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Services for People with Disabilities | Easy Access (Stamford ADA)

Introduction

Easy Access is the door-to-door transportation service within the CT Transit, Stamford division service area required by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and its regulations require that CT Transit provide a paratransit service to individuals with disabilities that is comparable to the level of service provided to individuals without disabilities who use the CT Transit public bus service. The State of Connecticut Department of Transportation contracts with the Norwalk Transit District to provide this required service. Both the service eligibility requirements and the service design are in compliance with 49 CFR, Parts 37 and 38, Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities, of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

ADA paratransit is a shared ride, public transportation service. It is not medical transportation nor is it a personal taxi service and you should expect to be traveling with other riders who are going in the same direction as yourself. The service is not available everywhere and at all times. Please refer to our service area and service hours noted below.

Service Area

Easy Access is available for travel within Stamford and within ¾ mile radius of an operating CT Transit bus route within Greenwich, Darien and Norwalk.  Service outside this ¾ mile area in Greenwich and Darien is not provided.
 
Becoming Eligible

You may be eligible for ADA door-to-door services if:
As a result of a physical or mental impairment, and without the assistance of another individual (except the operator of a wheelchair lift), you are unable to board, ride or disembark from any public bus;

As a result of a specific impairment-related condition you are prevented from traveling to or from a bus stop on the public bus system; or

The interaction of your disability and barriers (architectural and environmental, such as curb cuts, distance, terrain or weather) prevent you from traveling to or from the public bus stop.

For your disability to be the basis for eligibility, the disability/health conditions must prevent you from traveling to a boarding location or from a disembarking location. The word “prevent” is very important. For anyone, going to a bus stop and waiting for a bus is more difficult and less comfortable than waiting for a vehicle at one's home. This is likely to be all the more true for an individual with a disability. But for many persons with disabilities, in many circumstances, getting to a bus stop is possible. If an impairment-related condition only makes the job of accessing transit more difficult than it might otherwise be, but does not prevent the travel, then the person is not eligible for paratransit.

Eligibility Process:
Before using this door-to-door service, you must complete an ADA Eligibility Certification Request form and mail it to our office to begin the review process.

It is important that you complete the entire form so we can provide you with the best possible service. Your eligibility certification will be based on the ADA eligibility guidelines noted above.  Mail the completed form to:

Norwalk Transit District
275 Wilson Avenue
Norwalk, Connecticut 06854

Download ADA Eligibility Form>>
Upon receipt of your completed form we will contact you to schedule a face-to-face interview.  Free round trip transportation will be provided for all individuals within the ADA Paratransit service area when traveling to the office to start the in-house application process if requested. We may also seek professional verification of your disability during the process.   If you are approved, you will receive your identification card and a service description brochure in the mail. 

The entire process may not exceed 21 days. The 21 day time frame begins at submission of the completed application. Applications are considered complete at the conclusion of interviews and assessments, not when applications are received. After you become eligible, the Norwalk Transit District will recertify you every three years.

When a transportation eligibility determination is made, a number of outcomes are possible:

  • Individuals may be found to be unconditionally eligible for all of their trips
  • Individuals may receive temporary eligibility based on a temporary circumstance, such as a broken leg or chemotherapy treatments
  • Individuals may be denied service entirely
  • Individuals may be conditionally eligible for service when other conditions (such as weather or terrain) affect their ability to access the regular bus

Appeals Procedure
If it is determined that you are not eligible for service; you will receive a letter along with information on how to appeal the decision. You may submit your appeal within 65 days in writing to the Norwalk Transit District to the attention of the CEO. If the CEO denies your appeal, you may re-submit your appeal to the attention of the Commissioners of the Norwalk Transit District. Free transportation will be provided to appeals hearing if requested.

Fares

Fare Increase effective December 4, 2016:



Fare tickets are valued at $3.50 individually or discounted at 10 tickets for $28.00. Easy Access passengers pay one fare ticket for a one-way trip within the CT Transit service area.

Purchasing Fare Tickets
Fare tickets must be purchased in advance as drivers do not accept cash. Fare tickets must be given to the driver before boarding the vehicle. Transportation will not be provided without the proper fare ticket.

Fare tickets may be purchased in person or by mail at:

Norwalk Transit District
275 Wilson Avenue
Norwalk, Connecticut 06854

(make checks payable to Norwalk Transit District in the exact amount)
Or over the phone using a credit card (Visa or Mastercard).  Call (203) 299-5160 for more information.

