Valley Metro is committed to providing service that is safe, comfortable and accessible to everyone, including seniors and people with disabilities. The following accessibility-related policies and procedures, which were developed with input from Valley Metro member agencies and the Valley Metro Accessibility Advisory Group (VMAAG), comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are designed to ensure that our bus and light rail services are accessible for everyone.
Announcing Bus Stops
On fixed-route systems, Valley Metro operators shall announce stops as follows:
- At transfer points with other fixed routes, at other major intersections and destination points, as well as at intervals along the route to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location. Announcements may be made by the vehicle operator or by a recording system.
- At any stop upon passenger request.
All passengers, including those who use mobility devices must wear shoes unless a disability either prevents the wearing of shoes or necessitates that the passenger’s feet be bare.
Boarding Assistance for Passengers without Mobility Devices
Valley Metro operators will use the bus’s kneeling feature or deploy the bus ramp for ambulatory passengers upon request.
Operators will position the bus to make boarding as easy as possible for everyone, to minimize the slope of the ramp, and will use the bus kneeling option as needed. When requested, bus operators will provide assistance to passengers using the ramp or lift to enter or exit the bus.
Before leaving a stop, the operator will ensure that passengers are safely boarded.
Boarding Order for Passengers with Mobility Devices
Passengers using mobility devices should board and exit before other passengers board. All passengers are encouraged to exit from the rear of the bus.
Operators will strive to keep securement areas open for use by people with disabilities. However, Valley Metro will not give a boarding priority to people with disabilities.
This means that while a bus operator may ask passengers to move within the bus or to temporarily exit the bus in order to enable a passenger with a mobility device to board, bus operators will not require people to give up their place on the bus to accommodate a passenger with a disability.
Bus operators will stop at bus stops with waiting passengers. Individuals are not required to wave or otherwise signal the operator in order for the bus to stop. However, passengers are encouraged to be at the curb and ready to board when the bus arrives.
Valley Metro operators will stop at bus stops that serve multiple routes and announce the route and destination of the bus. At busy transit hubs serving multiple bus routes, operators will pull up to their designated route stop and perform the route identification, even if it means waiting for a bus in front to
Operators will permit a passenger to use the lift or ramp to exit at any designated stop unless the lift/ramp cannot be deployed, the lift/ramp will be damaged if it is deployed, or temporary conditions at the stop preclude the safe use of the stop by all passengers.
Under normal operating conditions, drivers will position vehicles in order to allow riders to use lifts or ramps. This means that the lift/ramp will be deployed where it is not obstructed by signposts, street furniture, security bollards or parked vehicles. When possible, operators will also deploy lifts/ramps to permit passengers to board or exit without having to step up or down from the curb.
If the passenger cannot board or exit at a designated bus stop for any of the reasons identified above, the operator will communicate with the passenger regarding the issue, notify the Operations Control Center (OCC) and remain at the stop until further instructions are provided and relayed to the passenger.
With the exception of designated “flag stop” zones, passengers should always wait at the designated bus stop to ensure that operators recognize their intent to ride the bus.
Buses at Capacity
The requirement to provide alternative transportation does not apply if the only reason a bus cannot accommodate a rider who needs to use the lift is because
- The waiting rider needs to use a securement location, but all securement areas are already occupied by riders using mobility devices.
- The waiting rider needs to use a securement location, but securement areas are already occupied by riders whom the driver has asked to move but are unwilling to do so.
- The bus is at capacity with no space to accommodate any additional riders.
When there is no space on the bus, the operator will communicate the reason to the passenger and notify Operations Control Center (OCC) that a passenger with a disability could not be boarded due to capacity constraints.
Valley Metro may refuse to provide service to an individual with disabilities because that individual engages in violent, seriously disruptive or illegal conduct, or represents a direct threat to the health or safety of others. In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, Valley Metro will make an individualized assessment using reasonable judgment based on the agency’s understanding of current medical knowledge and/or onavailable objective evidence, in order to ascertain: the nature, duration and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur, and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.
Valley Metro will not refuse to provide service to an individual with disabilities solely because the individual's disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy or inconvenience employees or other passengers. For example, some persons with Tourette’s syndrome may make involuntary profane exclamations. These may be very annoying or offensive to others, but will not be grounds for denying service.
For more information about passenger conduct, check out Valley Metro’s “Respect the Ride” program.
