Metro has been a leader in providing accessible transit services to customers since we became one of the first bus agencies to operate lift-equipped buses in the 1970s. Much of the service provided with Access Transportation is required by the 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA), but some is above and beyond the act’s requirements.
The ADA established regulations requiring that people who have disabilities and can’t use regular buses be provided with the same transit opportunities as people without disabilities. The act does not require us to meet all the transportation needs of persons with disabilities; we just have to provide comparable mass-transportation service to everyone. This means that paratransit service must be provided on the same days of the week, during the same hours, and in the same service area as regular bus service. And as with regular bus service, paratransit service does not prioritize trips according to their purpose.
When the ADA was established, King County was able to operate paratransit service above and beyond the federally mandated minimum. Current services we provide that go above and beyond the federal requirement include door-to-door or hand-to-hand service, subscription service, reservations up to three days in advance, and expanded service areas beyond where regular bus service operates. We will continue to provide many of these extra services, but we’re reducing Access hours to match the times when regular bus service is available in the same areas. Our service will still meet the federally mandated requirements of the ADA.