For your convenience, fare tickets may also be purchased at the following locations:

Stamford Government Center
888 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, Connecticut 06904

Transportation Association of Greenwich
13 Riverside Avenue
Riverside, Connecticut 06878

Using the Service

Reserve Your Ride
Call: (203) 299-5180 (Voice)

Reservation Hours:
Monday-Friday: Between 8 am and 5 pm
Saturday: Between 7 am and 4 pm
Sunday/Evening: Leave a voice message and your call will be confirmed the next morning by a dispatcher

All rides must be reserved a day in advance; we do not do same day trips. A same day trip is considered a trip reserved after 5 pm Monday-Friday, and after 4 pm on Saturday.

Trip Information
Tell the dispatcher the day you need service, your ID card number or your name, the pick-up and destination addresses, your appointment and return times, and if you have a personal attendant (person providing assistance) or will need special assistance.

Flexibility
The dispatcher does an excellent job, but it is inevitable that some trips will be more difficult to schedule at certain times. You will be most satisfied with our service if you can be flexible about your requests.

Negotiated Pickup Time
The reservationists have the right to negotiate requested pickup times. The negotiation window is one hour before or after the requested time. The negotiation window is subject to the rider's practical travel needs.

Pickup Window
Drivers are considered on time if they arrive 15 minutes before or 15 minutes after the negotiated pickup time. As an example, a rider with a negotiated 9:00 am pickup time may be picked up anytime between 8:45 am and 9:15 am. However, the Norwalk Transit District will make every effort to be on time as we know your trip is very important.

Getting Ready
Passengers should plan to be ready 15 minutes before their scheduled pick-up time and have their fare tickets in hand. Once passengers receive their ID card in the mail, it is a good idea to keep it on their person while using the service.

Driver Wait Times
To avoid delaying other passengers, drivers can only wait 5 minutes for passengers on all outgoing and return trips.

Delays
Traffic delays or other problems may sometimes result in an unavoidable late pick-up. Please wait at least 15 minutes after your scheduled pick-up time before calling us to inquire about your ride. We will make every effort to pick you up on time.

Trip Changes
Trip changes or requests for service cannot be made with the driver. All trip scheduling and destination changes must be made by calling the dispatcher prior to your trip.

Service Standards

Visitor Policy for ADA Service
Individuals that other transit agencies have determined to be ADA paratransit eligible can present documentation of eligibility.  NTD will give ‘full faith and credit’ to the ID card or other documentation from the other transit agency. NTD accepts this documentation directly from the individual. 

NTD may require an individual with a disability who does not have documentation of ADA paratransit eligibility from another transit agency because they reside in areas without public transit or they have not applied for eligibility in their home area to provide proof of residency or visitor status.

For a visitor whose disability is apparent NTD will not require additional documentation. For a visitor whose disability is not apparent (e.g., cognitive disability or cardiac condition), NTD may require documentation of disability, such as a letter from a medical professional or eligibility for other services based on a determination of the disability. Once this basic documentation is provided, NTD will make service available on the basis of the individual’s statement that he or she is unable to use the fixed route transit system.

NTD provides visitors with complementary paratransit service for any combination of 21 days during a 365-day period beginning with the visitor’s first use of the service. However, for visitors requesting service beyond the 21 days in the 365-day period, NTD requires the visitor to apply for paratransit services through our eligibility process.

Cancellations
You must notify us of your cancellation at least 2 hours before your scheduled pick-up time so that our vehicles will be free to serve other passengers. Cancellations not made in accordance with the above will be treated as a "no show".

NTD "No-Show" Policy/"No-Show" Appeal Process

ADA "NO-SHOW" POLICY
The NTD has established the following process for paratransit riders:

Riders must be ready during the entire 30-minute pick-up window (+/-15 minutes from negotiated pick-up time). During the pick-up window, the driver will only wait five (5) minutes once the vehicle arrives, before leaving for the next pick-up. An individual is considered a "No-Show" if he/she is not available for pick-up as described above. If the driver arrives before the start of the pick-up window, the five minute wait time will not begin until the start of the pick-up window. If the driver arrives late (after the pick-up window) and the rider chooses not to take the trip or is no longer present, it is not considered a No-Show.

When a pattern of “No-Shows” emerges, a letter will be sent to the rider informing him or her of the No-Show pattern. If a rider accumulates three "No-Shows" or “Late Cancelations” (cancellations not made at least 2 hours in advance of the negotiated pick-up time) or demonstrates a no show/late cancelation pattern equivalent to 20% or more of scheduled trips (whichever is greater) within a three-month period from the first "No-Show," the rider willbe suspended from use of the service for a period of no more than 30 calendar days.

The following suspension periods will be applied to violations of this policy that occur within the same rolling 12-month period.

