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Home > Special Services > A Guide to Paratransit (Van) Services for the Disabled

A Guide to Paratransit (Van) Services for the Disabled

​A paratransit van.

Wichita Transit’s Paratransit Service provides CURB-TO-CURB, SHARED RIDE, accessible van service to people with physical, cognitive or visual disabilities who are functionally unable to independently use Wichita Transit’s fixed route bus service either all the time, temporarily or only under certain circumstances. A modern fleet of wheelchair-accessible vans and specially-trained drivers provide this federally-mandated service.

In addition, daily rides are provided to and from social service organizations through Wichita Transit's purchased transportation program. Clients who need assistance beyond the curb for routine trips to common destinations may be referred by Wichita Transit to one of the following transportation providers: Starkey, KETCH, Catholic Charities Adult Day Care, ResCare, Envision, and CPRFK. Disability alone does not establish paratransit service eligibility; the decision is based SOLELY on the applicant’s functional ability to use the fixed-route bus service. Wichita Transit's paratransit service is a "safety net" for those persons who do not have the functional abilities to access and ride the fixed-route bus system.

The service is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA is a civil rights bill and is designed to remove barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in society. In the area of public transportation, the ADA states that regular bus service should be the primary means of public transportation for everyone, including people with disabilities. In some instances, ADA-eligible persons may be transported by paratransit vans to the Transit Center or to other points where they can access the fixed-route bus system. Wichita Transit’s fixed-route bus service is ADA-accessible. All buses include a wheelchair lift or ramp and drivers announce major bus stops and street intersections. In addition, all schedules and information brochures are available in alternative formats, including audio tape and Braille.

Certification of Eligibility

The paratransit service is available to individuals who cannot use regular bus services due to physical or mental disabilities covered under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To become eligible for the paratransit service, you must completely fill out an Application for ADA Paratransit Eligibility and submit it to Wichita Transit. Once the application has been processed, individuals will receive a letter advising them of their eligibility status. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Applications are available at and can be submitted to the Transit Center at 214 S. Topeka, Wichita Transit's administrative offices at 777 E. Waterman, or by calling 337-9479.

Once you are eligible, you must notify Wichita Transit of any changes in your address, phone number, or disability. There is no time limit on eligibility for persons with permanent disabilities; however, Wichita Transit reserves the right to periodically update an individual’s eligibility.

​Van Service Hours

Van service hours generally run the same hours as the fixed-route bus. Normal operating hours are:

​Day ​Time
​Monday - Friday ​5:15 AM - 6:30 PM
​Saturday ​6:25 AM - 5:30 PM
​Sunday ​No service available

Scheduling Van Rides

To schedule trips, you must contact the scheduling office between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM at least one day, but not more than seven (7) days, before you need the ride. Trips may be scheduled by calling 352-4828. Trip requests are not taken before 8:00 AM. It is requested that rides for Monday also be scheduled on the preceding Friday; however, you may call between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Saturday or between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Sunday to request rides for the following Monday. Should you choose to request a ride for Monday, on the preceding Sunday, the request will be received by way of an automatic recording device. This may also be the case for ride requests made on Saturday. Even though Wichita Transit offices are not open on Sunday, every effort will be made to fit Monday ride requests, which are requested on Saturday or Sunday, into Monday’s van schedules.

When scheduling a trip, please be ready to provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • The date you are traveling
  • Your pick-up address (including business name)
  • Any special pick-up instructions
  • The time you need to be at your destination
  • Your return destination (including business name)
  • If needed, the time of your return trip
  • If a guest or a personal care attendant will be with you

As established by the ADA and the Federal Transit Administration, Wichita Transit may schedule a pick-up a maximum of one hour before the requested pick-up time or a maximum of one hour after the requested pick-up time for the return trip.

Confirming your Trip

Your trip and the 30-minute pick-up window will typically be confirmed at the time you place the trip request (the exception is for new subscription trips). If you are provided the 30-minute pick-up window when you placed the trip request, there is no need to recall special services. If the 30-minute pick-up window is not provided to you at the time of the trip request, you will need to call the day of the trip to get the pick-up window (this will be the case for new subscription trips).

