Paratransit Services

General Information

WHAT IS DART PARATRANSIT SERVICE?
DART Paratransit Service is a curb-to-curb public transportation service for people with disabilities who are unable to use DART buses or trains. Paratransit is a shared-ride service operated with modern, accessible vehicles, and taxi cabs. Riders who are unable to access vans by using steps can use the wheelchair lifts or vehicle ramps. On the large accessible vans, boarding chairs are available upon request. DART also offers free travel training, along with travel ambassadors, to persons with disabilities who are capable of riding accessible bus and rail services.

WHAT IS THE PARATRANSIT SERVICE AREA?
Certified Paratransit riders are welcome to schedule trips to begin and end anywhere in the following cities:

• Addison • Garland • Rowlett
• Carrollton • Glenn Heights • Plano
• Cockrell Hill • Highland Park • University Park
• Dallas • Irving  
• Farmers Branch • Richardson  

Service is also provided to and from DFW International Airport.

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HOW DO I SCHEDULE A TRIP?
DART Paratransit Services offers two types of service: demand service and Subscription Service. Demand service is provided when a customer calls Paratransit Scheduling and makes a reservation for service. Subscription Service is a standing reservation for customers who make the same trip several times a week. (See WHAT IS SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE?)

Paratransit trips can be scheduled one of two ways: by talking with a live agent; or, by using Express Booking, an automated service that provides you with maximum scheduling flexibility. (See HOW DO I BOOK A TRIP WITH EXPRESS BOOKING?)

Either way, call Paratransit Scheduling at 214-515-PARA(7272) to schedule your trip.

HOW DO I BOOK A TRIP WITH A LIVE AGENT?
Live agents are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations can be made with an agent up to 2 days in advance Monday through Wednesday, and up to 4 days in advance on Thursday and Friday. However, reservations must be made at least the day before a scheduled trip before close of business hours or 5 p.m. DART Paratransit Services does NOT offer same day service.

To schedule a trip with a live agent, please call 214-515-PARA(7272) and be ready to provide the following information, in this order:
  • Your DART Paratransit identification card (Paratransit ID) number
  • The date you will be traveling
  • Your pick-up address (including building/business names, specific pick-up information, landmarks)
  • The time you would like to be picked up OR the time you need to reach your destination
  • The physical address of your destination (including specific drop-off information)
  • Telephone number at your destination
  • If a personal care attendant (PCA) will travel with you
  • If guests other than your PCA will travel with you (including children)
  • If you will be using a mobility device
When scheduling rides for specific times, be sure to allow plenty of time to finish your appointment in order to meet the vehicle at your scheduled pick-up time. Be aware of opening and closing times at your destination to avoid waiting outside the building before or after business hours. When scheduling your trips, please follow these suggestions:
  • Allow adequate time to reach your destination
  • Allow extra time for the pick-up and drop-off of other passengers before reaching your destination
  • Allow for traffic conditions and weather delays
Paratransit Services can offer travel times 1 hour before or 1 hour after the requested travel time as established under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 service criteria.

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CAN I BOOK A TRIP FOR THE SAME DAY?
Not at this time. Currently, DART Paratransit is unable to offer same day service to its riders. All trips must be booked at least one day before a scheduled trip.

HOW DO I BOOK A TRIP WITH EXPRESS BOOKING (XPB)?
Paratransit Automated Booking
DART Paratransit Services offers Express Booking (XPB), an easy and convenient way for you to schedule your trips by telephone. Through XPB, riders can book trips using an interactive voice response telephone system, without having to speak with a person. XPB is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 214-515-PARA(7272). A great advantage of using XPB is that trips can be scheduled 4 days in advance, every day.

XPB allows you to schedule trips in one of two ways: 1) the personal trip list, or 2) the previously scheduled trip list.
  • Personal trip list - allows you to create your own personal trip list, which can include up to 10 of your most frequent destinations.
  • Previously scheduled trip list - XPB will list your trips booked in the past 3 days. When you hear the trip you want to take again, you can select that previously scheduled trip and enter the new date and time.
The XPB Advantage:
Increased hours
XPB is available to schedule trips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Additional days
XPB allows trips from your personal list to be scheduled 4 days in advance, 7 days a week.