  • 1st Violation will result in 7 day suspension from service
  • 2nd Violation will result in 14 day suspension from service
  • 3rd or subsequent violations will result in 30 day suspension from service

This rule will not apply to weather-related cancellations or to “No-Shows” that are not under the passengers control.

Riders have the right to appeal the decision and are given 15 days to submit the appeal in writing to the NTD. A copy of the "No-Show" Appeal Process is attached to each letter.

"NO-SHOW" APPEAL PROCESS
The NTD administrative "No-Show" appeal process is intended to give paratransit riders who have been denied service the opportunity to have their cases heard by an official other than the one who made the initial decision. Free transportation will be provided to appeal hearings if requested.

The "No-Show" appeal process is as follows:

  • Riders who wish to appeal a decision will have 15 days from receipt of the "No-Show" letter to appeal the decision in writing to the NTD.
  • Appeals will be heard and decided within 30 days of the receipt of request. While the appeal is in process, riders will continue to receive the paratransit service they were eligible for prior to the suspension of service. If the appeal extends beyond 30 days, riders will be able to receive transportation service until a final decision is rendered.
  • Appeals will be heard by a panel independent from the NTD.
  • Individuals who appeal have the right to speak in person on their own behalf and/or have others represent them (at the rider's expense) at appeal proceedings.
  • Individuals who appeal have the right to necessary accommodations, such as a sign language interpreter.
  • The determination resulting from the appeal will be in writing and will state the reason(s) for the decision.
  • If you have any questions regarding the Appeal Process, please contact the Civil Rights Officer at CustomerService@norwalktransit.com.

REQUESTS FOR APPEAL SHOULD BE MADE IN WRITING TO:
NTD Civil Rights Officer
Norwalk Transit District
275 Wilson Ave
Norwalk, CT 06854

Refusing ADA Service Due to Behavior
ADA service may be refused to a rider who engages in "violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct." Seriously disruptive conduct does not include behavior or appearance that only offends, annoys, or inconveniences other riders or drivers. An example of seriously disruptive conduct would be a verbal outburst directed at the driver or other passengers. This behavior may start out as seriously disruptive but become so threatening as to prevent a driver from safely operating the vehicle and, therefore, rise to a direct threat as well.

Ice and Snow
If at all possible, please keep your entry way and driveway clear of ice and snow. This will make it safer for our vehicles to get to you.

Courtesy
As a courtesy to others, smoking, eating or drinking on vehicles is prohibited at all times.

Tipping
Please help us by not offering tips to drivers as they cannot be accepted.

Trip Purpose
Certified passengers may use the door-to-door services to travel within the CT Transit service area for any reason...medical, employment, education, shopping or social.

Passenger Assistance

Reasonable Modification
Norwalk Transit District is committed to serving persons with disabilities. We back this commitment by providing services that make public transportation both easy and affordable for persons with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically provides that transportation entities are required to make service related reasonable modifications and accommodations to policies, practices, and procedures, to avoid discrimination and to ensure that any individual’s disability does not preclude her/him from having full access to our services. If you would like to request a reasonable modification or if you want to find out more about reasonable modifications call (203) 299-5180 and follow the process below:

  • Indicate you are requesting a reasonable modification to use a Norwalk Transit District service
  • Give your name and any other pertinent contact information
  • Tell us which service you are using (bus, shuttle or door-to-door services) or access to our facility
  • Provide the specific details of the modification request
Once we have gathered this information, we will work with you to provide a reasonable modification.

Driver Assistance
The door-to-door transportation service has a diverse fleet of vehicles and drivers receive intensive training in defensive driving and sensitivity to the special needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities. However, they do not enter homes and do not go beyond the lobby of a building.

Guidelines for Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices
A wheelchair is defined in the regulations as “a mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.”

The definition is consistent with the legislative history and intent to accommodate the wide range of devices used by individuals with mobility impairments. The definition does not include devices not intended for indoor use (e.g., golf carts or all-terrain vehicles) or devices not primarily designed to assist individuals with mobility impairments (e.g., bicycles or tricycles).

ADA operators must carry any wheelchair and occupant regardless of size and weight if the lift and the vehicle can physically accommodate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements. Legitimate safety requirements include such circumstances when “a wheelchair was of a size that would block an aisle, interfering with safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency.” A wheelchair user’s request to board a paratransit vehicle separately from his or her device when the occupied weight of the device exceeds the design load of the vehicle lift should generally be granted.

