The Role of Your Driver
By Ed Madden, Coordinator for Public Outreach, Pace Suburban Bus
As an outreach professional for Pace Bus, I am often asked about the role of our ADA paratransit drivers. I have found that not all riders have an accurate idea of exactly what the driver can or cannot do. I hope these frequently asked questions can clear up some of the confusion.
Q: Can my driver help me off the bus?
A. Your driver is happy to assist you with boarding and exiting the vehicle. However, drivers are not allowed to lift or carry customers. Drivers may also escort you to and from the ground-level exterior door of the building upon request, as long as the bus is still within view. However, your driver is not allowed to ask about your disability, so it’s important not to rely on him or her to know what type of assistance you may need. Either you or a caregiver will need to let your driver know if you need a helping hand.
Q: Is there anything my driver can’t help me with?
A: The safety of our riders is Pace’s top priority, which is why drivers must maintain a view of their vehicle at all times. Therefore, your driver cannot accompany you into a building or residence. Drivers are also not permitted to carry your bags and packages, nor can they assist with clearing the path of travel between your exterior door and the vehicle pick-up/drop-off area of snow or other obstacles.
Q: Who can I bring with me on paratransit?
A: If you have been certified by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to ride with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), you are allowed to have one PCA (as defined in the ADA regulations) accompany you free of charge. You can also be accompanied by one companion, such as a friend, family member or service animal. However, all companions must pay the same cash fare as ADA Paratransit riders.
Don’t forget to reserve space for anyone riding with you when you call to schedule your ride, including your PCA. If you wish to have more than one companion ride with you, there must be space available on the vehicle at the time you schedule. Remember, all riders traveling together must have the same pick-up and drop-off locations.
Q: How can I tell Pace how my driver is doing?
A: Passengers are encouraged to contact Pace Customer Relations at 800-606-1282 to share any concerns, compliments, or comments on a driver.
Q: How can I learn more?
Edward Madden is the Coordinator of Public Outreach for Pace Suburban Bus and one of JJ’s List’s Hop on the Bus to Independence presenters. Among his many communication responsibilities, Ed spends a good portion of his time promoting all of the many transportation services that Pace offers in the 220 communities of the 6-county Chicagoland region.