No waiting time
XPB lets callers schedule trips without having to wait for the next available scheduler.

Access from any telephone
XPB is accessible from any touch-tone telephone.

Call Paratransit at 214-515-PARA(7272) or visit us at www.DART.org and start enjoying the advantages of Express Booking!

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HOW DO I CONFIRM MY TRIP?
Trips will be confirmed at the time you schedule your service. Please confirm dates, times and addresses before ending the call to ensure the accuracy of your scheduled trip.

HOW DO I RIDE PARATRANSIT SERVICES?
Certified program participants are required to present their Paratransit ID when boarding vehicles.

WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLE WILL PICK ME UP?
Paratransit Services uses a variety of branded vehicle types including lift-equipped vans, mini-vans with ramps, and taxi cabs. Rides will be scheduled in a vehicle that meets their transportation needs.

HOW LONG WILL MY RIDE TAKE?
Travel time on Paratransit is comparable to the amount of time it would take to make the same trip using our fixed-route bus or rail service with connections. The average trip length is about 90 minutes, and a trip may exceed or fall below that average depending on the circumstances.

WHERE DO I WAIT FOR MY RIDE?
Paratransit is a curb-to-curb, shared-ride service that complements DART's fixed-route bus and rail services. Riders must be waiting at the sidewalk, or at another safe waiting area in front of, or as close as possible to, the entrance of the pick-up location. Operators will wait for a rider at the curb of a public street, in front of, or as close as possible to, the rider's house, building or other designated pick-up location (Alley pick-ups and drop-offs are not allowed). The operator cannot enter the building. If a rider will need assistance exiting the pick-up location, a companion or personal care attendant should be available to assist.

For drop-offs, the operator will drop the rider off at the sidewalk, or another safe waiting area next to the curb or a public street in front of, or as close as possible to, the designated drop-off location. If a rider cannot be left unattended (as a result of his or her disability or impairment), a companion or personal care attendant is required to receive the passenger upon the vehicle's arrival.

Apartments/Office Complexes
When scheduling your trip, please provide Paratransit schedulers with a specific building name and number within the complex. The operator will pick up the rider at that specific building. If a rider's building is located within a gated community and requires special entry, notify the security office to arrange entry for the Paratransit vehicle before pick-up time. If the rider does not arrange entry, and the vehicle is unable to enter the pick-up area, the rider will be considered a No-Show. (See WHAT IS A NO-SHOW OR SAME-DAY CANCELLATION?)

Nursing Homes
Riders with pick-ups at nursing homes should meet the operator in front of the main lobby. Operators are not permitted to go to rooms to pick up riders. Operators cannot assist riders in and out of a nursing home. Nursing home staff should be ready to assist the individual out, if necessary. Riders will unload in front of the main lobby of the nursing home.

Adult Program/Day Care Centers
Riders attending adult programs or day care centers should be ready when Paratransit vehicles arrive. Operators cannot assist riders in or out of adult program/day care centers. Center staff must be ready to assist the individual out of the center, if necessary.

If the adult/day care center requires special entry, center staff should arrange entry for the Paratransit vehicle before pick-up time. If the rider does not arrange entry, and the vehicle is unable to enter the pick-up area, the rider will be considered a No-Show.

Paratransit Services has designated standard pick-up and drop-off sites at major centers and destinations such as large medical centers and shopping malls. If a rider schedules a trip to one of these destinations, the scheduler will inform the rider of the specific pick-up and drop-off location.

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WHEN DO I NEED TO BE READY?
Paratransit vehicles will arrive any time within a 20-minute ready-time window. For example, if your ready-time window is between 9 a.m. and 9:20 a.m., the vehicle will arrive any time between 9 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Please be ready to board the vehicle immediately upon arrival, or your vehicle will leave after 5 minutes, and you will be considered a No-Show.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY VEHICLE ARRIVES?
Paratransit operators will wait 5 minutes for a rider to board the vehicle when arriving within the 20-minute ready-time window. If a rider does not board the vehicle within the 5-minute wait time, the operator will mark the rider as a No-Show and will depart the location. Paratransit is not required to call the rider when the vehicle arrives or before leaving the pick-up location; riders are expected to be ready to board the vehicle upon its arrival. When your vehicle arrives, you are required to present your Paratransit ID and the exact fare or a valid coupon. Please note: The operator cannot take you to your requested destination without the required fare.

