Accessibility (Wheelchairs & Tie Downs)
Wheels is a convenient, accessible and safe way for people with disabilities to get around. All Wheels buses meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, offering wheelchair ramps and other features to accommodate riders with disabilities. Paratransit-eligible passengers with a valid Regional Transit Connection Discount Card (RTC) can ride Wheels fixed route buses at a reduced fare. Passengers with a valid Medicare card are also eligible for a reduced fare. Simply show your Medicare card to the driver upon boarding (driver may request a photo ID to verify proof of eligibility).
All Wheels buses can be easily accessed by a wheelchair and can accommodate most types of wheelchairs and three-wheeled scooters that comply with ADA guidelines (do not exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length, measured two inches above the ground, and do not weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied). All wheelchairs and other mobility devices must be secured with tie-down straps while in the bus. If wheelchair spaces are already occupied, the driver will stop and let you know to catch the next bus. When boarding the bus, please back on to the lift for your safety. If you need assistance, let the driver know.
All transfer point bus stops and major intersections are called out by the automatic voice announcement system. The system announces the route number, which can also be heard outside of the bus by waiting passengers.
Travel Training Program
Wheels has a Travel Trainer who is available to present information on transit services for seniors and persons with disabilities, and will visit various community facilities to provide travel training to groups or individuals. For more information, call (925) 455-7555.
Visually Impaired Passengers
All transfer point bus stops and major intersections are called out by Wheels automatic voice announcement system. Additionally, as the bus approaches a transfer point bus stop, the system announces the bus line number which can be heard externally by waiting passengers. Service animals, such as guide dogs for the visually impaired may ride the bus. All service animals must be on a harness and sit on the floor, out of the aisle.
Low Floor Ramp and Kneeling Buses
Low floor ramp and kneeling buses make it easy for customer’s to get on and off the bus. Customers should tell the driver if they need to use the ramp or kneeling feature to get on or off the bus. Priority seats are located behind the driver. Digital signs and audio systems announce stops, intersections and transfer points.
Boarding with the ramp
Wait at the bus stop sign and indicate to the driver that you need to use the ramp.
- Position yourself to be clear of the ramp as it deploys.
- Wait for the driver to tell you when to move onto the platform.
- If you are using a wheelchair or other mobility device, move to the special seating area and set the brake.
- The driver will secure wheelchairs with the securements provided.
- Pay your fare and tell the driver your destination so that bus can be positioned correctly at your stop
Exiting with the ramp
- Signal the driver about a block before your stop to remind the driver.
- The driver will allow other riders to board and exit before releasing wheelchair restraints.
- The driver will advise you when to proceed to the ramp platform.
Reasonable Modifications: The Wheels service is fully compliant with the paratransit requirements of the ADA. We are committed to making reasonable modifications to our policies, practices and procedures to ensure that Wheels service are accessible to everyone. To make a request for a reasonable modification, please contact the Wheels Customer Service team at (925) 455-5000, enter the request via wheels customer comment form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wheels Dial-A-Ride Paratransit Service
Wheels offers door-to-door service to customers with disabilities that prevent their use of regular accessible transit service. Customers must receive eligibility approval to use of this service. For additional information about Dial-A-Ride call the Wheels ADA Coordinator at (925) 455-7555 or refer to the Dial-A-Ride section on our website.
The following is a list of paratransit agencies providing commute services to individuals with disabilities who are certified to use paratransit:
- Contra Costa County LINK (925) 676-1976 Ext. 601 or 608
- East Bay Paratransit (510) 287-5000
- Pleasanton Paratransit (925) 931-5376
- San Francisco Muni (415) 543-9650
- Tri-City Paratransit (Fremont Area) (510) 494-454
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, better known as the ADA, is federal legislation that guarantees persons with disabilities full and equal access to the same services and accommodations that are available to people without disabilities. More information on ADA.
The Wheels Accessible Advisory Committee (WAAC) was established to provide input on key issues related to the provision of ADA transit service in the Wheels service area. All Committee meetings are open to the general public. New participants are always welcomed. For more information about the WAAC, or to receive meeting notices, contact the Wheels ADA Coordinator at (925) 455-7555.
Riding Safely – Choosing a Mobility Device for Use on Transit
If you are purchasing a new or replacement wheelchair or scooter, the type of device you choose may have an important impact on your ability to board transit and paratransit vehicles safely. It can also impact the driver’s ability to effectively secure your wheelchair in the vehicle for safe travel. In order to ensure that vehicles will be able to safely accommodate
your mobility device, keep the following in mind when selecting a mobility device:
- Vehicles used to provide ADA paratransit and fixed-route transit service are designed to accommodate a “common wheelchair” on bus or van lifts and in securement locations.
The ADA specifies that a common wheelchair is one which weighs no more than 600 pounds when occupied, and is no more than 30 inches wide and 48 inches long (measured two inches above the floor). Some very large wheelchairs, scooters, and reclining chairs exceed these dimensions. Vehicle lifts may not be able to accommodate larger devices, and there may be too little space inside the vehicle for maneuvering them. Because of this, the transit provider may refuse to carry you. Because guidelines for carrying mobility devices that exceed the dimension of a common wheelchair vary among transportation programs, you should contact program staff prior to purchasing a very large mobility device.
- When traveling on transit or paratransit, it is best if you use a wheelchair that has been designed and tested for use as a seat in motor vehicles.
Wheelschairs that comply with a special safety standard are referred to as “WC19” or “transit” wheelschairs. WC19 wheelchairs have four crash-tested securement points where tiedown straps and hooks used on transit vehicles can be easily attached.Wheelchairs that meet the design and performance requirements of this standard will be labeled to show they comply with WC19. If a WC19 wheelchair is not available, the next best choice is a wheelchair with an accessible metal frame where the tiedownstraps and hooks used to secure the device on a motor vehicle can be attached at frame junctions.
- Traveling with an Escort or Personal Care Attendant
Some people travel with an attendant when using transit or paratransit. For example, a paratransit rider may require assistance within their home when preparing for a trip, or an escort from the paratransit vehicle to their ultimate destination. In other cases, riders cannot be safely left alone and/or require supervision even while in the vehicle for their own safety and the safety of other passengers and the driver. In such cases, an escort or personal care attendant (PCA) accompanying the rider may be necessary for ensuring safe travel. Discounted fares may be available for PCAs traveling on regular buses or trains. Contact Wheels ADA Coordinator for more information about policies related to PCAs or escorts on Wheels fixed route service at (925) 455-7555. For information on finding transportation escort assistance, call 211, Alameda County’s hotline for social services referrals, or visit Eden l&R on-line Resource Finder at www.alamedaco.info.
For a free copy of Access Alameda Transportation Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities in Alameda County visit www.accessalameda.org or call Wheels Passenger Service at (925) -455-7555.