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 $3.60 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. A customer may be suspended if the number of no-shows or late cancellations received during any single month exceeds 10 percent of their overall scheduled monthly trips OR the number of no-shows or late cancellations exceeds five (5) during any single month. When a no-show happens, the following occurs:
No-Show and Late Cancellation Appeals
- First and second no-shows or late cancellations within a calendar month: no notification is made.
- Third no-show or late cancellation within a calendar month: warning letter may be sent to the customer’s address of record. This notification will advise the customer of OCTA’s intent to suspend the customer from service for a period of thirty (30) days.
- Customers may submit a request to excuse any no-show or late cancellation that they believe to be incorrect or beyond their control within fifteen (15) days from the date of the warning letter.
If a customer’s no-shows or late cancellations exceed 10 percent of their overall scheduled monthly trips or he/she has accrued five (5) or more no-shows or late cancellations in a calendar month and receives a notice of suspension, the suspension may be appealed with a formal appeals board. Complete information about the appeals process will be included with the service suspension letter. The customer will have 15 days to appeal the suspension and will receive notification within 30 days of the appeal decision before a suspension takes effect.