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The Ride Guide
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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is committed to providing quality public transportation to all travelers. THE RIDE is our Paratransit program, which provides door-to-door transportation to eligible people, like yourself, who cannot use public transit (subways, buses and trains), all or some of the time, because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability. THE RIDE is administered by the MBTA's Office for Transportation Access (OTA), and operated in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a shared-ride service. This means you should expect to be traveling with other customers who are going in the same general direction. Normally, a trip's duration will be an hour or less, and is based on distance and others who are traveling. Occasionally drivers may be diverted because another customer missed her/his return pick-up. These unforeseeable events and others, such as inclement weather and traffic congestion, may increase your travel time. THE RIDE is also available to ADA certified out-of-area and/or out-of-state visitors with prior arrangement.
For more information, including alternate format requests of this material, please contact the MBTA's Administrative Office of the Office for Transportation Access (OTA) at;
800-533-6282(V) toll-free in state, 617-222-5123(V),
617-222-5415(TTY) or via Email to THERIDE@MBTA.com
Additional information on our services can be found on our website www.mbta.com; then navigate to the Accessibility icon. Please take the time to read this Guide, as it provides valuable information on how to use THE RIDE.
Hours of Operation
Regular Service is available 7 days a week, generally from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., including Holidays. Subscription Service, which is explained further in this guide, will not be provided on Holidays.
Personal Care Assistants (PCA) and Guests
PCAs and guests must travel to and from the same destination at the same time as the certified passenger. If you require a PCA, your assistant can accompany you on each trip free of charge.
The local one-way fare for each registered passenger and each guest is currently $2.00. Your Contractor will be able to tell you the cost of each trip when you make your reservation. RIDE customers must maintain a balance of monies in their individual RIDE accounts by credit card, Master Card or Visa, or by a debit card supported by Master Card or Visa, via the Internet at www.mbta.com; then navigating to Purchase Online. You may also send a, check or money order via U.S. mail to our Revenue Department.
10 Park Plaza - Room 5000, Boston MA 02116
• Note: Allow 2 business days for credit/debit card processing and/or 5 business days for check/money order processing.
For posting inquiries to your account call 617-222-5717(V)
IMPORTANT: You MUST include your customer RIDE ID number on all correspondence, including the 'memo' line of your check or money order.
Deposits to your RIDE account may also be made, over the counter with the provision of your RIDE ID #, at the MBTA's OTA Back Bay Station on the Orange Line. This location will accept cash, checks, money order and/or credit/debit card, supported by Master Card or VISA.
Back Bay Station – Office for Transportation Access – Orange Line
145 Dartmouth Street, Boston, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A minimum deposit of $12.00 must be entered into your account and sufficient funds need to be maintained at all times to complete a desired trip. Your account balance can be determined at any time via the Internet, or by calling your Contractor or the Administrative Office of the Office for Transportation Access.
THE RIDE fares are debited from your account as you board the vehicle. THE RIDE is not required to transport any persons who do not maintain adequate funds in their RIDE account. A guest is charged an equal fare. Only a PCA traveling with THE RIDE customer is permitted to ride free of charge.
Four Contractors provide THE RIDE service for our customers. Trips are booked by calling the Contractor serving your city or town of residence. All lines are recorded for quality control purposes. Any Contractor serves Boston directly. The Contractor serving your city or town can arrange transfers between Contractors for trips to other service areas. Boston residents may call any Contractor for service within Boston. Reservation Reservation hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., 7 days a week, including Holidays
THE RIDE Cities and Towns by Service Area
Trips may be booked from one to fourteen days in advance. A reservationist from your Contractor will guide you through the process. You will be asked for your customer ID number, addresses and all necessary information to schedule your trip. The reservationist will tell you whether or not your account has sufficient funds for your trip request to be completed. Trips to appointments are scheduled by arrival time. This is to ensure that you are scheduled to arrive before your appointment time. Trips returning are scheduled by departure time to ensure that we allow time for you to conclude your appointment. Requested arrival and return times must be at least one hour apart.
It would be helpful to your Contractor, when making your reservation, to advise them if you will be traveling with a PCA, a guest, a minor or service animal. Minors who are 3 yrs. and younger and other minors fewer than 40 lbs. require the use of a child safety seat. Check with your Contractor. School transportation of minors (Grades K-12) is NOT provided.
You may review or change any trip in the fourteen-day period up to 4 p.m. on the day before service by calling your Contractor. After the close of reservations, trips for the following day are scheduled. Schedules are created to share rides for passengers traveling similar routes. Request times may be adjusted to allow passengers to share the ride.