Valley Metro requires all passengers to pay the appropriate fares as established by the Valley Metro Boards of Directors. Find more information about Valley Metro fares here or call Valley Metro Customer Service at (602) 253-5000 or TTY (602) 251-2039. The following additional fare-related policies and procedures apply to qualified seniors and ADA paratransit eligible people with disabilities.
Reduced Fares for Seniors and People with Disabilities - In accordance with requirements of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Valley Metro offers a 50% fare discount for seniors age 65 and above and for qualified people with disabilities. Find more information about Valley Metro’s reduced fares here, or call Valley Metro Customer Service at (602) 253-5000 or TTY at (602) 251-2039.
ADA Platinum Pass Program
Valley Metro’s ADA Platinum Pass program enables ADA paratransit eligible people with disabilities to ride Valley Metro bus and light rail services at no cost. Customers who use an ADA Platinum Pass may travel with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) at no additional charge as long as their ADA Platinum Pass states “PCA OK”. Find more information about the ADA Platinum Pass program here, or contact the Valley Metro Mobility Center at (602) 716-2100 or by TTY at (602) 251-2039.
Forward vs. Backward Wheelchair Loading
Unless safety concerns dictate, customers using mobility devices may enter a lift or ramp facing either forward or backward.
Maintenance of Accessibility-Related Equipment
In accordance with ADA requirements, Valley Metro will maintain accessibility-related equipment, including lifts, ramps, and automated stop announcements, in good working order. Bus and rail operators will test accessibility-related equipment at the beginning of each work period and will report any malfunctions before entering service or in the event that equipment fails while the bus or light rail vehicle is in service. Valley Metro will make every effort to ensure that no vehicle enters service without working accessibility equipment and that vehicles with non-working accessibility-related equipment are replaced so as to minimize service disruptions for passengers who depend on this equipment. However, there may be isolated and short instances when accessibility-related equipment may be out of service.
Mobility Device Securement
Valley Metro buses are equipped with ADA compliant four-point mobility device securement systems which are designed to safely secure mobility devices as defined by the ADA. Bus operators receive extensive training to safely secure mobility devices, and passengers are strongly urged to allow bus operators to secure their mobility devices.
Bus operators will strive to secure mobility devices using all four securement straps. If an operator is unable to secure a device with all four securement straps, s/he will use as many securement straps as s/he is able.
As long as a mobility device meets the ADA definition for a mobility device, Valley Metro will not deny service—even if the device cannot be secured.
If Valley Metro is unable to secure a device and/or if the passenger refuses to allow his/her device to be secured, the passenger will be advised that s/he is traveling at his/her own risk.
Valley Metro’s transportation providers deliver training to bus operators and other front-line personnel that meets standards established by Valley Metro.
Trained personnel will consistently and reliably operate accessibility equipment, and they will provide appropriate assistance to individuals with disabilities, and treat riders in a respectful and courteous way.
Other Mobility Devices
Valley Metro will accommodate the use of devices other than wheelchairs, including canes, crutches and walkers,Valley Metro will not accommodate devices that are not primarily designed for use by individuals with mobility impairments. This includes items such as shopping carts, bicycles and skateboards.
Valley Metro does not permit the use of “other powered mobility devices”. These devices include golf carts, Segway[s]®, and other devices designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes. For more information on other power-driven mobility devices, download or request Valley Metro’s complete Bus and Light Rail Policies for People with Disabilities;
Passengers with Open Sores and Wounds
Passengers with disabilities that have open sores and wounds may be transported unless their medical condition presents a direct threat to other passengers. Any passenger, including passengers with disabilities, may be refused access to public transportation if body fluid leakage, drainage or dripping is occurring while at the bus stop. The passenger may also be requested to exit the bus if leakage or dripping occurs after they have boarded. Such leakage or dripping can create a biohazard to other passengers on the bus.
The existence of wounds and sores may limit securement on all securement points. The operator shall secure as many points as possible.
Portable Oxygen Use
Valley Metro will permit an individual with a disability to travel with a respirator or portable oxygen supply, consistent with applicable Department of Transportation rules on the transportation of hazardous materials. Oxygen supplies must not obstruct the aisle.
Requesting Reasonable Modifications
A reasonable modification is a change in Valley Metro’s service policies and practices in circumstances where established practices may prevent individuals with disabilities from accessing and participating fully in Valley Metro’s programs, services and facilities.
