Accessible Fixed-Route Bus Services
River Valley Transit has a fully accessible fleet of twenty-nine (29) transit vehicles in its active fleet and seven accessible contingency vehicles. Therefore, accessible fixed-route bus service is available from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. “Super Nightline” service operates from 6:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. utilizing two buses
ADA Complementary Paratransit Service (River Valley Transit Plus)
The ADA regulations require public entities operating fixed route transportation services to provide paratransit as a complement to their fixed route service. This paratransit service is intended for people who cannot use accessible fixed route transportation and must be comparable to the fixed route system in forms of coverage and level of service. This service has to be provided during the same days and hours as fixed route service with comparable fares. Service has to be provided to locations within 3/4 of a mile of the River Valley Transit routes.
River Valley Transit Plus, RVT’s ADA paratransit service, was initiated in November, 1992, making complementary paratransit service available to ADA eligible clients from 5:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Responsibility for service delivery Monday – Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. has been contracted out to STEP, Inc., which operates a larger, shared ride paratransit service in the area. River Valley Transit provides paratransit service after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day (5:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.) on Saturdays. RVT certifies clients as eligible for the paratransit service, but STEP is responsible for accepting reservations and providing transportation to meet trip requests.
Lift and Securement Use
In accordance with the regulations, River Valley Transit will provide service to all wheelchairs and their occupants if the lift/ramps and vehicles can physically accommodate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements which includes such circumstances as a wheelchair of such size that it would block an aisle, or would block the vestibule, or would interfere with the safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency. This does not apply to securement; RVT cannot limit transportation of wheelchairs and other mobility aids based on the inability of the securement system to secure the device. Legitimate safety requirements are based on actual risks, not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities or about devices they use for mobility purposes.
Use of the securement system on River Valley Transit vehicles will be required as a condition of receiving service. However, service will not be denied on the grounds that a mobility device cannot be secured to River Valley Transit satisfaction. When transporting users of three-wheeled wheelchairs or other mobility devices, River Valley Transit can suggest that the passenger transfer into a bus seat. The rider, in this case, has the final decision as to whether a transfer is appropriate given their particular disability.
As the regulations require, a person who cannot enter the vehicle using the stairs, but who does not use a wheelchair, will be allowed to enter the vehicle using the lift. River Valley Transit only has three wheelchair lift accessible buses (809, 810, and 65) in our active fleet, all other twenty-six buses in our active fleet are low-floor vehicles with ramps which allow passengers to walk up the ramp instead of steps.
Operators have been thoroughly trained in the use of the accessibility features of the buses (i.e. wheelchair lifts, ramps, tie-downs, etc.) and in awareness of the needs of passengers with disabilities. River Valley Transit will continue its sensitivity program to train our operators on the various needs of persons with disabilities. This training establishes some empathy on the part of the operators toward disabled passengers and provides instruction in certain types of passenger assistance. Other training features include; passenger assistance techniques, Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation (CPR), emergency cardiac care, and other RVT training features.
Maintenance of Accessible Features
A top priority of River Valley Transit’s accessible service is the maintenance of the lift and ramp equipment. The mechanics have been properly trained on the maintenance of all accessible buses before they were put into service. As part of the overall maintenance program, procedures have been established to ensure the proper operating conditions of all equipment. These procedures are used to ensure that the lifts and ramps are put back in service before the next day. In addition, River Valley Transit keeps a substantial inventory of parts pertaining to accessible features on the bus to prevent any unnecessary downtime.
The fare for a trip charged a disabled person using an accessible bus is no higher than the fare charged other users. In general, a disabled person may ride for $1.00 during the off-peak hours by presenting a Medicare card to the Operator, or by obtaining a “Reduced Fare Transit Identification Card”. Applications must have a physician or representative of a social service agency certify to their disability.
Lift / Ramp Deployment
It is River Valley Transit policy that persons with disabilities are permitted to board or alight at any bus stop along the route; unless, the lift/ramp cannot be deployed, the lift/ramp would be damaged if deployed, or temporary conditions preclude use. Temporary conditions cannot be the result of River Valley Transit action. Temporary condition must preclude safe disembarkment by all passengers.
