What is Paratransit service?
Paratransit service works side-by-side with our fixed-route services in a “demand-response” capacity, meaning eligible customers call in advance for the service to be delivered. A fare is required for each ride. These services are federally mandated because of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. People with disabilities are entitled to the same public transit opportunities that everyone else uses. Hampton Roads Transit’s Paratransit service is an origin-to-destination, shared ride service. The service we provide is not door-to-door, as may be the case in some other areas of the country.
Do I qualify?
Paratransit service is mandated for persons with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed-route system because of their disability. Disabilities may or may not be visible, so many types of disabilities may be considered and, therefore, establish no set criteria. Please keep in mind that mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, do not automatically qualify someone to use Paratransit services. All HRT bus, ferry, and rail vehicles are equipped to accommodate most wheelchairs and other mobility aids so wheelchair users can use the fixed-route system. To ensure proper eligibility and use of our Paratransit service, you are required to provide details pertaining to your disability, as well as a minimum of one medical professional contact who is familiar with your disability for verification. We encourage you to read through all the information provided here to gain a thorough understanding of this service.
Determination of eligibility
There are three categories to which a determination is generally made.
- Category 1 = Unconditional Eligibility
This determination is made for persons who cannot navigate the fixed-route public transit system independently without the assistance of another individual.
- Category 2 = Conditional Eligibility
This determination is made for persons who are able to navigate the fixed-route public transit system on a conditional basis. Conditions that may not be navigational for these persons may be certain weather or accessibility to/from the bus stop. In these cases, a conditional eligibility would be determined so the person may use Paratransit during those certain weather conditions or to/from a bus stop which they would then be able to use the fixed-route public transit system.
- Category 3 = Temporary Eligibility
This determination is made for person’s who may have a temporary disability which is expected to change over a period of time. It may also be granted if the user is a visitor from another region and has already been approved for Paratransit service in their place of residence.
If none of these categories apply, you may be determined ineligible for the service.
How to apply or recertify
You must be certified in order to use HRT Paratransit. A complete application is required for new applicants and for those needing to apply for recertification. At least one medical, rehabilitative and/or healthcare professional must be listed as a reference on your application. Applicants have two ways to apply:
- Apply online https://www.adaride.com/Default.aspx or
- Call 877-ADA-RIDE (877-232-7433) between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST to start the application process and have the necessary forms mailed to you.
- TDD Customers call (310) 410-0985
What happens after I submit my application?
After submitting your completed application, ADARIDE will contact you and/or your medical professional with any questions to complete the process.
Please note: If a written eligibility determination has not been made within 21 days following the receipt of a completed application package, presumptive eligibility will be granted to the applicant on the 22nd day, and Paratransit service will be provided by Hampton Roads Transit until a determination has been made.
How do I update my contact information?
It is extremely important and the responsibility for all Paratransit clients to keep their contact information current so that they can receive information regarding their Paratransit service and eligibility. To make a change in your address and/or phone number, please contact ADARIDE at:
How do I update my mobility aid information?
In order for HRT Paratransit to accommodate your disability, you must always update any changes regarding your mobility aid. To make a change to your mobility aid information, please call the HRT eligibility office or click on the Change in Certification Form.
Visiting Hampton Roads?
To help us provide service during your stay, please have your present service provider fax your current eligibility information to (757) 222-6025.
Afterward, please call (757) 222-6087 to provide the following information:
- Date(s) service is needed
- Local address for stay
- Date of Birth
- Contact phone number
If you are not currently a certified Paratransit customer, or there is no Paratransit service available in your area, you will need to provide us documentation of your disability. Please call our office at (757) 222-6087 for more information.
As a visitor, all HRT Paratransit service policies and procedures are to be followed. Eligible visitors may use HRT Paratransit service for a total of 60 days per year. Service beyond those 60 days will require the standard eligibility application process for permanent use.
What is fixed-route service?
This service is commonly known as the public transit system. Persons with disabilities may qualify for discounted fares, and any senior over the age of 65 or Medicare cardholders automatically qualify to ride the fixed-route service for discounted fare. All of our fixed-route vehicles are wheelchair accessible, and you do not need to make a reservation as you need to do with Paratransit service. For more information, call (757) 222-6100.