Valley Metro is committed to providing reasonable modification(s) to its fixed-route bus, light rail and/or ADA paratransit operating policies, practices
and/or procedures in order to ensure that its services, programs and facilities are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
Individuals may request reasonable modifications online, by email, in writing or by phone.
To facilitate this process, Valley Metro has made this policy and the Reasonable Modifications Request Form available online and in hardcopy upon request.
Valley Metro will also make this policy and the Reasonable Modifications Request Form available in alternate formats upon request.
Find more information regarding Valley Metro’s Reasonable Modification Policy here or call Valley Metro at (602) 716-2100.
Valley Metro transit providers will provide an effective rescue system for passengers with disabilities, needing the use of a lift or ramp, that are stranded due to inoperable bus lifts.
In any case in which a vehicle is operating on a fixed route with an inoperative lift, and the headway to the next accessible vehicle on the route exceeds 30 minutes, Valley Metro’s transit provider will promptly provide alternative transportation.
If a service interruption is the result of bus lift/ramp failure, the bus operator will stop and call OCC for instructions and communicate those instructions to the passenger before proceeding on the route. If the service interruption will result in the passenger being stranded for more than 30 minutes, a rescue of the passenger will be conducted. In the months of May through October every effort shall be made by the OCC to offer rescue, if possible, to stranded passengers even if the next bus along the route will arrive in less than 30 minutes.
Vehicles that are dispatched for rescue shall meet the stranded passenger within 30 minutes of the request for rescue. Rescue vehicles shall transport the passenger to another location mutually agreed upon by the passenger and transit staff. Every attempt will be made to ensure that the passenger’s trip is completed successfully. In the case of service interruptions not caused by mechanical failure on the bus, (e.g. all mobility aid securement positions are occupied) the operator will stop the bus, call OCC/radio/dispatch for instructions and relay instructions to the passenger before proceeding on route. OCC staff shall determine if rescue is required and feasible.
In all cases, OCC staff will check the status of the next available bus. All Valley Metro transit providers’ staff members will be trained on the above policy.
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. A service animal must be individually trained to assist passengers with tasks of daily living. Examples include seeing, hearing, standing, balance and seizure detection.
Pets and companion animals (also referred to as comfort animals and therapy animals) are not considered service animals and are not permitted in Valley Metro facilities or on buses and light rail vehicles unless they can be stowed within an enclosed pet carrier that fits on the lap or beneath the seat.
Service animals must:
- Be under the passenger’s direct physical or verbal control
- Sit on the floor in front of a passenger’s feet or beneath their seat
- Not jump or sit on seats
- Not block aisles or exits
- Not bark, growl or disturb other passengers or the driver
- Not soil or damage Valley Metro property
Any individual whose service animal violates this policy may be asked to have the animal exit the bus. A Valley Metro bus operator or fare inspector may ask passengers whether or not the animal is a service animal, and to explain what task (or tasks) the animal is trained to perform.
Caring for a service animal is the responsibility of the passenger or a personal care attendant.
The following guidance also applies to service animals:
- FTA ADA regulations do not prescribe limits on the number of service animals that accompany riders on a single trip. Different service animals may provide different services to a rider during trips or at the rider’s destination.
- Other riders’ or transit personnel’s allergies to dogs or other animals would not be grounds for denying service to a person accompanied by a service animal. The regulations explicitly state that service animals must be allowed to accompany individuals on vehicles and in facilities. Encountering a service animal in the transit or other environment is an expected part of being in public.
Transferring to a Seat from a Mobility Device
Passengers using mobility devices may transfer to a vehicle seat if one is available. Passengers using mobility devices are not required to move to a seat.
The Department of Transportation’s ADA rule defines a “wheelchair” as “a mobility aid belonging to any class of vehicles with three or more wheels, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments.”
Except as provided in this section, individuals using wheelchairs will be transported in Valley Metro’s vehicles or other conveyances.
Valley Metro vehicles are designed to transport a range of mobility devices, including larger and heavier mobility devices. bus operators must carry the wheelchair and occupant if the lift and vehicle can accommodate the wheelchair and occupant. An operator may decline to carry a wheelchair/occupant if the combined weight exceeds that of the lift specifications or if carriage of the wheelchair is demonstrated to be inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements.
Valley Metro does not permit riders who use wheelchairs to ride in places other than designated securement locations in the vehicle, where such locations exist.
When occupying a lift or securement area, it is strongly recommended, but not required, that passengers apply the brakes on their mobility devices.