River Valley Transit Plus is operated by River Valley Transit (RVT) in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The procedures and regulations in this brochure have been established to assure that ADA eligible passengers are afforded accessible, reliable paratransit service.
RVTA Plus provides complementary paratransit services for individuals with disabilities that prevent them from using the fixed route buses. Disabled riders are eligible for RVTA Plus service if their disability makes it impossible to board buses or to navigate through the bus system because of a physical or mental impairment. Additionally, those with a specific disability related condition which interacts with architectural or environmental barriers to prevent travel to and from bus stops may also be eligible. The impairment must make it impossible to use buses, rather than more difficult than for those without the impairment.
In order to use this service, individuals must first be certified as “ADA eligible clients” by the certification process. Use of RVTA Plus may be approved only for certain trips, depending on the conditions under which disabled applicants can use buses. If eligibility is approved for certain trips only, applicants will be notified of the limitations on the use of RVTA Plus upon approval.
2. Certification Process
Individuals must be certified as ADA eligible before they can utilize RVTA Plus paratransit service. Applications are available on our website (www.RideRVT.com), at RVTA, at STEP, and various social service agencies. It is important to understand that certification of eligibility for this service rests upon a functional evaluation of clients’ impairments which prevent them from using the regular transit system rather than a medical diagnosis of the underlying condition. RVTA’s process for determining ADA eligibility will generally rely on self-certification of a person’s functional disabilities, supplemented by additional documentation only as required to effectively evaluate and classify a specific impairment. In some cases, RVTA will need to contact the applicant or an appropriate agency or other sources to verify or expand upon the information provided if a particular claim appears to be less than fully supported by the information provided in the application. RVTA will make the determination of whether or not the applicant is authorized to utilize RVTA Plus as an ADA eligible client and will notify individuals in writing as to this determination within twenty-one (21) days of the submission of a properly completed application. If a determination on eligibility is not made within twenty-one (21) days from the date of application, the applicant may use RVTA Plus paratransit service until such a determination is completed.
If the determination is that the individual is ineligible for RVTA Plus paratransit service, RVTA will state the reasons for this decision. In such cases, applicants will have the right to appeal this decision.
3. Appeals Process
The appeals process is available on our website (www.RideRVT.com) and at RVTA to any individual who has been denied eligibility for RVTA Plus paratransit service. Eligible clients who have had limitations placed on the trips they can make with RVTA Plus may file an appeal.
A written appeal must be received by RVTA’s Compliance Coordinator within sixty (60) days of the date of such written notice.
4. Service Area
RVTA Plus paratransit service will be available for all trip requests with origin and destination within a service area defined around the route network used by the fixed route bus system. Basically, this service area is defined by three-quarters of a mile from any of RVTA’s bus routes and within the municipalities participating in RVTA’s fixed route system see website (www.RideRVT.com).
5. Hours and Dates of Service
RVTA PLUS paratransit service is available from 5:30 AM until 11:45 PM Monday through Saturday. No service will be provided on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day.
6. Advanced Reservation Requirements
An advance reservation is required for each one-way trip on RVTA Plus, including return trips and any stops you intend to make along the way. Advance reservations may be made fourteen (14) days prior to the day of travel, but not later than the day prior to travel. To make a reservation, you must call STEP’s reservation department at (570) 323-7575 between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday or between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Saturdays. Next day service will be provided if the trip is requested between hours above the day before the trip is to be scheduled. If you are unable to make a trip at a time previously reserved, you should follow the procedures under CHANGES, CANCELATIONS, AND DELAYS.
RVTA Plus service is operated by STEP, Inc., under contract with RVTA. Trips are grouped into shared rides on STEP vehicles. Thus, your pick-up time may be scheduled within one hour of the requested time, taking your scheduled activity into account when necessary. You will be notified of the scheduled pick-up time when you make your reservation.
You will be picked up within fifteen (15) minutes of the scheduled time. Please be ready to board the vehicle when it arrives. If possible, you should give the dispatcher a telephone number where you can be notified of any unforeseen delays in meeting your scheduled pick-up. Please be prepared for delays in your pick-up time or the need for additional travel time during snow storms or other unusual conditions.
8. Changes, Cancelations, and Delays
Once a reservation is made, you are expected to travel to and from the points and at the times scheduled. RVTA Plus vehicles will only wait five (5) minutes beyond the scheduled pick-up time or the time the vehicle arrives, whichever is later. This regulation is enforced to protect other passengers from unnecessary delays.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE DELAYED, you must contact STEP at least one (1) hour before the scheduled pick-up time. The dispatcher will arrange a new pick-up at the next available time. Such re-scheduling may delay your pick-up significantly, depending on the number of other trips already scheduled for the day, but you are guaranteed that you will be picked up as soon as possible.
IF YOU WANT TO CANCEL a reserved trip, you must notify STEP at least one (1) hour prior to your scheduled pick-up time.
If it is a two-leg trip, a no-show on the first leg does not automatically cancel the second leg.
If you do not contact STEP about the delay or cancelation, and the vehicle leaves after the five (5) minute waiting period, you will be considered a “NO-SHOW,” and your ride will be canceled. RVTA Plus does not guarantee that “NO-SHOWS” will be rescheduled.
9. “No Show” Policy
A “No Show” occurs when an individual does not board the vehicle within five minutes of the vehicle’s arrival within the 30-minute pick-up window. River Valley Transit Plus service is delivered by STEP, Inc. STEP’s No-Show Policy is:
1st Violation: The customer receives a warning letter.