Service provider and vehicles
Via Transportation, a contractor, manages both the technology and the operations that drive the HRT Paratransit service. Via’s call center manages all booking and support requests in order to create the daily schedule for riders. Via then also handles all of the daily operations that are necessary for the transportation of HRT Paratransit riders. The service uses best-in-class routing technology and updated accessible lift vans, non-lift vans, and sedans to transport passengers.
Service area and operation times
Paratransit operates during the same hours and days as the regularly scheduled fixed-route service which varies according to each route. In addition, Paratransit only services areas within a 3/4 mile radius of any fixed-route. This means your pickup and drop off location must be within a 3/4 mile radius of any fixed route service in order for Paratransit vehicles to serve you. If your pick-up or drop off location is not within a 3/4 mile radius, and you are still eligible for Paratransit service because of your disability, you must find alternative locations to be picked up or dropped off within the 3/4 mile radius in order to be served by Paratransit. Eligibility or service area alone is not a guarantee for service. You must meet both eligibility and service qualifications in order to use Paratransit.
Because the city of Suffolk no longer uses HRT’s public fixed-route service, Paratransit no longer services the city of Suffolk. For transportation assistance in the Suffolk area, please call (757) 963-9227.
Service between Southside and Peninsula
Paratransit vehicles travel directly from the Southside to the Peninsula and vise versa. Please be advised, due to distances traveled and possible traffic issues, customers should be prepared for a longer travel time.
Fares and tickets
The one-way fare for HRT Paratransit is posted on our Fares page. Each trip is to be paid separately. HRT Paratransit accepts exact cash fare or pre-purchased tickets only. Passengers are expected to pay when boarding. Paratransit operators cannot make changes, nor can they accept credit cards, vouchers and/or insurance. Customers may purchase tickets at HRT transfer centers and many retail outlets.
Passenger’s rights and responsibilities
Under HRT’s Unified Service Plan and Policy, Paratransit passengers have the following rights:
- Courtesy and respect from public transit personnel, including timely phone service and accurate information
- Service comparable to fixed-route service
- Information available in accessible formats
- Open public involvement process for changes in service or fares
- Reasonably well-maintained vehicles
Paratransit passengers have the following responsibilities:
- Respect for other passengers and public transit personnel
- Obey vehicle and service rules, including but not limited to:
- No eating, drinking or smoking.
- Origin-to-destination service.
- Comply with service rules for scheduled pickup time.
- Keep service animal under control.
- Schedule and use Paratransit service only when fixed-route service cannot be used because of disability.
- Limit “no shows” and late cancellations since these affect the availability and timeliness of service to others.
- When using audio or video devices, please use earphones. Loud music will not be tolerated on any HRT vehicle.
- When using cell-phones, please talk quietly.
For the full policy, please refer to the Unified Service Plan and Policy.
Riding with carry-on items
Each certified rider is limited to two grocery bags or similarly sized carry-on packages. Operators are not required to carry packages for anyone. Travel carts must have the capability to be folded.
Drivers are required to offer customers assistance with stability when boarding or exiting a vehicle, securing their wheelchair/scooter, and securing their seatbelt or safety harness. Drivers are not required to assist in the operation of mobility devices at any time or act as a personal care attendant. Drivers are also not permitted to assist with or handle service animals.
HRT’s Paratransit service is typically an origin-to-destination service rather than door-to-door. Unless you make a specific request, your driver will not assume that you need assistance to or from your door. In the event you need help getting to or from the door, your driver will give you reasonable assistance provided that while the driver helps you, she or he can maintain a clear line-of-sight to the vehicle and safely leave your fellow passengers. Should you require assistance door-to-door, please let us know when you make your reservation. Your driver will be notified of your needs and will be happy to reasonably assist you.
Drivers have no medical certification to be able to assist in any medical situation other than dialing 911. It is recommended that the certification department has a current emergency contact on file for you.
Personal Care Attendants and companions
Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) are for the personal assistance of a disabled passenger and are not provided by Hampton Roads Transit. Passengers traveling with a PCA are not required to travel with the same PCA for every trip taken. A PCA needs no formal certification or identification to be recognized for free ridership in order to assist a disabled passenger.
However, any disabled passenger accompanied by a PCA must be previously approved for such status through Paratransit eligibility, and must first present his or her issued Paratransit Eligibility card with PCA status when boarding. If the passenger fails to provide to the operator proof of an approved PCA status, the person accompanying the passenger will be considered a companion and will be charged the full applicable service fare. There are no exceptions to this. Proper identification and declaration of PCA status must be presented to all Hampton Roads Transit operators for passengers to board, since not all disabilities are obvious.
