Access Alameda

Transportation Services
for Seniors and People with
Disabilities in Alameda County

Am I Eligible for ADA Paratransit?

According to the law you may be eligible for ADA paratransit if either of the following applies:

  • Your disability prevents you from boarding, riding, or getting off a bus or train without the help of someone else some or all of the time
  • Your disability prevents you from getting to or from a bus or train stop some or all of the time

The eligibility process may vary slightly by transit agency, so you should call your local transit agency to find out more information. In general, the process includes the following steps:

  1. Complete an application. You can find applications for East Bay Paratransit, Union City Paratransit, and WHEELS Dial-a-Ride on our Applications page.
  2. Follow the directions on the form provided by your agency. Your agency staff may contact you, ask you to send additional information, contact a health professional to get more information, or invite you for an in-person evaluation of your ability to ride public transportation.
  3. An evaluation could involve a discussion with a trained professional about why you cannot use public transportation. Or, you might be asked to do a number of actions that would be needed when using a bus or train. (Complimentary rides are available to and from your in-person certification interview).

Within 21 days of receiving your application or completing an evaluation, the transit agency will send you a letter regarding your eligibility. If you do not receive this letter within 21 days, you will be given temporary eligibility to use paratransit until a final decision is made. Many city-based programs provide a limited interim service to individuals awaiting ADA certification. If approved, you will receive a brochure with information about how to get started.

What if I only meet some of the requirements?

The transit agency may find you to be fully eligible, conditionally eligible, temporarily eligible, or ineligible to use paratransit.

ADA Eligibility Services Available
Fully eligible Riders may take ADA paratransit trips at any time the service is available.
Conditionally eligible Riders may take ADA paratransit for some trips, but may be required to take regular transit for other trips, depending on whether certain disabling or environmental conditions affect the trip in question.
Temporarily eligible Riders are given eligibility for the period of time their disability is expected to prevent them from using regular transit.
Denied Agency has determined that you may not use paratransit service because you are able to use public transit. If you disagree with the decision, you may appeal. Instructions on how to appeal are included on the application form.

What if I am able to use public transit, but with difficulty?

A person who is able to use buses and trains all of the time to get around, even though it may be difficult or inconvenient, does not qualify for ADA paratransit.

To qualify for ADA paratransit, you must be unable to use buses or trains some or all of the time because of a physical, cognitive, visual, or psychiatric disability. Age, inability to speak English, difficulty using public transportation, or being diagnosed as having a disability, are not automatic grounds for paratransit eligibility.

If you are unfamiliar with using public transit, travel training can help you to travel more comfortably using buses and trains. Travel Training can also introduce you to some of the features of buses and trains that make them accessible to people with disabilities and mobility limitations.