Paratransit Policies & Guidelines

Eligibility

Persons who are certified under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as having a disability that prevents them from riding fixed-route buses are eligible to use City Bus On-Demand Service which operates within ¾ mile of the City Bus fixed routes. In order to qualify, the applicant and a health care provider must complete and sign the On-Demand ADA application form. The applicant has 21 days from the date they first rode City Bus to submit a COMPLETED application. A decision will be made within 21 days of receipt of a COMPLETED application. Applicants will be assessed on their ability to complete a series of exercises to determine their ability to board and access the City Bus fixed route bus service. Disability alone does not qualify a passenger for On-Demand service. If a passenger is capable of using fixed routes and is over age 60 and/or has a medically documented disability, he/she will receive a half-fare City Bus fixed route card and will not be approved for On-Demand service. If a decision is not made within the 21 day period, the applicant will be considered as eligible until a decision is made. If an applicant is denied, the applicant will receive an explanation in writing giving the specific reason they were denied. The applicant will also be provided an explanation of the appeals process in writing.  Application forms are available from the Liberal Transit office or online at www.cityofliberal.org.  The applicant will not be charged any “user fees” that cause an unreasonable burden upon the applicant, including doctor’s fees and application fees. 

Hours/Days of Operation

Hours are Monday through Friday (except New Year's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day) from 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. with the last call for return being  no later than 5:30 pm. Passengers must call early enough to allow drivers to return to the Liberal Transit garage by 6:00 p.m.  Rides must be scheduled by 5:00 p.m. of the previous day.

Cost   

Fare per person per one-way trip inside the City limits - $2.00. Monthly pass- $40.00 (unlimited paratransit and fixed-route rides must show Monthly Pass upon boarding or pay the fare). Half-fare rates for Fixed Routes ($15.00 for monthly pass or 50 cents per one-way trip) do not apply to the paratransit van, but if an unlimited paratransit pass is purchased, it can be used for Fixed-Route transportation.  $5.00 Punch Cards are available at the Liberal Transit office. All passes and punch cards are non-transferable, non-refundable and non-replaceable. In the case of a fare dispute, the passenger will pay the fare and report the circumstances to the Liberal Transit office. A one-way trip is considered to be one-way service to a location from another location whether or not the person disembarks. Children ages five and under ride free with a paying passenger.  Children ten and under must be accompanied by a person 16 or older and have the same origin and destination.  Children 11 to 16 must present a picture ID upon boarding to ride alone.

Scheduling Rides

To schedule a ride, call (620) 626-0100.  Scheduling must be done by calling this number and not by notifying the driver. 

All requests/changes/additions must be done by 5:00 p.m. the previous day.  The schedule becomes final at this time each day, including the Sunday evening before Monday's schedule.  We do not allow changes to be made to the schedule the day of your scheduled ride or book rides for same-day service.

Pick-Up Times/Wait Policy

Pick up window: Passengers must be at the main entrance 15 minutes ahead of their scheduled pick up time.  Drivers may also pick up 15 minutes after the scheduled time; however, they will arrive as close to the scheduled time as possible.  Drivers will not wait more thanfive minutes for anyone to board the bus from the scheduled pick up time.  If passengers do not board within five minutes, the driver will leave and will not return that day.  This will be considered a No Go, and all other rides scheduled for that day will be canceled.

No Shows/Cancellations

A “No Go” occurs when riders do notcancel a reservation at least two hours before the start of the scheduled pick up window and do not take the trip. This includes failing to be ready to board the bus within five minutes of its arrival during the pick-up window and/or cancelling when the bus arrives.  This is a serious infraction of City Bus rules.  Liberal Transit will attempt to contact riders who are not at the pick-up location when the vehicle arrives to let them know they must come to the vehicle or receive a No Go.  If riders cannot be contacted, a message will be left on an answering machine if available. If riders cause a No Go on the first half of a round trip, the second half will be cancelled unless they contact Liberal Transit immediately to retain the second half of the round trip. Liberal Transit will make every effort to dispatch a vehicle for these riders with the understanding that it will be on a first availability basis.  Riders will receive a warning in writing after the fourth No Go within six months. After the sixth No Go within six months, riders will be sent a suspension letter resulting in a 30 day suspension of service.  Because only two hours notice is needed to cancel, it is anticipated that most riders will be able to cancel in a timely fashion. Riders are not penalized for using a No Go if it occurs due to sudden emergencies which make it impossible for them to cancel. Riders are not penalized using a No Go if the bus arrived after the end of the pick-up window or if a reservation error was made by the dispatcher. Riders are encouraged to discuss their record with staff if they feel they a No Go is in error. Disputes regarding this policy will be referred to the Liberal Transit office through the grievance procedure.

Delays

Due to the number of rides provided, it is not always possible for buses to run exactly on schedule.  It is important to allow extra time to ensure passengers’ scheduling needs can be met.