Boarding the Lift Bus
- Please be at your bus stop at least five minutes before the time your bus is scheduled to arrive
- When the bus arrives, please wait approximately five feet, or reasonable safe distance, away from the door so that the lift/ramp can be deployed
- When the wheelchair lift is fully deployed, move your wheelchair onto the platform BACKWARDS, unless otherwise authorized. LOCK YOUR BRAKES, IF YOU ARE USING A MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR, SHUT OFF THE POWER TO CONTROL
- When the lift platform is level with the bus floor, back onto the bus, give the correct fare to the operator and tell the operator your destination
- If you are using a motorized wheelchair and need the operator to assist you, please disengage your clutch; continue to one of the two tie-down locations. Be careful moving between passengers in the aisle
Securing your Wheelchair
To better accommodate the wide range of wheelchairs in use today, RVT utilizes a 3-point securement system.
To use the 3-point securement system, maneuver your wheelchair into the tie-down area. The tie-down consists of three (3) belts: two (2) straps to secure the rear of your chair, two (2) straps to secure the front of your chair, and two belts which functions as a seat belt/shoulder harness to be fastened around you and your wheelchair.
Exiting the Bus
- Once the bus has stopped, the Operator will release the seat belts and tie-downs. The belt tie-downs are released by pressing the clasp button.
- Wait until the lift platform is level with the bus floor. Move FORWARD onto the platform. If you are using a motorized wheelchair and need the Operator to assist, leave the clutch disengaged. When all four wheels are on the platform, LOCK YOUR BRAKES, IF YOU ARE USING A MOTORIZED WHEELCHAIR, SHUT OFF POWER TO CONTROL.
- When the platform has reached the ground and the restraint has dropped, release your brakes and move off the platform. If you are using a motorized wheelchair, re-engage your clutch and turn “on”.
- It is River Valley Transit’s policy to allow adequate time for the boarding and alighting of persons with disabilities. No time limit is currently established.
Traveling Companion Policy
If your require assistance onto the lift platform from outside the bus, a traveling companion is recommended. River Valley Transit’s present policy is to charge no fare for companions of persons with disabilities. It is generally felt that companions are providing a service by allowing persons with disabilities to use fixed route transit service.
According to ADA Guidelines, if a passenger boards the bus with an animal that is not muzzled or in a pet carrier, you may ask them if the animal is a service animal. If the response is yes, you may ask them “What service has the animal been trained to provide”? Accept the answer if it sounds reasonable and allow the person and animal to ride. These are the only two questions we are allowed to ask according to ADA. ADA allows us to remove a passenger if the animal becomes unruly. Most service animals will sit quietly at their master’s feet. No form of identification has to be shown to prove the animal is a service animal.
All of River Valley Transit vehicles have a “kneeling” feature. The kneeler lowers the right front corner of the bus four (4″) inches closer to the sidewalk or street to make it easier for people who have trouble climbing stairs to get on and off the bus. If you have any difficulty reaching the bus stair, just ask the operator to lower the kneeler for you. IF ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE OPERATORS ARE TO ASSIST THE PASSENGER WITH BOARDING AND/OR ALIGHTING THE BUS.
Acommodating Other Mobility Devices and Life Support Equipment
In accordance with ADA regulation, all riders will be permitted to travel with service animals trained to assist them. Service animals include guide dogs and other animals that provide aid to persons with mobility impairments.
Persons will also be permitted to travel with respirators, portable oxygen and other life support equipment. Travel with this equipment will only be denied if it violates rules concerning the transportation of hazardous materials.
In general, the transport of common types of portable life support equipment is not prohibited. Cylinders of oxygen used by passengers for health reasons, for example, are not subject to the Hazardous Material Regulations.
Anouncements on Vehicles
River Valley Transit has posted signs on all the buses informing all passengers our intent to comply with the ADA requirement to announce stops at major transfer points. Major intersections/destination points, intervals along the routes, and at stops requested by the passengers. All vehicles have a fully-automated system that work with GPS to automatically announce bus stops and the route name when the doors open.