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Connector Rider Guidelines

SMART and the consumer based SMART Advisory Council has developed a series of guidelines to ensure quality service for all passengers with disabilities.  SMART’s desire is to provide independence and mobility to as many passengers as possible.  These guidelines apply to buses directly operated by SMART called Connector, or sometimes referred to as “General Service.”  This is to avoid confusion with services operated by our local community partners in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, often referred to as Community Transit.

SMART Connector Service (or General Service) Area
SMART provides curb-to-curb trips to medical destinations of less than 10 miles, to any suburb in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb County, that pays taxes for the SMART bus system.  This does not include opt-out communities such as: Rochester, Novi, Canton, Brownstown, or the City of Detroit.  You may obtain a transfer from a Connector to a fixed route bus or from fixed route to Connector bus.  If you live outside the SMART service area and can secure a ride to a pick-up address in the service area, SMART will pick you up from there.  The same holds true at the destination end of the trip.

Hours and Days of Service - Fares
The SMART Connector operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  All passengers, guests, personal care attendants, seniors or children, must pay a fare on this service.  The one way full fare is $4.00.  The one-way reduced fare for adults age 65 and older, or people with disabilities showing proper identification, is $1.00.  To qualify for the reduced fare, show the driver a red, white and blue, Medicare Card and photo ID, or a SMART or DDOT Reduced Fare ID Card. 

Reserving a Ride
Customer Service Operators are on duty to take your call from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (except major holidays).  Please call: 866-962-5515 - press option 1, then 1 again to schedule your ride.  Trips of ten miles or less, to medical destinations in suburbs that pay taxes to SMART, may be booked up to 6 business days in advance.  Connector rides are booked, “First come, first served.”  If you wait until one or two days before the needed ride, you risk not getting a ride at all.  Reservations must be received no later than 4 p.m. on the business day before the service is requested.  Same day bookings are not possible.  For our passengers who are deaf or hearing impaired, call the Michigan Relay Service toll free at either: 711, or 1-800-649-3777.

Thirty Minute Window
When calling back for your pick up times, the scheduler will give you a 30 minute pick up window such as 9:15 to 9:45.  You should be ready to leave your home by 9:15.  The driver may arrive anytime within the 30 minute window depending on: Driving conditions, bus breakdowns, promptness of other passengers, or driver absenteeism due to illness.  Upon arrival, the driver will wait for 3 minutes to permit sufficient time for you to get to the bus.  If the driver is early, they must wait 3 minutes into start of your pick up window.  Please do not make the driver late as it will impact your fellow passengers.  If repeated late arrivals become a problem, passengers may be subject to probationary status and/or a temporary suspension of service.

Cancellation of Trips, No Shows, Checking on Late Buses
Trips are scheduled for passengers to have freedom of mobility and independence.  It is the responsibility of the passenger to inform SMART if you will not use the service after it has been scheduled.  If you find you no longer need to make a certain trip, please cancel immediately so SMART can use that space for someone else.  As long as you cancel 2 hours or more before the start of your pick-up window, you will not be charged with a late cancellation.  A trip is considered a “no-show” if the bus arrives within the 30 minute window, waits the prescribed 3 minutes, and departs for their next pick up, or drop off, without the passenger boarding the bus.  If the bus arrives after the 30 minute window closes, and you do not take the trip, you will not be charged with a late cancellation or a no-show.  Only no-shows that are within your control will be counted against the no-show suspension policy.

To cancel a scheduled Connector trip prior to the day of the trip, please call Connector Reservations at 866.962.5515, press 1, then 1 again for a scheduler.  To cancel after 4 p.m., or on the day of the scheduled trip, or to check on a bus that has not arrived by the end of your 30 minute pick up window, please call Dispatch at: 866-962-5515, press 1, then 3 for “Same Day Cancellation,” then select the appropriate county from the menu.  Dispatch can provide an estimated time of arrival.  You may cancel 1 leg of the trip or the entire trip.  If you cancel or no-show the first leg of your trip, SMART will NOT automatically cancel the return trip or second leg of the trip.  You are responsible for all bookings and cancellations.  If more than 10% of booked trips within a 30 day period are cancelled late or are valid no-shows per this policy, with a minimum of 6 late cancels/no shows in that same 30 day period, probationary status and/or a temporary suspension of service may occur.

