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Home > Accessibility > Paratransit

Paratransit

Most of the standard buses and streetcars are equipped to serve disabled riders. Some riders, however, may have a temporary or permanent disability that prevents them from using the standard RTA system. For these customers, the RTA offers paratransit rides, as required by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you are a qualified paratransit rider, a bus or van will pick up you up at the curb in front of most any address and drop you off at the curb at almost any other address within Orleans Parish. This service is different than a taxi service, because you share the paratransit bus or van with other riders. You also need to reserve your ride in advance. See Reservations below.

All qualified paratransit riders need to have an RTA Paratransit Card. For information on eligibility and applying for an RTA Paratransit Card, visit the Eligibility for Paratransit page.

Hours of Operation and Costs

The RTA Paratransit Service operates every day of the year. Hours are from 4:00 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday, and 5:00 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.
 

Paratransit (with RTA ADA-Certification)

Streetcar

FREE

Bus

FREE

Ferry

FREE

Paratransit Services

$2.00

 
 


Reservations

To make a reservation to ride the RTA Paratransit Service, call the reservation line.

(504) 827-7433

Phones are answered from
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.

When you call, please make sure you have:

  • An RTA Paratransit Service Card – You may need to provide information on the card to the phone operator, and without a card, the driver will not let you board.

  • Street addresses – You will need to tell the phone operator the street address of your pick-up point and the street address of your drop-off point.

  • The times of your travel – You can book your trip for any time during the following day or up to five days in advance. For example, if you’re calling on a Sunday, you can reserve rides for any times between the following Monday through the following Friday.

  • Pencil and paper – The phone operator may ask you to jot down some information about your trip.

When considering the times you wish to travel, remember that at least one hour must pass between trips. For example, if you are scheduled to be dropped off at an address at 1:00 p.m., you can not request a pick up at 1:30 p.m. Instead, you need to schedule your pick up at 2:00 p.m. or later.

Also when considering the times you wish to travel, remember that the paratransit bus is shared between you and other riders. It may make several stops before you arrive at your destination. The length of your trip will depend on the number of other riders sharing the bus with you. Although rides are typically much shorter, your trip could take as long as 90 minutes.

Reservations

Riding with Friends and Family

One friend or family member can travel with you on a paratransit bus. Your companion does not need an RTA Paratransit Service Card but will need to pay a $2.00 fare each way.
Please tell the phone operator that someone is coming with you when you make your reservation.

Riding with Personal Care Attendants

Your RTA Paratransit Service Card may say that you need a personal care attendant to travel with you. This need will have been determined during your evaluation when you applied for paratransit eligibility.

If the RTA has indeed determined that you require a personal care attendant to travel with you, the personal care attendant will ride free of charge. In addition, you may still have one companion travel with you for a $2.00 fare.

If your RTA Paratransit Service Card does not say that you require a personal care attendant but you still wish have one ride with you, he or she may accompany you as your one companion for a $2.00 fare.

When you make your reservation, please tell the phone operator who will be coming with you.

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Procedures

We use modern buses equipped with wheelchair lifts and mini-vans equipped with ramps to provide paratransit transportation. Sometimes our passengers ask for a particular type of vehicle for their rides, but the RTA cannot honor these requests. You can rest assured that a vehicle appropriate for your disability will arrive to take you to where you need to go.

The RTA bus or mini-van will pick you up and drop you off at a sidewalk curb. The curb location will be as close as safely possible to the pick-up and drop-off addresses you gave the phone operator when you made your reservation.

Driver Assistance

Drivers can help passengers in certain ways. They may, upon your request, push your manual wheelchair between the curb and the vehicle, lend a steady arm to help you get in or get out of a vehicle, and point you in the right direction or act as a sighted guide if you have a vision disability.

On the other hand, our drivers cannot escort any passengers into or out of homes or buildings. They need to stay with their vehicles. In addition, drivers may not operate or push your electric wheelchair or scooter, may not push your manual wheelchairs up or down stairs or steep inclines, may not lift or carry any passenger, and may not carry packages or other items for you. As part of their job training, drivers are told they must not do any of these things, so please do not ask them to do anything they are not allowed to do.

If you need more assistance than drivers are able to give, you should make arrangements to have an attendant ready to help you at your pick-up and drop-off locations.

When Your Attendant Is Not There

If an attendant is supposed to meet you at a drop-off point but no one is there, the driver will wait for five minutes. If the attendant still doesn't show, the driver will call into the RTA office about the problem and continue his or her route with you on board. Meanwhile, the RTA will attempt to contact the person who is supposed to meet you.