Personal Assistance to Riders

Drivers may enter a commercial lobby to assist a rider to a vehicle but are not permitted to enter a residence.  Drivers are permitted to assist riders with activities directly related to boarding and de-boarding the bus.  Drivers are permitted to assist special needs passengers with their packages up to the limits outlined in guideline #12 up to the door of the residence.  One Personal Care Attendant (PCA) may ride with a disabled rider to assist them with their personal needs without charge.  Only drivers will operate mobility aid lift/restraint system equipment. All medical equipment (oxygen tanks, walkers, etc.) will be secured by the driver for the duration of the ride.  Drivers are permitted to assist in fastening/ unfastening seat belts/shoulder restraints if requested by riders. Child safety seats are available on all City Bus vehicles for parents/guardians to use on a first come first serve basis.

Mobility Aids

Section 37.3 of the DOT’s regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38) defines a " wheelchair" as a mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. A "wheelchair" does not exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length measured two inches above the ground and does not weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied. Drivers may assist passengers using mobility aids. Drivers will not assist passengers using mobility aids up or down stairs. Passengers are responsible for either a ramp or someone other than the bus driver to help them in and out of their home, doctor’s office, etc. where steps are present. Drivers are not permitted to assist individuals in transferring from a mobility aid to regular vehicle seating. Such riders must provide their own PCA to assist in their transfer. Drivers are not permitted to push mobility aids whose weight of combined passenger and mobility aid exceeds 300 lbs. These passengers are responsible for their own movement or a PCA to push and maneuver their mobility aid onto the bus into a forward facing position and to move it out of and away from the bus when de-boarding. All mobility aids must be secured by the 4 Point tie-down system, if the mobility aid is unable to be secured all reasonable steps will be taken to provide transportation .The rider will except all responsibility of riding unsecured in the mobility aid.  Powered mobility aids must be in the “off” position while in the van or on the lift.

Conduct, Hygiene and Prohibited Behaviors

If at any time drivers feel they are in an unsafe situation, they will have the right to exercise judgment, stop the vehicle and ask passengers to de-board or call authorities if needed. Inappropriate conduct, including behaviors which present a danger to other passengers, will not be tolerated.  These include but are not limited to intoxication, fighting, arguing, sexual harassment, threatening drivers or passengers, using foul or derogatory language including excessive conversation, playing loud audio devices or engaging in any type of business, legal or illegal, on the bus or at a bus stop. Anyone who poses a safety hazard to him/her or others by misplaced bodily fluids will be denied bus service. At the drivers’ discretion, riders who engage in persistent inappropriate and/or dangerous behavior may be required to de-board.  No alcoholic beverages may be consumed on the bus. No other food or drink may be consumed on the bus except for medical purposes allowed by drivers.  No smoking is allowed within 20 feet of vehicles. No tobacco usage or open containers, no weapons or ammunition and no hazardous material such as car batteries, gasoline, propane, etc. are allowed in City Bus vehicles.  If passengers are found to violate any of the aforementioned rules, they will be asked to de-board immediately and will not be allowed to ride again that day. If riders refuse to de-board when asked to do so by drivers for any of the reasons above, the police will be called to escort him/her off the vehicle. A second offense will result in a 30 day suspension. Any and all other occurrences of inappropriate and / or dangerous behavior will receive an additional 30 day suspension at each occurrence.

Service Animals

Only service animals are allowed on City Bus vehicles. A service animal has been individually trained to assist an individual with a disability. A “service animal” is defined as an animal that is individually trained to perform a specific task for a person with a disability. Service animals include, but are not limited to animals that guide individuals who are blind, alert individuals with hearing disabilities, pull wheelchairs or carry and pick up items for persons with mobility disabilities. Therapy animals which are used solely to provide emotional support are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Inclement Weather Policy  

In the event of inclement weather, check local radio, the bus answering machine (620-626-0100) or the City of Liberal Facebook page for related closings. Normally, if USD 480 closes, City Bus will also be closed.  However, the Liberal Transit Supervisor has the discretion to run City Bus service if USD 480 is closed.  Additionally, if USD 480 does not close but the Liberal Transit Supervisor deems the weather too severe to operate safely, then operations will cease for the day in question.

Limitations

Drivers will not carry or lift parcels/carry-on items greater than 20 pounds in weight. Drivers are not permitted to transport furniture or appliances for passengers.  

Emergencies  

City Bus vehicles are not designed for medical emergency situations (absent a natural disaster where vehicles may be used for evacuation).  Transportation will not be provided in these instances.  Persons having a medical emergency will be instructed to call 911 for an ambulance.

Handling of Complaints

This grievance procedure has been developed to assure passengers of fair and equitable access to City Bus services.  In the event of suspension, information outlining the appeals process will be sent with a suspension letter.  When a rider has any problem, the following procedure should be followed to resolve the conflict: each rider is expected to communicate to the Transit Supervisor in writing regarding ride-related actions, occurrences or attitudes perceived as unfair or inequitable.  A rider who believes he/she has suffered a grievance should communicate the matter to the Transit Supervisor within five working days of the occurrence of the alleged grievance in an attempt to arrive at a satisfactory solution.  The transit supervisor will have five working days to respond, making every effort to resolve the grievance at this level. If a resolution is not reached, the details will be forwarded to a committee within 30 days for their review. The committee’s decision will be final. City Bus is Title VI Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights compliant as posted in vehicles.  Copies are available upon request.