Failure to Pay Fare
The exact one-way fare must be paid when boarding the bus.  In addition, under no circumstances is the driver permitted to come into physical contact with the passenger to receive the fare – unless the passenger is unable to access the fare box.  It is not “safe” to expect the driver to take the fare from the passenger’s belongings (e.g., purse, wallet, etc.).  This is for the protection of the drivers and the passengers.  Failure to conform to this standard will result in a temporary suspension of service.

Walkers, Canes, Crutches, Strollers
Passengers using walkers, canes or crutches are responsible for their own personal medical equipment. None of these, including strollers occupied by children, shall be stored in the wheelchair securement areas. Drivers are prohibited from using the Q-Straint tie downs to secure anything other than wheelchairs, scooters, or adult strollers.

Shopping, laundry and other bags on buses
Passengers are permitted to bring as many bags on the bus as they are able to manage. You may not exit to bring more bags on the bus.  Personal shopping carts, designed to carry standard size grocery bags may be used, but shall not be secured with belts in the wheelchair area on the bus.  You are responsible for managing your own shopping cart.  Grocery store size carts are prohibited on SMART buses as they are too large and block the aisle.

Using the lift on SMART small buses
Any passenger may request to use the lift to enter or exit SMART small buses.  Lifts accommodate wheelchairs and scooters that measure no longer than 48 inches and no wider than 32 inches, and weigh, when occupied, no more than 700 pounds.  Only one person may ride on the lift at a time.  If a passenger is using a mobility device, they may have the device on the lift, but their guest or companion may NOT ride on the lift with the passenger at the same time.  This poses a danger to all and is considered unsafe.

Hazardous Conditions
No passenger may act in a threatening, harmful, criminal, or unsafe manner, which may jeopardize the passenger, the driver or other passengers.  Any potentially communicable health condition (open wounds/sores, bodily fluids, lice, bed bugs) is considered hazardous.  Failure to conform to this standard will result in a temporary suspension of service.
 
Personal Hygiene

To protect the health and well being of SMART personnel and our passengers, SMART requires all passengers maintain an acceptable standard of personal hygiene.  Failure to conform to this policy will result in probationary status and/or a temporary suspension of service.

Physical or Verbal Abuse
If a passenger physically or verbally abuses SMART employees and/or other passengers, that passenger is subject to immediate probation and/or temporary suspension of service.  Profanity or sexual harassment by passengers or drivers will not be tolerated.   The passenger will be subject to a temporary suspension of service.  Drivers may be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in their union contract and SMART employee policies.

Suspension of Service and Appeal
If a passenger is in violation of these guidelines, a letter and, “Notice of Right to Appeal Suspension” form will be mailed to the passenger outlining the planned disciplinary action.  Suspension of service appeals are accepted by mail, fax, email or telephone.  The length of the first suspension will be 7 days.  Following suspensions will progress, by occurrence, to 14, 21, and 28 days.  Chronic violators may lose Connector service.  Suspension of service would not occur for at least 30 days from the date of the letter, unless there is irrefutable audio/video evidence recorded on bus cameras.  All SMART operated buses are equipped with microphones and security cameras.

To appeal a Suspension of Service, mail the “Notice of Right to Appeal Suspension” form within 21 days of the date on the letter, to the address indicated on the Notice of Right to Appeal form.  The form also offers options to appeal by: Email, fax or telephone.  Please follow the instructions on the appeal form.  An appeals board of fellow SMART passengers will hear the appeal and render a decision.  Both SMART and the passenger must comply with the decision of the appeals board.

Revised and approved by the SMART Advisory Council on 3/16/18