Eventually, we may notify the police to help us locate a responsible party. In these cases in which paratransit passengers cannot be dropped off at their destinations because no one is there to assist them, the RTA may consider suspending or ending their rights to use paratransit services.

Children on Paratransit Services

Children who are six years old and older, who weigh 60 pounds or more, and who have an RTA Paratransit Card ride the same as other paratransit riders do.

Children who are under the age of six and who have an RTA Paratransit Card need to travel with an adult. In addition, children who are under six years old or who weigh less than 60 pounds must be secured in a child car seat that the adult passenger provides. The seat requirement remains the same no matter if the child is the paratransit-eligible rider or if the child is accompanying a paratransit-eligible adult.

If you bring a stroller with you, you should collapse it and put it somewhere out of the way of other passengers. Non-collapsible strollers are not allowed on board. For safety reasons, children who are able to sit on their own should sit in their own seat and not on an adult’s lap.

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome, and they ride free of charge. Service animals have to sit on your lap or on the floor by your feet. They may not occupy a passenger seat.

When you make your reservation, please tell the phone operator that a service animal will be coming with you.

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Paratransit Airport Travel

Reservations must be made 5 days in advance. The service costs $15. The fare for any companions, including personal care attendants, is also $15.

  • Each rider is allowed two bags. Each bag should weigh 30 pounds or less.

  • The driver can put bags in the vehicle for you, but please have all bags ready at the curb.

  • You, any companions, and your bags will be dropped off at the curb at your airline’s departure area. If you need more help after the drop off, you need to make arrangements with the airport’s Skycap service or the airline.

  • Reservations must be made 5 days in advance. Please let the operator know if you are calling long distance.

  • The fare is $15 per person, and the same bag limitations apply.

  • The RTA will have placed a paratransit vehicle on standby for you, but because flight arrival times are uncertain, the vehicle will not be waiting for you. You need to call the RTA when your plan lands. The RTA will then send out the standby vehicle to pick you up.

  • The designated pick-up point is on the lower level of the airport. Exit the baggage claim area and across from the traffic lanes, you’ll see an enclosed area, where you should wait. If you need help getting to the pick-up area, you need to make arrangements with the airport’s Skycap service or the airline.

  • The paratransit bus will meet you at the pick-up point. The driver can help you load your luggage and help you board the vehicle.

For more information, call the RTA’s paratransit service at (504) 827-7433.

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Eligibility for Paratransit

Most of the standard buses and streetcars throughout the RTA system have equipment to serve persons with disabilities, but if you have a disability that prevents you from using the standard RTA system, you may qualify for paratransit rides. The RTA is required to provide this service under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

With the RTA’s paratransit service, a bus or mini-van will pick you up at the curb in front of most any address and take you to almost any other address within Orleans Parish. Advance reservations are required, and you will share the bus or mini-van with other paratransit riders.

If you wish to use the RTA’s paratransit services, you must first must apply for and receive an RTA Paratransit Card. Although paratransit services are for persons with disabilities, not everyone with a disability is eligible.

Who is eligible for paratransit services?

The RTA's paratransit service is meant to help those persons with disabilities that cannot use the standard buses and streetcars in the RTA system. If you have a disability but your disability does not prevent you from using standard buses and streetcars, the RTA may not find you eligible for paratransit eligibility.
You are eligible to use paratransit services if:

  • You cannot use the RTA buses or streetcars on your own.

  • You can generally use the RTA buses and streetcars on your own, but you need someone else's assistance to use the system in certain ways.

  • Your disability prevents you from using particular bus or streetcar stops.

How do I apply for RTA paratransit services?

  1.  

    Get the application form

    To apply to use RTA paratransit services, you need
    to complete and submit an ADA eligibility form.
     

    Certification of ADA Paratransit Eligibility Sheet
    Certification of ADA Paratransit Eligibility Application Form 1 of 2
    Certification of ADA Paratransit Eligibility Application Form 2 of 2
     

    You can also pick up a form in person at the following address:
     

    Regional Transit Authority
    ADA Eligibility/ID Center
    2817 Canal Street
    New Orleans, LA 70119

    In addition, if you call the ADA Eligibility/ID Center, we will send you a blank form through the mail. The number to call is (504) 827-8345. Our Ride Line TTY Number is also available for the hearing impaired:(504) 827-7832.
  2. Fill out the form

    There are two parts to the application, Applicant Information and Request for Professional Verification. You are to fill out the first part yourself, and a doctor or licensed healthcare professional is to fill out the second part.

