Providing Public Transportation
Alternatives for the Greater
Phoenix Metro Area

Terms and Definitions

imageFor a complete list of transit related terms, please visit our Transit Glossary

Accessibility Features: Public and private entities providing transportation services shall maintain in operative condition those features of facilities and vehicles that are required to make the vehicles and facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. These features include, but are not limited to, lifts and other means of access to vehicles, securement devices, elevators, signage and systems to facilitate communications with persons with impaired vision or hearing per Department of Transportation 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 37.161(a).

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act): The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services.

Direct Threat: As defined in Department of Transportation 49 CFR 37.3, direct threat means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.

Disability: As defined by the ADA and 49 CFR 37.3, disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Fixed-Route System: Fixed-route system means a system of transporting individuals (other than by aircraft), including the provision of designated public transportation service by public entities and the provision of transportation service by private entities, including, but not limited to, specified public transportation service, on which a vehicle is operated along a prescribed route according to a fixed schedule.

Light Rail: Light rail means a streetcar-type vehicle operated on city streets, semi-exclusive rights of way, or exclusive rights of way. Service may be provided by step-entry vehicles or by level boarding.

Mobility Aid or Device: Persons with mobility disabilities may use devices other than wheelchairs to assist with locomotion. Canes, crutches and walkers, for example, are often used by people whose mobility disabilities do not require use of a wheelchair. These devices must be accommodated on the same basis as wheelchairs.

Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices: Other power-driven mobility devices (OPMDs) are defined in Department of Justice ADA rules as, “any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel or other engines – whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities – that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf carts, Segway[s]® or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair.”

Personal Care Attendant: A personal care attendant (PCA), as explained in Appendix D to 49 CFR 37.121, is “someone designated or employed specifically to help the eligible individual meet his or her personal needs.” A PCA typically assists with one or more daily life activities such as providing personal care, performing manual tasks or providing assistance with mobility or communication.

Proof of Eligibility: Seniors 65 or older are required to provide proof of eligibility to use reduced fares, which includes a Valley Metro Reduced Fare Identification Card, driver’s license or state ID card. Persons with disabilities must present either a Medicare card or Valley Metro Reduced Fare Identification Card as proof of eligibility for reduced fares. Proof of identity may be required with the Medicare card.

Public Address (PA) System: A sound amplification system on a bus.

Securement System: Section 49 CFR 38.23(d) requires all ADA-compliant buses and vans to be equipped with securement devices capable of accommodating wheelchairs and mobility aids. Part 38 does not require securement devices on rail cars. According to this section, the securement system shall secure mobility aids and shall either be automatic or easily attached by a person familiar with the system and mobility aid and having average dexterity.

Service Animals: Per 49 CFR 37.167(d) service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.

Wheelchair: The Department of Transportation’s ADA rule 49 CFR Part 37.3 defines a “wheelchair” as “a mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled vehicles, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments.”


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