Note: When scheduling your ride, please inform the reservationist of any additional mobility aid(s) your PCA or companion may have.
Riding with service animals
Trained service animals boarding any Hampton Roads Transit service are free of charge and are not limited to any specific breed. A permit is not required, however you may be asked to confirm that your animal is a service animal. You are responsible for the care and supervision of your service animal at all times.
Drivers are not permitted to assist with or handle service animals. Drivers may exclude a service animal from any service or HRT facility or vehicle when that animal poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others.
Service animals are permitted on any and all HRT services by following these guidelines:
- Your animal must be on a leash, or in a closed carrier, and remain under your control at all times.
- Your animal must not be aggressive toward people or other animals on board and must display appropriate behavior at all times.
- Your animal must remain at your feet or on your lap for the entire trip and is not permitted to sit on a vehicle seat.
- Your animal must be housebroken as you are responsible for any damage or soiling caused by the animal.
Seat belt recommendations
Seat belt use is recommended in all vehicles that are so equipped. Drivers are required to assist any passenger who requests seat belt use and who cannot secure it themselves.
Ride times and pickup window times
HRT Paratransit is a shared ride service, meaning multiple passengers will likely be riding in the same vehicle together. Ride time refers to how long each passenger may be riding in an HRT Paratransit vehicle until they reach their destination. Scheduled ride times have to be comparable to regular fixed-route service travel times. The total scheduled maximum ride time for Paratransit passengers is currently 90 minutes. This means that you may be traveling in the vehicle for up to 90 minutes before reaching your destination. Please plan your trips with this in mind, and ensure you have designed your trips to include ride time in order to reach your destination on time.
A pickup window time is a 30-minute window, or time period, when your driver may arrive. This means that the driver will not arrive at an exact time, but rather arrive within a 30-minute window time and be considered on time. For example, if you ask to be picked up at 11:00 a.m., you will be given a time between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. based on demand. If the time you are assigned is 10:45 a.m., then your ride will be considered on time if it arrives between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. You must be ready to board at any time within your 30-minute pickup window time.
Wait time refers to the amount of time a driver is required to wait for the passenger to board or be ready to board the vehicle at curbside. Drivers are required to wait a total of 5 minutes upon arriving within or after the pickup window time at the scheduled pickup location. If the driver has completed the 5-minute wait time and the customer has not made contact, the driver will continue on their route and the customer will be considered a no-show.
How to schedule a ride
HRT Paratransit service is a prior-day, reservation-only service and will not accommodate same-day service requests. In order to ride with HRT Paratransit, you must be certified and schedule your trip(s) in advance.
The Call Center is open 7 days a week, but please note:
- You can book rides over the phone between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
- You can get live support for confirmed rides at any time of day, except between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Your trip must be scheduled by 5:00 p.m. the day before you wish to ride. For example, if you wish to ride on Thursday, you need to call on Wednesday by 5:00 p.m.
Reminder: Return trips are not automatically scheduled for you.
To schedule a trip you must have your Paratransit identification number ready and call (757) 455-8010, TDD/TTY customers call 711. If a requested time is not available, under ADA regulations, we must offer you an alternate time within one hour prior or one hour after the time you are requesting. This will be discussed with you at the time of your call. If you will be riding with a personal care attendant (PCA), child or companion (guest), please tell the reservationist.
How to sign up for our subscription service
This service is offered to any customer who travels from the same location to the same destination at the same time of day for each trip at least one day a week. These trips are pre-scheduled and you will need to call if you wish to cancel or request a hold on these trips, otherwise they will continually re-occur. To arrange for or change your subscription service, please call (757) 455-8010 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Preparing for your trip
- Be sure to have the scheduling number (757) 455-8010 should you need to cancel your return trip or check on a trip later in the day.
- Be ready to board the vehicle at curbside at any time during the duration of your scheduled 30-minute pickup window time.
- Make sure you have your exact fare or ticket ready before boarding.
- When the vehicle arrivals, present the driver with your Paratransit identification card and pay the fare when boarding.