    Please be sure all parts of the form are filled out, including your signature and the signature of the doctor or licensed healthcare professional. If any part of the form is not filled out, the RTA will not be able to process your request. The form will be sent back to you until all parts are complete.

  3. Submit the form

    Submit the form by mailing it to the ADA Eligibility/ID Center or by dropping it off in person. We do not accept copies or faxes. 
     

    Regional Transit Authority
    ADA Eligibility/ID Center
    2817 Canal Street
    New Orleans, LA 70119
  4. Wait for a letter of approval

    It may take up to three weeks for the RTA to process your paperwork for paratransit services. You will receive a letter in the mail about our decision. 

    There are two types of paratransit eligibility, unconditional and conditional.

    • Unconditional eligibility,” - If your eligibilioty is "unconditional," you may use paratransitservices under any circumstances.

    • Conditional eligibility– If your eligibility is “conditional,” you may use paratransit services only under certain circumstances. For example, some riders have partially limiting factors such as dialysis. Use the paratransit to accommodate their trip to and from dialysis treatment.

  5. Start using RTA paratransit services.


What happens if I am determined ineligible?

If you are determined ineligible, you may file an appeal to an appeal board. The appeal board will be made up of three people who were not involved in the initial decision. The notification letter you received will include instructions on how to file an appeal if you wish to do so.

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Paratransit Advisory Committee

The RTA has established a paratransit advisory committee, formally known as the Special Transit Service Advisory Committee; in order to make sure our transportation system is serving the needs of person with disabilities in the New Orleans community.

The committee’s objectives are to:

  • Provide a forum for the concerns of persons with disabilities in the RTA’s service areas.
  • Review current RTA policies, services, and procedures that affect the disabled community
  • Prepare comments and written recommendations for the RTA board about issues affecting persons with disabilities
  • Assist the RTA Board when it plans services for persons with disabilities
  • Provide technical assistance and advice about serving persons with disabilities

Meeting Dates

The Special Transit Services Advisory Committee meets the first Thursday of every other month (February, April, June, August, October, and December) from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the boardroom at the RTA Building at 2817 Canal Street. All meetings are open to the public.

Committee Members

The Special Transit Services Advisory Committee is made up of the ten members of the New Orleans community. Five are representatives from organizations involved in issues that concern persons with disabilities. Five are private citizens who advocate for the needs of persons with disabilities.

  • Pauline Banks, STRIVE Center

  • Shari Bernius, The Deaf Action Center

  • G. Stephen Donahue, Disability Advocate

  • Cheri LaCour Duckworth, Urban League of Greater New Orleans

  • Mercidee Favarote, Disability Advocate

  • LaQuan Fields, New Orleans Council on Aging

  • Patricia Ginart , Disability Advocate

  • Lydia Miller, Disability Advocate

  • Lenzo Perry, Disability Advocate

  • Jeffery Rowe, The Advocacy Center

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Fare Qualifications

If you receive Medicare, you can automatically get an RTA Reduced Fare Card.

Come into the RTA ID Center with three things:


  1. Your Medicare card

  2. A Social Security award letter that verifies Medicare benefits

  3. A state ID or drivers license

RTA Reduced Fare Card Application

If you do not receive Medicare but you have a disability, you can apply for an RTA Reduced Fare Card.

RTA Reduced Fare Application Form

You can also pick up an application form at the RTA ID Center, or write us a letter at the RTA ID Center and we will mail one to you.

Part of the application form has an area for your doctor to fill out in order to verify your disability.

You do not need to use this form if:

  • You are a senior citizen/International senior (65 years and older)

  • You receive Medicare

  • You have an RTA Paratransit Card

Please be aware that not everyone who has a medical disability qualifies for reduced fares. The purpose of the RTA Reduced Fare Card is to help people whose disability makes it difficult for them to get around. If your disability does not affect your mobility, the RTA will most likely turn down your request for an RTA Reduced Fare Card.

RTA ID Center

In certain cases, you will need to show an RTA-issued ID to prove to the bus driver or streetcar conductor that qualify for a reduced fare. We make picture IDs at our in-house ID Center. You may visit us at the address below, and feel free to call or write if you have questions.

RTA ID Center
2817 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 827-8345
TDD: (504) 827-7833
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


If you ask, the RTA ID Center can supply applications and information in alternative formats, such as Braille or audiotape.

The cost for your first RTA-issued ID is free. If you lose it and need a replacement, it will cost $2.00. If you need any another replacements after the first replacement, the charge is $5.00.

In order to prevent fraud, all ID cards will expire after three years. You can apply for a new ID card for free.

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