Tips for Scheduling Service

When scheduling trips, allow ample time to finish appointments. This is needed so you will be ready to board the vehicle at your scheduled pick-up time. Be aware of opening or closing times at your destination to avoid waiting outside the building before or after business hours. When scheduling your trips, please consider these suggestions:

  • Allow adequate time to reach your destination.
  • Allow extra time for the pick-up and drop-off of other passengers before reaching your destination.
  • Allow for traffic conditions and weather delays.

If you are going to a doctor’s office or other medical appointment, let the person who is making your medical appointment know you will be using Wichita Transit’s paratransit service. Ask them how much time should be allowed for the appointment. This will help you to set your return time. Please allow adequate time for your medical appointment. If you miss your ride home because you under-estimated how long the appointment will take, the needs of other paratransit customers may not allow Wichita Transit to come back a second time. In this case, you will need to find alternative transportation home. If Wichita Transit is able to return a second time, the needs of other customers may require that you wait several hours after you completed your appointment. In this case, please be patient. It is your responsibility to determine with your doctor how much time to allow for the medical appointment.

Cancellations/No-Shows

Trips must be cancelled at least one hour before the scheduled pick-up time. It is important to call the scheduling office to cancel trips as soon as possible so others can be scheduled in your place. Trips that are not cancelled at least one hour before the beginning of the 30-minute pick up window shall be considered No-Shows. A No-Show occurs when you fail to board the vehicle during the 30-minute pick-up window.

Return Trip Cancellations

You must cancel your return trip if you cancel or No-Show the first part of your trip. You will receive an additional No-Show for return trips that are not canceled.

Actions Resulting from No-Shows

The following actions will be taken because of No-Shows within any 90-day period:

  • 1st No-Show Written warning accompanied by copy of No-Show policy
  • 2nd No-Show Written warning accompanied by copy of No-Show policy
  • 3rd No-Show If applicable, 30-day loss of subscription service privileges
  • 4th No-Show 30-day total service suspension

A 6-month suspension from service will be imposed for a second total service suspension received within any 12-month period.

Actions Resulting from Excessive Cancellations

Even when a trip is cancelled a day in advance or at least one hour before the established pick-up window, a pattern of excessive cancellations often times causes the paratransit service not be available at the time other customers desire service. In response to this situation, Wichita Transit has implemented a policy to address a pattern of excessive cancellations. The policy is as follows:

  • Persons canceling more that 50% of their demand (nonsubscription) trips for any 30-day period MAY receive 14-day total service suspension.
  • A 45-day suspension from service will be imposed for a second total service suspension received within any 12-month period.

Riding the Paratransit Service

Pick-up/Drop-off Procedures

The paratransit service is a curb-to-curb, shared ride program that compliments Wichita Transit’s fixed-route bus service. Riders must be waiting at the sidewalk or at another safe waiting area in front of, or as close as possible to, the entrance of the pick-up location. The van driver will wait for a rider at the curb of a public street, in front of, or as close as possible to the rider’s designated pick-up location. Wichita Transit drivers cannot enter a building or come to the door to assist passengers. If a rider needs assistance exiting the pick-up location or entering the destination location, a companion or personal care attendant must be available to assist. For drop-offs, the operator will drop the rider off at the sidewalk or another safe location next to the curb in front of, or as close as possible to, the designated drop-off location.

If your pick-up is at an apartment complex, nursing home, or adult program/day care center, it is the rider’s responsibility to let the scheduler know if there any special instructions are needed, such as security gated entries, apartment building numbers, or multiple entrances to large institutions. Otherwise, van drivers will pick-up and drop-off at the main entrance or designated/predetermined points of entry. If the rider fails to inform the scheduler of special instructions and the pick-up cannot be made, it will be recorded as a No-Show.

