How is paratransit eligibility determined?
Disability alone does not determine paratransit eligibility; the decision is based on the applicant’s functional ability to use the fixed route bus and is not a medical decision. The Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in Appendix D to 49 C.F.R. Section 37.125 explain: “The substantive eligibility process is not aimed at making a medical or diagnostic determination. While evaluation by a physician (or professionals in rehabilitation or other relevant fields) may be used as part of the process, a diagnosis of a disability is not dispositive. What is needed is a determination of whether, as a practical matter, the individual can use fixed route transit in his or her own circumstances.” Transit agencies, with input from the communities they serve, devise the specifics of their individual eligibility processes. The DOT ADA regulations in Section 37.125 set only broad requirements that all agencies must incorporate, such as written notification of eligibility decisions and an opportunity for an appeal. This regulation may be accessed here.