Requests for same-day trips, or requests for next-day trips after 4 p.m., can be placed through your Contractor's dispatcher. Although these requests cannot be guaranteed, it is often possible to provide the service.
The goal of scheduling is to make the most efficient use of vehicles to ensure the service is available to all who need it. At the same time each user should experience service that is sensible and appropriate to his or her needs. The number of people using the service and the time of day affect the total time needed for your trip. Travel time for trips that require less than 30 minutes via the most direct route should not exceed one hour. Travel for longer trips should not exceed twice the most direct travel time. When scheduling is complete you will be called the evening before (prior to 9 p.m.) with your times for the next days trips.
• Note: If you do not receive a call by 9 p.m. call the Contractor you booked your trip with to be sure the trip has been scheduled.
If you would like to place trip requests via the Internet, or by using the Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system, call your Contractor for instructions.
Trips must be canceled as far in advance as possible so that THE RIDE can schedule and accommodate others. Your cooperation in this matter significantly impacts the Contractor's ability to serve other customers. At least one hour's notice to your Contractor is required to avoid the trip being recorded as a No Show.
You will be considered a No Show when you request a trip, receive confirmation, and then fail to cancel with at least one hour's notice to your Contractor or you fail to show up within 5 minutes after your scheduled pick-up time.
Be ready to travel 5 minutes before your scheduled pick-up and be prepared to wait up to 15 minutes after that time. The driver must wait for you for 5 minutes from the time of the scheduled pick-up. If you are not at the pick-up location the driver will obtain clearance, from her or his dispatcher, to leave after waiting 5 minutes. Please do not leave your pick-up location to call before the end of the 15 minutes waiting period.
• If THE RIDE vehicle does not arrive by the end of the 15 minutes period, please call your Contractor who will assist you in locating the vehicle and giving you its estimated time of arrival (ETA).
• If you need to request a change to a trip location or time, call your Contractor.
• If you know you will be detained at an appointment call your Contractor and ask to be put on “will-call” status. Then, when you are ready call your Contractor and they will arrange a new pick-up time for you.
• If you wish to cancel a trip, call your Contractor.
There are many changes to schedules due to traffic problems, customer delays, and weather. At each of the four Contractors, dispatch monitors and adjusts the activities of their vehicles to try to keep schedules running on time. Dispatch interacts with customers and drivers, as well as, our office, OTA, to troubleshoot problems. If you require any changes, please notify your Contractor as soon as possible. You will not be left stranded.
Paratransit Subscription service is for RIDE customers who make a trip reservation, which starts at the same place and ends at the same destination at the same time, three or more days a week. You may request to have these trips automatically scheduled, which eliminates the need to call in advance for each trip. Call your Contractor to request this service.
• Note: Subscription service is subject to availability. This service is not provided on Holidays.
If you have a change in your mobility status, i.e. walker to wheelchair, acquired a service animal, etc., or you have moved, changed your phone number, have a new emergency contact, changed your name or Email address, etc. we ask that you contact OTA and provide the updated information to us. Family members are also urged to call us when a customer is deceased.
In order to properly serve our RIDE customers, all drivers have received sensitivity and safety training. If you are a wheelchair or scooter user, the driver will apply the MBTA supplied body belt immediately upon greeting you. Your driver will assist you to and from the vehicle by providing door-to-door service. However, a driver is not allowed to enter any buildings beyond the main door or lobby area. She or he will assist individuals in manual wheelchairs over one curb and/or step. They are not permitted to carry an individual or their mobility devices. The driver will assist you to board the vehicle. Even when you are accompanied by a PCA, the driver will assist you with boarding and disembarking the vehicle. The driver will also fasten and unfasten seatbelt/shoulder harnesses as part of the vehicle's wheelchair/scooter securement system. All passengers in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. If you or your guest has packages, the driver will assist with a manageable number of shopping bags, to the door of your destination. Assistance with 3 pieces of luggage per person, not to exceed 40 lbs. each, will be provided for you and your PCA. Keep in mind that you are using a shared-ride service and space is limited.
Appropriate Behavior on THE RIDE
• All passengers, ambulatory or wheelchair/scooter user must wear a seatbelt.
• You may not stand while the vehicle is in motion.
• Wheelchair/scooter users must wear the body belt supplied by the driver throughout the trip.
• Smoking is not allowed.
• Animals are not allowed, with the exception of Service Animals.
• Consumption of food and/or beverages is prohibited, unless required for dietary and/or medical purposes and you have advised the driver.
• No tipping or other gratuities are allowed.
• Personal radios may only be used with headphones.
