VTA ACCESS Paratransit

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VTA ACCESS paratransit service is provided to eligible individuals with disabilities who cannot use conventional accessible bus and light rail transit service due to their physical, visual or cognitive disabilities.

Paratransit is shared ride public transportation, complementary to fixed route transit service. This means paratransit operates within the same service area and service times as VTA bus and light rail service. Customers can expect multiple pick ups and drop offs along their trips, just like a bus.

Map showing the coverage area for VTA ACCESS Paratransit service in Santa Clara County with boundaries roughly from Palo Alto to Milpitas to Gilroy to Los Gatos

The fare for a regular one-way paratransit trip is established at twice the one-way adult cash fare of VTA's fixed-route bus and light rail services.

VTA operates a diverse paratransit fleet including cutaways, minivans, sedans and taxis. Customers can expect any of these vehicles for their trip unless an accessible vehicle is required.

Read the VTA ACCESS Paratransit Riders Guide for additional details about paratransit service, eligibility, and how to apply.

Upon request, information is also available in accessible formats (large print, Braille, audio tape) by calling VTA at (408) 321-2300, TTY (408) 321-2330

Applying for VTA ACCESS Paratransit Service

VTA ACCESS Paratransit is intended to serve as a "safety net" for individuals who, because of their disabilities, are unable to use fixed route bus or light rail.

Eligibility is based upon your functional ability to use the bus or light rail system, some or all of the time. Eligibility is not based on your age, economic condition, or inability to drive an automobile.

Please note that having a medical condition or a disability does not automatically qualify you for ADA eligibility.

Any individual with a disability, interested in ADA paratransit services are required to go through our eligibility certification process, which includes a one-page Data Card following by a phone interview. If you are the applicant’s conservator, guardian, or legal representative please provide supporting documentation with the Data Card.

To request a Data Card by mail call eligibility at (408) 321-2381.

HTML application
MS Word application
PDF Eligibility Application
PDF Eligibility Brochure

To Submit Data Cards 

  • Mail or Drop Off: 3331 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95134
  • Fax: (408) 238-1015

Sample Data Cards

Screenshot example of a Data Card for applying for VTA ACCESS Paratransit, second page
Screenshot example of a Data Card for applying for VTA ACCESS Paratransit, first page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phone Interview

The phone interview takes approximately 30 minutes.

During the phone interview, you will be asked questions about your functional abilities and limitations that may keep you from independently using bus or light rail services for some or all of your trips. This will assist in determining whether or not you are eligible for paratransit services.

If necessary, VTA ACCESS eligibility staff will follow up with the physician or licensed professional listed on your Data Card to validate disabilities and functional limitations.

Within 21 days following the phone interview, you will receive an eligibility determination letter by mail.

Paratransit ID Cards

If your application is approved, you will receive a start-up kit in the mail which includes instructions on how to use the paratransit service.

You will also receive a paratransit ID card as proof of eligibility. If you are able to take some of your trips on fixed route, we will arrange to take your photo for your paratransit ID card, as this will allow you to ride free on VTA Bus and Light Rail service.

Eligibility Determination & Appeals

Your eligibility determination is based on the information you or your legal representative provided us on your Data Card and phone interview.

You can be granted unconditional eligibility which means there are no conditions where you can take bus or light rail for your trips, so you can use ACCESS paratransit services anytime.

Conditional eligibility means there are sometimes where you can take bus or light rail, and there are other times where you cannot. When you are unable to make a trip on the bus or light rail you may book that trip on ACCESS paratransit. On your determination letter it will state under what conditions you can use ACCESS paratransit. Currently you decide when you can take the bus and when the need a paratransit trip. So, an ACCESS representative will not deny a trip because of your eligibility conditions, but we encourage you to take the bus when you can but are welcome to book with ACCESS paratransit when you need to.

Temporary means you only require ACCESS paratransit services for a short period of time while you recover, stabilize your condition, or other short-term circumstances.

If you are found ineligible it is based on the information you provided, and it was determined that you have the mobility necessary to use bus and light rail.

If you do not agree with your eligibility determination you are welcomed to appeal your eligibility determination within 60 days from the date on your eligibility determination letter in writing to 3331 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95134 or by email at paratransit@vta.org. (See Rider’s Guide for additional information)

All customers are required to reapply at the end of their eligibility certification period.

Mobility Devices

During the eligibility certification process you are certified to use specific mobility devices. If your mobility device changes you are required to call Eligibility at 408-321-2381 to have your new device certified.

Thinking of getting a new mobility device?

Please remember our ramps and lifts are designed to accommodate standard wheelchairs. For more information you are welcome to call eligibility.

 

Fares, Payments, Client Accounts

Prepaid

Your client account is set up during the eligibility certification process. All fares are deducted from your client account at the time of booking.

If you do not have sufficient funds to pay for your trips you will not be able to complete the booking. If you do not take your planned trip the fare will be returned to your client account.

Fares

Paratransit trips can be up to twice the amount of a bus ticket. Currently Standard trips are $4 and Premium trips are $16.

Before booking a premium trip, your reservationists will verify that you accept the premium fare. Premium trips include same day trip requests, second vehicles, extended service area, or open return trips.

Paratransit fare table

Trip Type Cost
One-Way Standard Trip $4
Companion $4
Open Return Trip $16
Second Vehicle Sent $16
Same-Day Trip $16
Same-Day Trip Companion $16
Extended Service Area Trip $16

 

Closing Client Account

For those individuals who no longer need the service are welcome to send an email to paratransit@vta.org or call us at 408-321-2300 to request an account closure. If the individual has passed away a death certificate will be required.