Passenger Assistance by Van Drivers DOES NOT include the following:

  • Assisting passengers on unsafe or steeply inclined mobility ramps or stairs.
  • Locking/unlocking doors or activating/deactivating alarms to any facility or residence.
  • Loading and unloading personal items (except as provided for in the Packages section of this guide – see page 13).
  • Handling service animals.
  • Handling the controls of electric wheelchairs or scooters.
  • Providing medical treatment.
  • Scheduling trips, changing schedules, confirming future trips, making change for fares or keeping track of fare overpayments.

Pick-up Window

THERE IS A 30-MINUTE PICK-UP WINDOW AT EACH PICK-UP LOCATION. Passengers must be ready to board the van ANYTIME within the 30-minute pick-up window. When the van arrives anytime within the 30-minute pick-up window, it will wait five minutes before it leaves.  If the passenger does not board the vehicle, the passenger will be marked as a No-Show, and the van will leave.

For example, if your pick-up window is between 10:00 AM and 10:30 AM, the van can come anytime during that 30-minute window.  They will wait only five minutes.  If you are not there between 10:00 AM and 10:30 AM, and the van comes, you will be marked as a No-Show.

THE VAN OPERATOR AND/OR DISPATCHER WILL NOT CALL THE PASSENGER TO ADVISE THAT THE VEHICLE HAS ARRIVED.  It is the responsibility of the passenger to be at the curb to board when the van arrives.  If you are unsure of your pick-up window, please call Special Services at 352-4828.

Use of Wheelchairs and other Mobility Devices

Wichita Transit will make every attempt to accommodate common wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices. As defined by the ADA, these devices are not to exceed 48 inches in length, 30 inches in width, and 600 pounds in total weight (occupied). Mobility devices exceeding these standards may be denied service. For passenger safety, Wichita Transit will not transport riders using broken mobility devices. Since DOT ADA regulations’ definition of a common wheelchair does not include a requirement for brakes, working brakes on wheelchairs and similar mobility devices CANNOT be required. However, for safety reasons, Wichita Transit strongly recommends that wheelchairs and similar devices be equipped with working brakes. Please be sure that wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices are clean, safe, and in good working condition before using the Paratransit Service. Individuals who cannot board the vehicle using the steps may use the wheelchair lift.

Securing of Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices

Wichita Transit will make every attempt to secure standard wheelchairs and scooters. If it is too difficult or impossible to secure the wheelchair or mobility device, the van driver may suggest that the rider transfer to a van seat. It is the rider’s choice to transfer or remain in their mobility device. The Federal Transit Administration has advised that the ADA does not allow transportation to be denied if the mobility device cannot be secured.

Use of Portable Oxygen

The ADA provides that transportation service must be provided to a rider who needs to bring along an oxygen bottle. For safety reasons, it is the policy of Wichita Transit to require the rider to maintain control of the oxygen bottle. If the rider cannot pull an oxygen bottle cart or carry or maintain control of the bottle by himself or herself, then the rider shall provide a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to perform those functions. When choosing to ride shared public transportation, it is the responsibility of the rider to select a size of oxygen bottle that they can control.

When To Be Ready

A paratransit vehicle may arrive any time within the 30-minute arrival or pick-up window. You must be ready to board the vehicle immediately upon arrival. After waiting 5 minutes, the vehicle will leave. If you did not board the vehicle you will be marked as a No-Show.

When the van arrives, you are required to have exact change or a valid van pass for your fare payment. The van driver cannot take you to your destination without the required fare. Due to tracking issues, customers are not permitted to pay for more than one trip at a time, i.e., pay for all of day’s rides at once. Exceptions to this rule may be established for nursing homes or assisted care facilities.

Late Vehicles

Wichita Transit vehicles experience the same traffic and weather conditions as the rest of the commuting public. Occasionally, our vans may be late for a pick-up. If the vehicle has not arrived by the end of your 30-minute pick-up window, please call Wichita Transit at 352-4828. Please wait until the 30-minute window expires before calling.

We will advise you of the status of the vehicle and what time to expect its arrival. If the van fails to arrive, within 60 minutes from the beginning of your 30-minute pick-up window, Wichita Transit will provide the ride free of charge.

Personal Care Attendant

A PCA may accompany a rider at no additional charge. However, your application for ADA Paratransit Eligibility must declare the need for a PCA or your file must indicate that you are eligible to have a PCA travel with you. You must reserve space for your PCA when scheduling your trip.