WHAT IF MY VEHICLE IS LATE?
If the vehicle has not arrived by the end of your 20-minute ready-time window, please call Paratransit at 214-515-PARA(7272).

WHAT IF MY RIDE DIDN'T SHOW?
If we fail to pick you up within 59 minutes of your scheduled trip, call Paratransit Services within 24 hours of the missed trip at 214-828-6736 to request coupon reimbursement. Please leave your name, your Paratransit ID number and the date of your missed trip. Once the missed trip is validated, coupons will be mailed to you within 10 working days following your telephone request.

WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES FOR USING WHEELCHAIRS OR OTHER MOBILITY DEVICES?
Paratransit Services will make every attempt to accommodate standard wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices. These devices are defined as not to exceed 48" in length, 30" in width and 600 lbs. in total weight. Mobility devices larger than these standards may be denied service aboard Paratransit vehicles. For our riders' safety, Paratransit Services cannot transport riders with broken mobility devices. Please be sure that wheelchairs or other mobility devices are clean, safe and in good working condition before traveling aboard Paratransit Services.

Securement on Boarding
Paratransit Services will make all attempts to secure standard wheelchairs and scooters. If a wheelchair or scooter exceeds the normal size, the operator may ask the rider to transfer to a seat, as it may be difficult to safely secure the passenger within the mobility device. It is the rider's choice to transfer or remain in his or her mobility device.

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WHO CAN ACCOMPANY ELIGIBLE PASSENGERS?
Personal Care Attendant
A personal care attendant can accompany a registered Paratransit rider at no additional charge. Your file must indicate that you are eligible to have a personal care attendant travel with you, and you must reserve space for the attendant when scheduling your trip.

Guests
Guests are welcome to ride with you for $3.00 per trip. Due to limited space, each rider is allowed one guest per trip. You must reserve space for your guest, whether adult or child, when scheduling your trip. Seating for more than one guest is on a "space available" basis when scheduling your trips. Children age 5 and under travel free and must be accompanied by an adult.

Service Animals
Guide dogs and other service animals are permitted on all DART vehicles and are allowed to accompany you if this need is indicated in your file. When scheduling a trip, please inform Paratransit Scheduling if a service animal will be accompanying you on the trip.

HOW MANY PACKAGES CAN I BRING ON THE VEHICLE?
Carry-on packages are limited to 2 grocery bags or similar-sized packages onboard Paratransit vehicles. Operators can help a rider carry two packages on and off the vehicle from the same sidewalk or waiting area where the rider boards and gets off the vehicle. The operator cannot carry any packages to the door. Packages should weigh no more than 20 pounds each.

ARE VISITORS ABLE TO USE PARATRANSIT SERVICES?
Out-of-town visitors who are ADA eligible can use DART Paratransit Services. Visitors must contact the Paratransit Services Certification Office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at 214-515-PARA(7272), option 5, no later than one week before service is required. Once this is done, advance reservations can be made up to 2 days in advance, Saturday through Thursday, and up to 3 days in advance on Fridays.

IS DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICE AVAILABLE?
Yes. Door-to-door service will assist you to and from the threshold of a building. Door-to-door service must be requested when scheduling your trips. Operators must maintain physical sight of the vehicle at all times, and they are not permitted to enter beyond the threshold or ground level of any building.

Door-to-door service DOES NOT include any of the following:
  • Assisting passengers on unsafe or steeply inclined mobility ramps or stairs
  • Entering beyond the door threshold
  • Locking/unlocking doors or activating/deactivating house alarms
  • Loading/unloading personal items (except as provided for in the above section of this guide, HOW MANY PACKAGES CAN I BRING ON THE VEHICLE?)

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ARE BICYCLE(S) ALLOWED ON THE VEHICLE?
Bicycles are NOT allowed on the vehicle. Due to limited space, safety measures, and time restraints, Paratransit vehicles cannot accommodate bicycles on board.

WHAT IS SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE?
Subscription Service is limited to riders traveling to the same place at the same time at least once a week for a minimum period of 90 days. DART reserves the right to restrict and/or prioritize Subscription Service to maintain a maximum level of fifty percent (50%) as required by the ADA, when there is no excess demand capacity available. New Subscription Service requests and changes to existing subscriptions will be accepted beginning the first Monday of each month for five working days.