Please note your request to close your client account this will terminate your eligibility, and if you wish to use the service in the future you will have to reapply for eligibility.

Scheduling Trips

Reservations

Call us one to three days in advance at (408) 321-2380 between 8 am and before 5 pm.

All trips must be booked before 5 pm the day before otherwise it will be considered a Same Day Trip.

When calling in please have the following information ready:

  • Client ID
  • Date and time of pick up or drop off (appointment time)
  • Exact addresses
  • Mobility device you will be traveling with
  • If you will need a PCA or Companion

If you are scheduling multiple trips please on having at least one hour in-between pick up windows.

Trip negotiations

ACCESS provides about 2,000 trips daily. To ensure on time performance and quality service, trips are scheduled pursuant to ADA guidelines with a 30-minute pick up window that is negotiated up to one hour before or after a requested pick-up time.

For example, if a customer requests a pick-up time of 9 am then the customer can be provided a 30-minute pick-up window any time between 8 am and 10 am.

Pick up & Drop off (Appointment time)

When scheduling your trip you can either specify what time you would like to be picked up or what time you need to be at your destination by also known as an appointment time but not both.

If you are going to a doctor’s appointment and need to be there by 10 am then the ACCESS representative may offer you an 8:00 am to 8:30 am pick up window to ensure you arrive at your appointment on time. If you request to be picked up later and want a 9:00 am to 9:30 am pick up window for your 10 am doctors’ appointment, then we are not able to guarantee that you arrive at your appointment on time.

Day of Trip

Ready Outside

Your paratransit vehicle may arrive any time during your 30-minute window. To avoid no shows or any delays please be waiting outside or inside where you can see when the vehicle arrives.

Driver Assistance

Drivers can provide assistance between the first exterior door of your pick up location to the vehicle as long as they do not lose sight of their vehicle for more than a few seconds, offer a arm for stability, deploy the vehicle ramp or lift, and ensure your mobility device is secured. If you need additional assistance, please plan on traveling with a Personal Care Attendant.

Cancellations and No Shows

To cancel a trip please call 2 hours before the start of your pickup window to avoid a No Show.

  • No shows are when vehicles arrive at your pickup location and can’t not find you.
  • Cancel at door is when the vehicle arrives at your pickup location and you decline the trip.
  • Late cancels are when you cancel a trip two hours before the start of your trip and may be considered the same as a cancel at door.

If you display a pattern of no shows or cancel at door you may be subjected to a suspension.

Seriously Disruptive Behavior

Violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct; poses a significant risk to the health or safety of others. Actions that are intentional and within the individual’s control are subjected to a written notice about the events and details, an appeal period, and a suspension.

Suspension Appeals

You will be mailed a letter summarizing your No Shows or Seriously Disruptive Behavior including follow up actions, and your next steps. If you do not agree with your suspension you are welcome to make your request in writing and sent it to 3331 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95134 or call the Eligibility Department at 408-321-2381 for assistance.

Reasonable Modifications

You may request a reasonable modification by calling 408-321-2300.

Reasonable modifications are only considered if a policy or practice would be discriminatory to someone based on their disability, and as long as the request does not alter the nature of service, cause an undue financial burden, or is a direct threat to someone’s health or safety. For example, complementary paratransit service is unable to accommodate requests like designated vehicle type, exclusive or direct trips, or exclusion of service animals since these requests would alter the nature of our service.

MyACCESS Online

About MyACCESS Online 

All customers who have eligibility are welcome to go to myaccess.vta.org to set up their account.

To obtain your initial log on password please call 408-321-2380 or 408-321-2381 and an ACCESS representative will be happy to assist you. The first time you log on you will be prompted to verify an email and set a unique password.

Book, Cancel, Monitor Trips

Once you have verified your email and set a unique password you can book standard trips 24 hours a day, one to three days in advanced, and trip for the following day must be completed before 5 pm the day before. It is your responsibility to accurately book and self-verify all trips. We recommend checking all trips the day before and make an adjustments necessary.

Trips booked online follow the same paratransit policies and procedures.

If you book a future trip incorrectly you may cancel and rebook the trip, but to rebook a trip for the same day you will need to call in and a premium service charge will apply. You can cancel trips two hours before the start of your pickup window and begin monitor your vehicles estimate arrival time 30 minutes before.

E-Client Accounts

Log on to MyACCESS Online to view your client account balance, transactions, one-time deposits, and set up auto deposits.

 

Contact Us

VTA ACCESS Paratransit
3331 N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95134

General Administration, Customer Service, Client Accounts

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily (Closed Major Holidays)
PH: (408) 321-2380 TTY: (408) 321-2330

Eligibility Department

To request a Data Card and brochure, update your phone number or address, or mobility device contact us at:

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday (Closed Major Holidays)
PH: (408) 321-2381 TTY: (408) 321-2330
Fax: (408) 238-1015
 
The paratransit informational brochure contains a one-page Data Card to complete and sign. Brochures are available in EnglishSpanishChinese and Vietnamese.  VTA ACCESS Paratransit provides language assistance to any individual in need of translation services.
 
All information about the process, materials necessary to apply for eligibility, and notices and determinations concerning eligibility are available in accessible formats upon request.  Formats include, but are not limited to: audio, large print, Braille, electronic files emailed or on computer diskette, and sign language.