2nd Violation: The customer receives a service adjustment where customers have to confirm trips by 4:00p.m. the previous day.
In addition to the 2nd violation, the consumer will have any existing trip subscriptions canceled. The consumer will be required to call reservations for each trip that they require. Service Adjustments will be effective 15 days following the date of the second letter sent and will last for 90 days, after that time service will be restored to the consumer.
Because of the need to provide transportation to many passengers with a limited number of vehicles, it is not possible to honor requests for specific vehicles, unless you have physical limitations which require it. Please inform the dispatcher of any such requirements such as a lift-equipped van.
Fares are required for each trip on RVTA Plus. Each stop that you make is counted as one trip. The fare for eligible ADA clients is twice the RVTA base fare. Clients will pay the fare to the driver of the van at the time the trip is made. Drivers do not make change. On trips made by eligible ADA clients who are authorized to be accompanied by a personal care attendant, no fare will be charged for the personal care attendant.
12. Personal Care Attendants and Traveling Companions
ADA clients may be accompanied by a personal care attendant with no fare charged to the attendant.
ADA clients may be accompanied by one traveling companion other than the personal care attendant, as long as the companion has the same origin and destination as the ADA eligible client. In these instances, the companion will be charged twice the fixed-route fare for each one-way trip. If you plan to have a traveling companion, you must notify a STEP or RVTA dispatcher when scheduling your trip. If no reservation is made for the companion, service will not be provided.
It is important to note that RVTA Plus service will provide “curb-to-curb” service. This means that while drivers will be able to help clients board and disembark from the vehicle, they cannot be responsible for escorting passengers to their destination.
Passengers must be physically and medically able to travel. RVTA Plus is not designed as an ambulance for paramedical service, or to handle medical emergencies. Drivers are not trained to assist passengers in such cases. RVTA reserves the right to refuse to transport a passenger whose overall physical condition makes travel aboard RVTA Plus vehicles unsafe.
13. Excessive Travel Times
RVTA Plus determines that excessive travel times for ADA paratransit trips will be any trip that is the length of time it would take for that individual to use the fixed route (including from their home to the bus stop, transfer time, and ride time) plus 20 minutes. RVTA will perform periodic reviews of random trips to ensure compliance with this standard. If an individual feel that a trip was excessively long, they can report the problem by calling RVTA at (570) 326-2500 or by completing a Passenger Ride Time Report Form available on our website (www.RideRVT.com).
14. Reasonable Modification / Accomodations
RVTA’s will make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, or procedures when requested to do so by individuals with disabilities when such accommodations are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability.
RVTA will be guided by the provisions of United States Department of Transportation 49 CFR Parts 27 and 37 in determining whether to grant a requested modification. Requests for accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A reasonable modification/ accommodation may be requested at the time of application for ADA Complementary Service or a request can be submitted online at www.RideRVT.com, by phone or by mail at the address on this brochure.
15. Complaint Review Process
When RVTA receives a complaint directly from the clients they are required to track and investigate those complaints. RVTA is required to report the client’s name and the nature of the complaint to the Compliance Coordinator. RVTA is then required to investigate and provide a response to as to how the complaint has been addressed, as well as what corrective actions, if any, have been taken to avoid future complaints of the same nature. It is our policy to respond in ten (10) business days to service complaints. RVTA is the final arbiter as to whether or not complaints have been adequately resolved. RVTA is prohibited from taking any actions against any individual who has reported a complaint in connection with the service.
Visitors showing documentation from another transit authority certifying their eligibility for paratransit under the Americans with Disabilities Act may use RVTA Plus ADA paratransit service by showing such documentation. Visitors without such documentation must notify RVTA of their disability and residence to receive approval to use RVTA Plus.
Visitors are only eligible for RVTA Plus for a period of twenty-one (21) days (not consecutive) within a 365 day period from the first date of service; after twenty-one (21) days, service will be denied until and unless the visitor completes the application process and is determined to be eligible for ADA paratransit service. If a visitor plans to use RVTA Plus paratransit service in excess of twenty-one (21) days in a one-year period, it will be required that they apply for eligibility locally.
Persons with disabilities visiting the Lycoming County or RVTA’s fixed route service area should contact RVTA for information on using RVTA Plus during their stay here.
17. Other Programs of Interest to RVTA Plus Patrons
All persons 65 or older are eligible for this transportation at a reduced rate under the Commonwealth’s shared ride program. Please contact STEP at (570) 323-7575 for further information.
Persons between 60-65 who sign up with the Bi-County Office of the Aging may be eligible for shared ride transportation partially funded by the Area Agency on Aging. Please contact the Bi-County Office of the Aging Agency at (570) 323-3096 for further information.
Persons of any age may be eligible for the Medical Assistance Transportation Program funded by the Department of Public Welfare. Please contact STEP at (570) 323-7575 for further information.
Persons with Disabilities who live outside RVTA’s service area or request trips outside RVTA Plus hours and dates of service may be eligible for transportation services through the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) Program. Please contact STEP at (570) 323-7575 for further details.
18. Additional Information
Additional information is available upon request by calling RVTA’s Customer Service Department at (570) 326-2500, or online www.RideRVT.com or write to River Valley Transit, Special Services Manager, 1500 West Third Street, Williamsport, PA 17701.
You may download all of this information found in the RVTA Plus ADA Information brochure here.