WHEN CAN I APPLY FOR OR CHANGE MY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE?
New Subscription Service requests and changes to existing subscriptions will be accepted beginning the first Monday of each month for five working days.

HOW DO I CANCEL MY TRIPS?
You can cancel two days' worth of trips through the Express Booking (XPB) interactive voice response system at 214-515-PARA(7272) by selecting the confirm/cancel option (option 1). Subscription riders with more than two days' worth of trips to cancel must contact Subscription Services at 214-515-PARA(7272), option 4, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. You must cancel your return trip if you cancel or No-Show the first part of your trip. You will receive an additional No-Show for a return trip that is not canceled.

Trips no longer required by a rider, whether demand or Subscription Service, must be canceled by 5:00 p.m. the day before the scheduled trip. Trips canceled by 5:00 p.m. the day before the scheduled trip will be counted as advance cancellations.

WHAT ARE EXCESSIVE ADVANCE CANCELLATIONS?
Excessive advance cancellations occur when a rider cancels 50% or more of his or her scheduled trips during any 30-day period. A minimum of 8 trips must be scheduled for the 30 days in question for this policy to apply.

What are the penalties for excessive advance cancellations?
A service suspension of 7 days will be imposed on demand service riders who exceed the maximum cancellation allowances prescribed under this policy. Loss of Subscription Service privileges will be imposed on subscription riders who exceed the maximum cancellation allowance prescribed under this policy.

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WHAT IS A NO-SHOW OR SAME-DAY CANCELLATION?
A No-Show occurs when you fail to board the Paratransit vehicle within 5 minutes after it arrives within the ready-time window. Trips that are not canceled at least 2 hours before your scheduled time will be considered Same-Day Cancellations. If you No-Show your trip going home, please call Paratransit to reschedule your trip. You will be scheduled on the next available vehicle. The next available vehicle is based upon availability and may take up to 2 hours to dispatch to your destination.

What are the penalties for a No-Show or Same-Day Cancellation?
When you accumulate a total of 3 No-Shows and/or Same-Day Cancellations within a 30-day period, you will receive a written Notice of Service Suspension, and a 30-day service suspension will be imposed.

WHAT IS A LATE CANCELLATION?
A Late Cancellation occurs when you cancel a scheduled trip between 5 p.m. the day prior to the trip and up to two hours before the scheduled pick-up time.

What are the penalties for a Late Cancellation?
For every 3 Late Cancellations, a rider will be charged 1 No-Show. Remember: A service suspension of 30 days will be imposed if a rider accumulates 3 No-Shows in a 30-day period.

DOES MY CERTIFICATION EXPIRE?
Yes, eligible riders are certified for services for a period of up to 3 years. The eligibility period will depend on the Paratransit participant's specific disability and, if temporary, its duration.

HOW DO I GET RECERTIFIED?
Recertification for services will be required of each Paratransit participant prior to expiration of his or her current eligibility period. DART will notify participants of the recertification requirement at least 90 days prior to the expiration of their eligibility period. Recertifying riders will complete an in-person assessment to identify their potentials, rather than limitations in their ability to use accessible bus or rail transit. Here is a summary of the certification process:
  1. Call for an application and a Physician Verification Form.

  2. Once paperwork is received, complete and correct, we will contact you to set up an appointment at the assessment center.

  3. At the assessment we will assess your abilities in using transit services.

  4. After the assessment, DART will notify you if you were approved for or denied Paratransit service and whether your service will be conditional or unconditional.


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WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN MY SERVICE IS "CONDITIONAL"?
Eligibility for DART Paratransit Services may be on a "conditional" basis, meaning service will only be provided for those trips in which ADA Paratransit eligibility standards have been met. Riders will be required to use DART's bus or rail services, or find alternative transportation, for trips that are not deemed ADA Paratransit eligible.

If you change your address or lose your Paratransit ID, or your disability needs have changed, call our Certification office at 214-515-PARA(7272).

