Providing Public Transportation
Alternatives for the Greater
Phoenix Metro Area

ADA Paratransit Glossary of Terms

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Civil Rights act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990, which mandates equal opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of employment, transportation, communications and public accommodations.

ADA Paratransit Service: A type of public transit service required to be provided according to ADA federal regulations. The service complements available local accessible bus and light rail (fixed-route) transit service in that it must be provided as an alternative form of transit when and where local-fixed route service is running. ADA paratransit service is provided within 3/4 of a mile of bus or light rail service and is intended to be used as a “safety net” by people with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route service or limited in their use of fixed-route due to the nature of their disability.

ADA Paratransit Eligible Person: A person who has applied and been determined eligible for ADA paratransit service. In order to qualify, it must be determined that the person has a disability which limits travel on local fixed-route service according to strict criteria described in ADA regulations.

ADA Paratransit Eligibility Certification Process: A process adopted by the Phoenix Metro area pursuant to ADA requirements for determining eligibility for ADA paratransit. ADA regulations require each region to establish a process specifically to determine eligibility for ADA paratransit.

The eligibility determination process must consider the individual’s disability and functional ability to perform all tasks required to independently access, board, ride and deboard from the local fixed-route system. The combined interaction of disability with architectural and environmental conditions is also taken into account.

Disability: As defined by the ADA, a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities such as walking, speaking, seeing, hearing, breathing or caring for one’s self.

Lifts and Ramps: Devices on vehicles that enable a person or mobility aid to board and deboard the bus without having to negotiate steps.

Image shows two riders in wheelchairs on bus.

Mobility Aid: A piece of equipment, including, but not limited to, wheelchairs and scooters which assists a person with a disability. A mobility aid belongs to any class of three or more wheel devices, usable indoors, and designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.

Non-ADA Service: Shared-ride origin to destination Dial-a-Ride service not required to be provided by ADA federal regulations but is provided by the transit agency/provider using locally developed service standards.

Paratransit: Services that can be used as an alternative to fixed-route bus or light rail service for passengers who because of a disability are unable to use fixed-route service.

Personal Care Attendant (PCA): An individual who assists a person with a disability in carrying out his or her life activities.

Ready Window: The 30-minute time period when ADA paratransit customers must be ready for pick-up and the period within which drivers can arrive and be considered on time.

Securement System: A configuration of straps and hooks on a vehicle that are attached to a mobility aid to keep it stable during travel.

Service Animal: An animal that has been trained to perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability.

Trip: One-way travel of a person or vehicle between origin and destination.

Vehicle Wait Time: The maximum time that drivers are required to wait for customers after arriving at the pick-up location. The vehicle wait time does not start until the beginning of the ready window and is generally five minutes.