Personal Care Attendants and Companions
A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) is an individual who travels with an ADA eligible rider to assist that person. This may either be an employee of the eligible rider, a relative, a friend, or a care provider. ADA regulations specify that paratransit service must be provided to PCAs at no cost when traveling with an eligible rider. During the ADA application process, the functional assessment includes an evaluation to determine whether a PCA is appropriate when requested by the applicant. One companion is permitted to accompany any ACCESS eligible rider in addition to a PCA. Companions must pay the full $3.90 per trip.
Whenever a rider is going to be accompanied by a PCA, companion, or service animal, you must notify the ACCESS reservation operator when scheduling the ride to ensure that space is available on the vehicle.
Children under the age of 5 years who are ADA eligible must be accompanied by a responsible adult. That adult will be considered a PCA and will be allowed to ride at no charge.
ADA guidelines define a "common wheelchair" as a device no larger than 30 inches wide and 48 inches long when measured two inches above the ground. The guidelines also state a "common wheelchair" does not weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied. However, per new ADA requirements OCTA must carry a wheelchair and occupants if the lift and the vehicle can physically accommadate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements.
Customers with scooters and wheelchairs are advised to transfer to a seat in the vehicles.
Riders who require medication and/or oxygen at regular intervals are advised that their travel time could be up to 90 minutes. Riders with these conditions should consider traveling with a PCA.
Riders are limited to 2 grocery bag sized packages, along with a small, personal sized shopping cart to transport them (this excludes PCAs and companions). Drivers are not required to assist riders with packages, shopping carts, luggage or other personal items.
OCTA is concerned about the safety and comfort of its riders and drivers. For this reason, violent, illegal, or disruptive behavior is not permitted on OCTA vehicles. If a driver reports inappropriate behavior by a rider, companion, or PCA, the incident is investigated. If inappropriate behavior continues to occur, service may be suspended or OCTA may require a PCA travel with a person as a condition to ride.
Service may not be refused to an individual with disabilities solely because the individual's disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy, or inconvenience the ACCESS driver or other passengers.
ACCESS service may be refused if a service animal is seriously disruptive.
ACCESS will work with parents, PCAs, day programs, care providers, employers or anyone immediately involved with the rider to educate them on appropriate behavior aboard public transportation.
Riders using any ACCESS service, including subscription, are encouraged to cancel reservations that are not needed as soon as possible. At the latest, a trip must be canceled one hour before the scheduled time, otherwise, the trip will be marked as a no-show.
A no-show will be counted when an ACCESS rider is not at the designated location during the 30-minute scheduled pick-up window or fails to call ACCESS to cancel the trip at least two hours prior to the trip. If the rider is not at the pick-up location during the 30-minute window, the driver will wait 5 minutes before marking the rider a no-show and proceeding. In addition, a rider who cannot be left alone will receive a no-show if the care provider or agency, if required, is not present to receive the rider at the drop-off destination. There are penalties for more than three no-shows in a single month. When a no-show happens, the following occurs:
- First no-show within a calendar month: no notification is made.
- Second no-show within a calendar month: warning letter is sent including information on both first and second no-shows and specifying suspension of service should a third no-show occur in the same calendar month. A phone call is made to visually impaired riders.
- Third no-show within a calendar month: rider is contacted in writing regarding their no-show status. If an appeal is not received in writing, service is suspended for 30 days.
A rider may appeal any no-show believed to be incorrect or beyond the rider's control. Information on how to appeal a no-show is included in the warning and suspension letter. An appeal must be submitted in writing. If a rider has three no-shows in a calendar month that are determined valid, a temporary service suspension will be scheduled. The suspension may be appealed to a formal appeals board. A rider has 65 days to appeal the suspension in writing and will receive notification of the appeal decision before the suspension takes effect.