If a person demonstrates that they do not have the skills required for a "curb-to-curb" service and arrangements have not been made with persons at both the pick-up and drop-off location to provide needed assistance, Wichita Transit will require that a PCA travel with the person. If the person elects not to provide a PCA, then Wichita Transit’s paratransit service is not the correct transportation service for them. In this case, the person will need to seek alternative transportation.

Guests

Guests are welcome to ride with you for $3.50 per one-way trip. Unless other arrangements have been made, limited space does not allow a rider more than one guest per trip. In addition, you must reserve seating for your guest (including children) when scheduling your trip. Seating for more than one guest is based on the availability of space. This will be determined when you schedule your trips. Children accompanying you are considered guests. Children under the age of six years travel free and must be accompanied by an ADA-eligible adult rider.

Packages

Except when transported by way of a shopping cart described below, packages are limited to two grocery bags or similar sized packages. Van drivers may help a rider carry two packages on and off the vehicle from the same sidewalk or waiting area where the rider boards and gets off the vehicle. The van driver cannot carry packages to the door. Any packages handled by the driver shall weigh no more than 20 pounds each. When on the van, it is the responsibility of the passenger to maintain control of packages. If the passenger is unable to control the packages by themselves, then a PCA needs to be provided to perform that function.

Provided there is space available, a shopping cart or similar device may be used by the rider to transport packages or other items if:

  1. the rider can handle the cart without assistance from the driver,
  2. the cart will not cause damage to the paratransit vehicle, and
  3. the size of the cart allows it to be placed next to the rider and not overhang the aisle or otherwise pose a safety hazard.

Visitors

Out of town visitors, who are ADA-eligible, may access Wichita Transit’s paratransit service. Out-of-town visitors, without proof of ADA eligibility, must certify in writing that a disability precludes their use Wichita Transit’s accessible fixed-route system. If an out-of-town visitor without proof of ADA eligibility rides the paratransit service 21 days within a one-year time period, they must apply for and receive ADA eligibility status in order to continue riding the paratransit service.

Service Animals

Guide dogs and other service animals are allowed to accompany you if this need is indicated on your eligibility application or is stated in your file. Please inform the scheduling office if a service animal will be accompanying you on your trip. All service animals must be leashed or harnessed during the entire trip. Animals must not pose a threat to any passenger or the van operator. Animals shall not block or in any way obstruct aisles or doorways.

Rider Conduct

In order to ensure the safety and comfort of all riders and the van driver, riders, their personal care attendant and any companion(s) traveling with riders must adhere to the following rules of conduct:

  • No eating, drinking, or smoking while on board the vehicle.
  • No riding under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs as defined in Kansas Statutes governing operation of motor vehicles.
  • No abusive, threatening or obscene language or actions.
  • No deliberate fare evasion.
  • No physical or verbal abuse of another rider, or the van driver.
  • No operating or tampering with any equipment while on the vehicle.
  • Unless a headset or earphones are used, radios, cassette tape players, compact disc players or other sound generating equipment shall not be played on the vehicle.
  • No petting guide dogs or other service animals without the permission of the owner.
  • Baby strollers must be folded and stowed so as not to block the aisle or cause injury to persons on the van.
  • Heads, arms and other body parts must be kept inside the van and objects must not be thrown from van windows.
  • Except when they are boarding and unboarding, passengers shall remain seated and shall refrain from actions that divert or distract the van driver from operating the vehicle.
  • For safety reasons, passengers may not transport on transit vehicles car batteries, fireworks, flammable liquids, or propane bottles

Denial of Service Policy

Riders, their PCAs, or companions traveling with riders who violate rules of conduct are subject to penalties, including suspension of service. Riders, their PCAs, or companions traveling with riders who engage in physical abuse or cause physical injury to another rider or van driver, or who engage in other illegal activities, may be subject to immediate and permanent suspension, and possible criminal prosecution.