ADA operators are also not required to permit wheelchairs to ride in places other than designated securement locations in the vehicle. NTD’s safety policy requires a 4-point securement for wheelchairs. Riders using three-wheeled scooters are strongly encouraged to transfer out of their scooter into the seat of the Paratransit vehicle whenever possible. Scooters cannot always be adequately secured and may present a safety hazard to the user, the driver and other riders if individuals are transported seated in the scooter. Riders who are transferable are able to move from their mobility device to the seat of the vehicle, and back with a minimum of assistance from the driver. A minimum of assistance is defined as a driver extending an arm or stabilizing the mobility device while the rider transfers. Drivers are prohibited from lifting or carrying riders. Also use of the shoulder and lap belt is recommended for the rider’s maximum safety.

Personal Care Attendants (PCA) and Companions
Personal Care Attendants are individuals whose assistance is needed by a rider to travel. Anyone who is involved in the "helping process" required by the rider to travel, either while riding on the service or after reaching a destination, is considered a PCA. Some riders may require a PCA on all trips or may only require one on some trips. A rider is entitled to use different PCAs rather than the same one at all times. If you have a personal attendant/aide accompanying you on a trip, please let us know when reserving your ride. That person may ride for free. They must be picked up and dropped off at the same location as you.

Additional individuals accompanying you shall be provided service, provided that space is available for them on the paratransit vehicle. These individuals would be known as Companions. Companions must be picked up and dropped off at the same location as you and must pay the appropriate fare ticket for the trip.

Service Animals
Service animals are always welcome on the ADA Paratransit vehicles. Service animals are defined as, “ [A]ny 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.”

Service animals are animals that are “individually trained to work or perform tasks.” This training can be by an organization or by an individual, including the individual with a disability. Transit agencies are not required to transport animals that have not been individually trained to perform specific work or tasks. However, NTD’s policy also allows animals whose function is to provide emotional support or comfort for the rider.

Our drivers may ask riders two questions: (1) is the animal a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

When you are reserving a trip, please let our Reservationists know if you will be traveling with a service animal. ADA riders with a service animal must maintain control of their animal at all times. The Paratransit driver will refuse to transport a service animal if it demonstrates disruptive behavior such as growling, being threatening, or lunging towards passengers or other animals on the ADA vehicle.

Shopping Bags/Carry-Ons
Please limit the number of shopping bags/carry-ons to no more than five (5). Shopping bags/carry-ons should not take up more than one seat. Drivers will be happy to assist you with grocery/shopping bags which are durable and weigh no more than twenty (20) pounds. A driver will not assist with any boxes. If you need assistance with a box, the box must be in a bag as described above. The driver will not be able to assist with cases of soda, water, soup, etc. Although the driver will assist you with bags from the designated safe entrance of a store to the Paratransit vehicle, under no circumstances will a driver go into a store or an ADA rider’s residence. If a rider is traveling with a personal care attendant (PCA), friend, escort or companion and they choose to carry additional bags for the rider, the additional bags are only allowed if there is room on the vehicle.

Safe Riding and Seatbelt Policy
For safe riding, passengers are required to use seatbelts/ and or shoulder harnesses. If you need assistance, ask the driver.

Service Days and Hours

Service is available every day of the week. CTTransit operates many routes in the Greenwich, Stamford and Darien service area, however each route operates different days of the week and different service hours. Passengers are encoraged to go to the CTTransit - Stamford division website and review the service map to learn which routes operate where you may need to travel. Once you have found the appropriate route, you can go to the schedules for operating hours. We will be happy to help you navigate this process.  Call (203) 299-5180 (Voice) for more information.

Comments and Complaints

We want to ensure that your ride with us meets your travel needs and is safe and reliable. We welcome your comments, complaints and compliments.

To learn more about our services or to let us know of any problems you experience or questions you may have, you can write to us in this "contact us" section of this web-site. Please email us at CustomerService@norwalktransit.com

Or you may write us or visit us at:

Norwalk Transit District
275 Wilson Avenue
Norwalk, Connecticut 06854

Or You can also call us at 203-299-5180.

We will log all your comments and follow-up with a response, if one is required, within a reasonable period of time. If your complaint is related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or your civil rights under Title VI, please go to the ADA complaint form or the Title VI complaint process and follow the directions.

All customer complaints, including ADA and Title VI will be coordinated by the:

Manager of Planning and Marketing
Norwalk Transit District
275 Wilson Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854
203-852-0000 extension 2164
CustomerService@norwalktransit.com

 

Norwalk | Westport | Stamford
Intertown

 

Services for the Elderly & People with Disabilities>>

ADA Eligibility Form>>

Fares

New Fares effective December 4, 2016

Fare tickets are valued at $3.50 individually or discounted at 10 tickets for $28.00.
One-way trip - One ticket.



More Info, Call:
(203) 299-5180 (Voice)

 

 
 
     
 
 

Norwalk Transit District | 275 Wilson Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854 | 203-852-0000
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