Accessibility on Transit

Reduced Fare Cards

In Maryland, generally, reduced fare cards are available to individuals who are 65 and up, as well as persons 18 or older with disabilities. The age may fluctuate from 60 to 65 for senior discounts depending on the transit agency. In order to obtain the reduced fare card you must fill out the reduced fare application for the transit system that you intend to use. Note that each transit agency requires a separate application to be filled out!

General Reduced Fare Qualifications

  • Senior Citizen (60+), or

  • Disability that requires accommodation for you to use public transit, or

  • Disabled veteran, or

  • Medicare recipient

Reduced fare applications can be obtained online, in person, and in some cases mailed to you. Once you obtain the application you will need to fill out the indicated section. If you are applying as a senior citizen than a government issued I.D will be required; if you are applying as a person with a disability, than your physician will need to complete a section of the application as well. Once you have completed the application you should return it to the appropriate transit agency. The time frame for the process varies amongst each transit agency, but generally speaking it should take no more than five business days.

Fixed Route services

As a person with a disability you are entitled to the same transit opportunities as everyone else. That being said, fixed route services are equipped to serve persons with disabilities as well as those without them. The term fixed route refers to any transit system, bus, rail, etc., that operates on a set schedule. These systems offer priority seating, and are equipped with lifts, and ramps to help people with mobility devices to board the system.

Mobility/Paratransit services

All transit agencies that run a fixed route service will also have a mobility service for those that need it. The mobility service usually runs the same hours as the fixed route service and will go anywhere within ¾ mile of the fixed route bus. Some agencies will go outside of the service area on certain days of the week for medical appointments.

To search for paratransit providers available in your county, search our Transit Directory here.

The ADA and Public Transit

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important civil rights law passed in 1990 that has greatly increased the transportation options for people with disabilities. The law called for improvements to transportation services, including the availability of paratransit service. The ADA does not require a transit agency to meet all the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, but rather, it ensures that people with disabilities receive "the same mass transportation service opportunities everyone else receives."

Covered under Title II of the American with Disabilities Act, public transportation authorities may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of their services. They must comply with requirements for accessibility in newly purchased vehicles, make good faith efforts to purchase or lease accessible used buses, remanufacture buses in accessible manner, and, unless it would result an undue burden, provide paratransit where they operate fixed-route bus or rail systems. Paratransit is a service where individuals who are unable to use the regular transit system independently (because of physical or mental impairment) are picked up and dropped off at their destinations. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2009)

Accessible Transportation Options in the Baltimore Region

For most people using public transportation, the most convenient and flexible way to travel is by bus or train. Generally, this option is less expensive and often requires minimal planning. The following accessibility features can be found on most transportation systems in Maryland (contact your local operator to find out more specific details about transit in your area):

  • Buses and trains equipped with wheelchair lifts or low floor ramps to allow easy access for people with disabilities.

  • Priority seating for those who need to sit closer to an exit.

  • Bus drivers trained to allow passengers time to be seated, and to get on and off the vehicle safely.

  • Announcement of stops at major intersections, transfer points and, at the request of passengers, specific destinations.

  • Route and schedule information provided by transit agencies, including the best way to reach your destination. This information is available in accessible formats if needed.

Additionally, mass public transit stations, such as MTA and WMATA Metro stations, have elevators to carry passengers to boarding platforms. Once on the platform, it is easy to board the train.

If you are unfamiliar with using public transit, travel training may be available to teach you how to travel comfortably and safely on a bus or train. Contact your local transit provider for more information, or consider scheduling travel training sessions with Center for Mobility Equity. For more information, click here.

Title VI Policy Statement

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title VI provides that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance" (42 U.S.C. Section 2000d). 

 

Center for Mobility Equity is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its transportation services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4702.1B. If you need more information or feel you are being denied participation in or being denied benefits of the transit services provided by Center for Mobility Equity, or otherwise being discriminated against because of your race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, our contact information is: 

Chris Firehock
Executive Director
Center for Mobility Equity
312 Marshall Ave Suite 100
Laurel, MD 20707

 

240-576-5776

chris.firehock@mobilityequity.org

Thousands of Marylanders benefit daily from the services that Center for Mobility Equity provides through the TRIP program. From answering travel questions via our call center, to utilizing Maryland bus schedule data within mobile trip planning apps, we're here to help you ride transit throughout Maryland.

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