• Customers may ask that the AM/FM radios installed on RIDE vehicles be turned off, on, or volume adjusted, as they prefer.
• Drivers may not use cell phones while operating RIDE vehicles.
• Customers should be courteous to other passengers and drivers.
• Please note that personal hygiene and the use of perfumes can be objectionable to others or cause allergic reactions.
Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA (AACT)
The Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA is a consumer body composed primarily of persons with disabilities, RIDE customers, advocates and representatives of disability advocacy groups and agencies who advise and make recommendations to the MBTA regarding accessible transportation for both our Fixed Route services (buses, subway and trains) as well as THE RIDE. Anyone is invited to participate. The goal of AACT is to achieve 100% accessible public transportation. An elected Executive Board governs AACT. AACT members and other interested persons meet publicly each month. RIDE issues such as, driver training, passenger safety, new vehicle acquisition and design, as well as, various operational issues are reviewed. The Executive Board is involved in researching and reviewing complaints for customers at the customer's request. For more information or meeting schedules contact them at 617-973-7507(V), 617-973-7089(TTY) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Meeting schedules for AACT are also posted in all RIDE vehicles and on the MBTA website, www.mbta.com; then navigate to Public Meetings.
More Travel Options for RIDE Customers
As a registered user of THE RIDE you are eligible for a free training program that teaches you to travel on MBTA fixed-route buses, trains and subway for a reduced fare. A personal travel trainer will help you plan your route and travel with you during your individual training sessions. Your RIDE eligibility will not change once you complete the program. You can travel by bus, subway, train or THE RIDE. For more information, contact the Office for Transportation Access/Back Bay at 617-222-5976(V), 800-543-8287(V), or 617-222-5854(TTY)
The Administrative Office of the Office for Transportation Access expects to take your compliments and complaints and act upon them accordingly. Customers rely on THE RIDE for critical transportation services and we want you to have a good experience. By hearing from you, we can always improve. We value your input. All complaints will be investigated and responded to within 10 calendar days. Complaint information is shared with AACT, unless otherwise requested at the time you file your complaint.
To file a compliment or complaint, use the form attached to the back of this Guide, or contact our office via the following:
THE RIDE 800-533-6282(V) in-state toll-free
Ten Park Plaza – 4730 617-222-5123(V)
Boston, MA 02116 617-222-5415 (TTY)
• Note: The MBTA will not tolerate any retaliation or intimidation to a customer for filing a complaint or concern. If you feel you have been subjected to these actions, by anyone connected to THE RIDE, we urge you to contact the Administrative Office of the Office for Transportation Access (OTA) or the Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA (AACT) immediately.
The MBTA wishes to improve your travel experience on THE RIDE. You, our customers, have valued insight and we welcome your suggestions. Additionally, in these days of heightened security it is especially important for us to rely on our customers and drivers; so please remember,“If you see or sense something, say something”.
The following MBTA programs and contacts are available to make transportation easy and accessible for all travelers:
• For our hearing impaired customers please utilize a Relay Operator” when a TTY line is not available for your use.
• www.mbta.com for all Transit Updates and Travel Information
• MBTA Police Emergency: 617-222-1212(V), 617-222-1200(TTY)
• MBTA Senior and Disability Pass Information
Reduced Fare passes (buses, subways and trains) for seniors and persons with disabilities are available at Back Bay Station on the Orange Line. For information, call 800-543-8287(V) toll-free-in-state, 617-222-5438(V), 617-222-5854(TTY).
• For all other accessibility related questions concerning MBTA buses, subway, trains or commuter boat call 800-543-8287(V) toll-free-in-state, 617-222-5976(V), 617-222-5854(TTY).
• Travel Information 800-392-6100(V), 617-222-3200(V),
STREET ADDRESS APT / UNIT# ZIPCODE
INCIDENT: DATE (MM / DD /YY) TIME (00:00 A.M. / P.M.) VEHICLE #
RECEIVED in MBTA: DATE (MM / DD /YY) BY: MBTA - OTA STAFF NAME
COMPLAINT TYPE # ___________Select one or more
1) DIFFICULTY IN GETTING A RIDE 6) DISPATCHER PROBLEM
2) CONDITION OF VEHICLE 7) PROBLEM WITH RESERVATIONIST
3) COMFORT OF RIDE 8) PROBLEM WITH TELEPHONE
4) PROMPTNESS OF PICK-UP/DROP-OFF 9) PROBLEM WITH DRIVER
5) SCHEDULING PROBLEM 10) OTHER
COMPLIMENT TYPE # ___________ Select one or more
1) GENERAL 2) DRIVER 3) RESERVATION 4) DISPATCH