How to cancel a ride
Should an HRT Paratransit passenger need to cancel their trip, they will need to do so at least 2 hours prior to the start of the 30-minute pickup window time or it will be considered a Late Cancellation violation. To cancel a trip, you will need your Paratransit identification number and call (757) 455-8010.
When speaking with a reservationist, be sure to request and save a confirmation number. Should you need to cancel your trip outside of ride booking hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), you may call the same number and leave a voicemail stating your identification number, name, and the trip information you would like to cancel. No confirmation number will be issued during those hours.
Reminder: Return trips are not automatically cancelled. To avoid a violation, you must also cancel your return trip if one was scheduled.
What to do if your ride is late
To inquire about your ride, call (757) 455-8010.
No-show and late cancellation policy
Missing or cancelling a scheduled trip late may result in loss of your Paratransit Service. When missed trips occur, they are classified as a No-Show or Late Cancellation. You are considered a No-Show for a trip if you fail to board or fail to be ready to board the vehicle after the driver has waited the 5 minutes within the on-time pickup window for that trip. You are considered a Late Cancellation if you fail to cancel your scheduled trip at least 2 hours prior to that trip’s pickup window start time.
In accordance with HRT’s No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy, any Paratransit service client is subject to sanction(s) or enforcement(s) for violation of the policy. Should any Paratransit service client establish a practice or pattern of excessive no-shows and/or late cancellations, that client’s services may be suspended. Any combination of three (3) Late Cancellations or No Shows in any consecutive three-month period or less will be deemed “excessive” and is defined as a “violation” of this policy. Passengers with excessive Late Cancellations/No-Shows will be subject to sanctions as described below.
Please note considerations for the number of violations will be made for more frequent users of the service, providing the number of violations do not exceed 10% of the total trips taken:
- First Violation = Seven (7) day suspension of service
- Second Violation = Fourteen (14) day suspension of service
- Third Violation = Twenty-one (21) day suspension of service
- Fourth Violation = Thirty (30) day suspension of service
For the full policy, please check the No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy.
Notification of suspensions
Should any client be in violation of the No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy, they will receive a notification of suspension letter titled “ADA Complementary Paratransit Service Sanction Notice”. This letter will list each missed trip violation with an explanation of the process.
Why are we using Taxis and TNC’s?
In response to increasing demand, HRT began using taxi as support for Paratransit services starting July 8, 2017. TNC’s will be utilized as needed starting June 1, 2020. Taxi and TNC services will be used as an addition to the current service fleet.
How will I know if I will be picked up by a Taxi or TNC vehicle?
You can review your trip online, sign up for the app (when it becomes available) or contact the call center to ask which type of vehicle your scheduled trip is assigned to about 30 minutes before your scheduled pickup window. Rest assured, no matter which vehicle (HRT or taxi/TNC) is coming for you, the driver will have your information as they currently do. Please note that there may be a change even after speaking with the call center. Always verify your trip with the driver of any vehicle who arrives at your pickup location.
If a Taxi/TNC pulls up, how do I know it is for me?
The driver will already have your name and trip information, and will announce who they are looking for, especially if it is a busy location.
Will the driver know if I need additional assistance?
The Taxi/TNC drivers will have the same information our current drivers have for their customers.
Will it cost me more for a Taxi/TNC?
No, the fare is still $3.50 for your trip — exact cash fare, a Paratransit trip ticket, or you may establish credit card fare payments (through a linked account in advance). There are no additional charges.
Will there be other passengers in the Taxi/TNC?
The service provided is a shared ride service. It is possible there may be other customers riding with you. Be assured, any other passengers riding with you will be certified Paratransit clients (and persons accompanying them). Taxi/TNC drivers are not allowed to pick any other “fares” while performing Paratransit trips, as they will be dedicated to our service.
Can I request to be picked up by a Taxi/TNC?
No, trips will be scheduled to the closest vehicle.
Can I request not to be picked up by a Taxi/TNC?
Only if your disability prevents your access to a non-ADA accessible vehicle. This will be handled on an individual basis.
How do I board?
Please have the exact cash fare, a Paratransit trip ticket, or you may establish credit card fare payments (through a linked account in advance) when boarding the taxi/TNC as you do now. Be sure to confirm your trip with the driver.
What happens if I have a problem with a Taxi/TNC driver?
Call the Paratransit administration office at (757) 222-6087 and select option #4. TDD Customers, call 711 Virginia Relay