TRAVEL TRAINING PROGRAM
Travel Training is your ticket to freedom and independence with the use of public transit. DART Paratransit Services offers Travel Training to people with disabilities wishing to ride public buses and trains to reach a wide variety of destinations. Riding public buses and trains gives you the freedom to set your own schedule without having to make reservations or worry about the availability of rides. DART's Travel Training Program is available free to persons with disabilities who are able to use accessible fixed-route bus and rail transportation. Certified Paratransit riders travel free when using fixed-route bus or rail service.

The Travel Training Program uses qualified instructors to take riders step-by-step through learning how to ride buses, trolley-buses and trains. The program also teaches participants all of the practical skills to travel the DART System with confidence and safety. Training for bus and rail transit services does not make you ineligible for Paratransit services. If you are interested in more information regarding the Travel Training Program, please call our Travel Training office at 214-828-8576.

WHAT HOURS ARE YOU OPEN?
Paratransit Services Operation Hours
Paratransit Services operates on a daily schedule that is comparable to our fixed-route bus/rail service.

Paratransit Live Scheduling Hours
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for these holidays: Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day). For details on how to call and schedule trips on these days, please ask your scheduler.

Semi-Automated Booking Hours
Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Automated Express Booking (XPB) Hours
Monday-Sunday: 24 hours

Control Center Hours
Monday-Saturday: 4 a.m. to midnight
Sunday: 6 a.m. to midnight

Certification Hours
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Subscription Service Hours
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Paratransit Administration Hours
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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WHAT ARE THE PARATRANSIT FARES?
Effective October 1, 2009
  • Cash: $3.00
  • Guest: $3.00
  • Paratransit Fare Coupons - 10 trips: $30.00
  • Personal Care Attendants - no charge
All eligible riders, regardless of age, must pay exact fare when boarding. Operators cannot give change. Paratransit Fare Coupons can be purchased online at www.DARTStore.org or at the DART Store at 1401 Pacific (DART Headquarters at Akard Station). Note: Coupon purchases are limited to five booklets per transaction and a valid Paratransit ID Card must be shown at the time of purchase. For other locations, call 214-979-1111.

Please note: Operators are not allowed to accept tips or gratuities.

RULES OF CONDUCT
Riders are asked to follow these rules of conduct to ensure the safety and comfort of all riders and the operator:
  • No eating, drinking or smoking on board
  • No riding under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • No abusive, threatening or obscene language or actions
  • No discharge of bodily fluids or open wounds
  • No deliberate fare evasion
  • No physical abuse of another rider, or the operator
  • No operating or tampering with any equipment while onboard a Paratransit vehicle
  • No radios, cassette tape players, compact disc players or other sound-generating equipment are to be played aboard the vehicles
  • For safety reasons, please limit unnecessary conversation with operators when the vehicle is in motion
Riders who violate the rules of conduct are subject to penalties, up to and including suspension of service. Note: Riders who engage in physical abuse or cause physical injury to another rider or operator may be subject to immediate and permanent suspension, and possible criminal prosecution.

How can I appeal a suspension of service?
A rider who disputes the basis for a suspension of service, termination of service or loss of subscription privileges can request an appeal hearing by calling or writing the Paratransit Representative at:
Phone Number:
214-828-6736
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 660163
Dallas, Texas 75266-0163


DART has a one-step appeal process. A written copy of the appeal process can be obtained by calling Paratransit Services at 214-828-6736.

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HELPFUL PARATRANSIT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Please call 214-515-PARA(7272) to contact the following:

Option 1 - Cancellations/Confirmation

Option 2 - Control Center

Option 3 - Scheduling

Option 4 - Subscription Services

Option 5 - Certification

Option 6 - Commendations/Complaints

OTHER HELPFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Paratransit Representative 214-828-6736
Travel Training Program 214-828-8576
DART Lost and Found 214-749-3810
Customer Response Center 214-749-3333
Customer Information Center 214-979-1111

HELPFUL ADDRESSES
Paratransit Services Headquarters
P.O. Box 660163
Dallas, Texas 75226-7271

For information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, guidelines for Paratransit Services, or to file an ADA complaint, please contact:
DART DEO Department
Attn: ADA Compliance Officer
P.O. Box 660163
Dallas, Texas 75266-0163

We hope this guide answers some of your questions. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to provide safe, reliable, dependable and efficient public transportation to persons with disabilities. Welcome to DART Paratransit Services!

Revised September 2012

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