Riders or their PCAs, or companions who engage in activity that disrupts the operation of the paratransit service, may also be subject to a suspension of service. If a rider is disruptive to Wichita Transit service, Wichita Transit reserves the right to require that a PCA travel with the rider as an option to service suspension.

In addition, paratransit van service will be denied to any person who poses a potential public health threat. The existence of excrement on clothes or on hands poses the potential for the spread of diseases like shigellosis. Contact with other body fluids, such as blood or vomit, poses an HIV or hepatitis B and/or C threat.

If the van arrives for a pick-up and the passenger or his or her clothing is soiled with feces, urine, vomit, or blood or the passenger displays a draining sore or an open wound, which is not dressed in a manner that prevents seepage of bodily fluids, the passenger has the choice of:

  1. "wait listing" the trip until they have cleaned themselves and/or clothes have been changed or the sore or wound is dressed in manner to prevent the seepage of bodily fluids or
  2. having the incident considered as a "refusal of service".

In the case of "wait listing", a second van will be dispatched when permitted by daily trip load and a No-Show will not be recorded for the initial scheduled pick-up.

In the case of a refusal of service, the van driver shall seek prior approval from an Operations supervisor before refusing service to any individual. If the Operations supervisor determines that a potential threat to public health exists as described above:

  1. service will be refused,
  2. a No-Show will not be recorded and
  3. the van driver or Operations supervisor will present to the person a NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY FOR A GRIEVANCE HEARING. A copy of that notice is attached, and the policy and procedure statements included on that notice are made a part of this policy by reference.
  4. If the passenger files a written request for a grievance hearing within 60 days of the service refusal, the hearing will be scheduled. The hearing shall be conducted on a date within 15 days of the date on which the request for a hearing was received.

    Wichita Transit will provide free transportation to and from the hearing. If the person No-Shows for the hearing, the person will be marked as a No-Show and the hearing rescheduled. In the case of rescheduling, the hearing date may be more than 15 days from the date the request for hearing was received.

    If the person No-Shows for the second hearing, the person will be marked as a No-Show and will be deemed to have waived their right to a hearing.

Children

An adult must accompany all children under six years of age. They cannot ride unattended. If traveling with an eligible fare-paying adult, children under six years of age ride free.

Children under six years of age will be considered for paratransit eligibility based on the functional ability of both the accompanying adult and child (as a team) to use fixed-route bus service. When an eligible child is traveling with an adult (who is serving as a PCA), a fare must be paid for the child and the adult attendant rides free.

If the child is six years of age or younger, or weighs less than 40 pounds, Wichita Transit strongly recommends that the child be secured in a child safety seat. Wichita Transit does not provide safety seats for children.

An adult accompanying a child on paratransit is responsible for the child. Drivers are not permitted to carry children on or off the vehicle. If you will need assistance with the child, please bring someone else along to help you.

Pets

Animals that are not service animals may ride on a paratransit vehicle only if they are properly secured in a cage or kennel. For safety reasons, drivers are not permitted to carry cages or kennels on or off of the paratransit vehicle. If you need assistance with a pet, please arrange to travel with someone who can help you.

Subscription Service

Subscription service is limited to riders traveling to the same place at the same time at least twice a week for a minimum period of 30 days. Wichita Transit will terminate any subscription service that is cancelled 50% or more of the time during any 30-day period or if there is a consistent pattern of cancellations for any part of the subscription.

Appeals

Wichita Transit allows for individuals who are denied eligibility or access to service due to suspension or other penalties to request an appeal hearing by writing:

Transportation Development Coordinator - ADA
Wichita Transit
777 E. Waterman
Wichita, KS 67202

Wichita Transit has an appeals process as required by the Federal Transit Administration. Copies of the appeals process may be obtained by calling the scheduling office at 352-4828 or by calling the Transportation Development Coordinator - ADA at 337-9479.

Complaints or Comments

Complaints or comments about the WT Paratransit Service may be made in writing or made by way of telephone. To submit in writing, please mail to:

Customer Service Manager
214 S. Topeka
Wichita, KS 67202

To submit by telephone, call 337-9476.

© City of Wichita 2011. All rights reserved.