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How do I travel as a visitor on another system’s ADA service in a different city?

If an individual presents documentation to the public transit provider of the city they will be traveling to, a visitor certification will be issued, which allows for 21 days of service in any calendar year.  This assumes the location travelled to also has ADA paratransit service available.

Is there a limit on how many destinations or legs of a trip a paratransit rider may request in a given day?

No. Paratransit providers are required to provide all eligible requested trips, not just trips to and from a single location. A person may take as many individual legs of a trip in a day as their schedule allows (factoring in pickup windows and time to complete their business), just as a fixed route user may take as many trips as he or she desires. To help with scheduling, it is requested that you remain at each destination for a minimum of 1 hour.

Is SMART required to allow a passenger to travel with a comfort animal?

No.  Under the ADA, SMART and other public transit entities are only required to allow service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3 define a service animal as an animal “individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”  If an animal’s only function is to provide emotional support or comfort for the rider, that animal would not fall under the regulatory training-based definition of a service animal. Simply providing comfort is something that animal does passively, by its nature or through the perception of the owner. A service animal may not be excluded unless the animal is out of control and the animal's owner does not take effective action to control it or the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

What do I do if I have severe allergies to something I encounter on a SMART ADA paratransit bus, such as service animals and other potential allergens?

Encountering service animals and other potential allergens is a function of going out in public.  Under Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), public transit providers are required to allow trained service animals to accompany riders on vehicles.

May I change my drop-off location on complementary paratransit service the same day?

No. Because paratransit is a shared ride, allowing riders to change their drop-off locations or make intermediate stops could lead to late pickups or drop-offs for other riders.

Can SMART negotiate my pickup time?

Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b)(2), a complementary paratransit entity may negotiate pickup times with an ADA paratransit eligible individual, up to one hour before or after the individual’s desired departure time. Any deviation from this one-hour window would exceed the bounds of comparability.

May a wheelchair user enter a lift platform and vehicle in the manner they prefer (e.g., entering facing forward or backing on)?

Yes. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 38.23(b)(11), the lift must permit both inboard and outboard facing of wheelchair and mobility aid users. Appendix D to Section 37.165 further specifies that a transportation entity should respect the passenger’s preference for entering a lift platform and vehicle in a particular direction (e.g., entering facing forward or backing on), except where the only way of successfully maneuvering a device onto a vehicle or into its securement area requires a particular orientation or an overriding safety concern (i.e., a direct threat) exists. Given that lifts have been required to accommodate passenger facing either direction since 1991, it is unlikely that successful boarding would require a particular orientation. In any event, the passenger would be in the best position to determine which direction is best suited for boarding under their specific circumstances. A “direct threat” represents a clear and present danger to the health or safety of others; by definition, a direct threat cannot exist on the basis of presumptions about persons with disabilities or their mobility devices. It is difficult to envision circumstances under which the direction that a passenger faces when boarding would constitute a direct threat.

How are transfer points chosen?

Transfer points are chosen based on written permission of the property owner.  These points are typically open extended hours, well lit, protected from weather elements, highly visible, and wheelchair accessible.

How many packages / bags may I bring on the bus?

You many only bring as many items as you are able to carry or secure to your wheelchair/scooter.  Items that you are unable to hang onto during transport may become dangerous to your fellow passengers.


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