Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to regular questions that may give you some guidance on the basics of what you may need to know about Mobility and CARS.
+ What is MTA Mobility?
MTA Mobility is a service mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which acts in place of fixed route service, i.e. bus, subway, light rail, etc., for those individuals who cannot use fixed route. Its service area encompasses a three quarter mile radius from every bus line, and light rail or subway station.
+ Who is eligible to use Mobility?
A person’s eligibility determination focuses solely on their functional ability to use the fixed route service and falls into 3 categories:
1. Rider cannot Navigate the System Independently This category includes those people who cannot use the regular “fixed route” transportation system without help. “Fixed route” includes the bus, subway, light rail, etc. Examples (include, but are not limited to): A person with a cognitive disability who does not know where to get on or off the bus, a person with a visual disability who cannot travel in a new place or make complicated transfers, or a person who always needs a seat while riding the bus or train because of a lack of balance and manual dexterity (a seat cannot always be guaranteed). Needing help from drivers or staff to use ramps, lifts, ecurement devices, etc. is not a sole reason for eligibility as long as staff of said busses, trains, etc. actually provides such assistance as required.
2. Rider needs an Accessible Vehicle Also eligible are individuals who can use the fixed route system when the busses, trains, etc. are all accessible, but would like to travel on routes that are not fully accessible. DOT states that a bus route is accessible when all buses on that route are accessible. If every other bus is not accessible, then the route is not accessible. Examples of inaccessible stops are: A stop without a bench. A route where all buses being used on that route are not accessible An individual can use the accessible train services in Baltimore, but cannot use the light rail because of inaccessibility. An individual who has vision impairments or cognitive disabilities that is unable to use the fixed route system when the stops are not called. If a train station, bus stop, etc. is not accessible and you are therefore prevented from using that stop, you can receive eligibility. If a fixed route bus stop or train station you want to use is inaccessible because the lift or ramp cannot be used at that stop, you may also be eligible.
3. Obstacles Prevent rider from Reaching the Bus or Train Also eligible is anyone who, because of a disability, cannot travel to or from the bus stop or train station due to—including but not limited to—distance, terrain, weather, safety, or other obstacles that impede them due to their disability. These obstacles must prevent what is known as a “reasonable person” from making the trip. This means that if the trip would cause such difficulty that a reasonable person with your given disability would not make the trip, that trip is therefore inaccessible to you. An excessive amount of time, pain, confusion, etc. to make the trip could all be deterrents for a reasonable person.
+ Are there different types of eligibility?
Yes, there are different levels of eligibility. Here are the 3 different types and an explanation of each one.
Unconditional - If it is unreasonable for a person to use the regular bus, train, etc. regardless of weather, distance to the stop, and so on, then he or she is unconditionally eligible. They will be able to make use of Mobility all of the time.
Conditional” - If a person is only barred from using the regular bus during certain conditions, they would qualify as conditionally eligible. Note: Conditional eligibility is not required by the ADA. However, if a transit agency does not give conditional eligibility, they must give unconditional eligibility to those individuals who would have qualified for conditional eligibility. Examples: A person can usually ride the fixed route bus, but cannot when it is too cold or too hot outside due to their condition. A person may be able to reach bus stops that are no more than three blocks away, where there is a safe, accessible path of travel, but they may require paratransit if distances are greater than three blocks. There is a path of travel obstacles such as steep hills, deep snow or ice, or other obstacles. A person may have a variable health condition; on some days fixed route use is possible and on other days, it is not.
Temporary - This category is for those individuals who need Mobility during a limited time frame. Example: An individual undergoes surgery and cannot use the regular bus, train, etc. for only a few months.
+ What if I live outside the service area, can I still apply for Mobility?
Yes, even if you live outside the service area, you are still eligible to use Mobility. You will have to find your own way into the service area, but once in there, you will be able to use the service like anyone who lives within the service area.
+ What is a functional assessment?
The application process may include functional evaluation or testing of applicants to determine whether a disability prevents the applicant from using the fixed route system. The functional assessment usually involves observation of an applicant attempting to perform functional tasks that simulate a fixed route trip, such as climbing steps, crossing a street, walking measured courses, taking cognitive tests, and other activities.
+ Do I need any type of documentation when I go for Certification?
All applicants must bring a completed application form with original signatures to their certification appointment. Applicants may provide additional information or documentation that will help to show that they are eligible because they cannot use the fixed route transit system. Documentation may include any of the following: A detailed statement from a medical professional such as a physician, psychologist or therapist, a detailed statement from a disability service provider such as an independent living specialist, rehabilitation counselor, travel trainer, or employment support specialist, a detailed personal log/journal that documents the impact of travel on your disability, health, energy, stamina, and so on, A detailed listing of the access barriers that prevents you from traveling to the bus stop or rail station.
+ How will I know when I have been certified for Mobility?
All eligibility decisions must be made within 21 days of turning in your application. For recertifying applicants, your eligibility will continue until a decision is issued as long as you reapply before your card expires. New applicants will receive presumptive eligibility if a decision is not reached within 21 days of submitting your application. This means that 22 days after you first submit your application, Mobility must allow you to reserve a ride and you must receive service until your decision is made.
+ What can I do if I am denied service?
If you are denied or given limited eligibility, Mobility must provide written, detailed documentation for their reasoning. You have the right to file an appeal within 60 days of the eligibility denial. If you miss this deadline, you may reapply at any time for eligibility, and then, if denied again, may file an appeal. If you would like a copy of your file, you must ask MTA for it in writing at least 10 days before your appeal hearing.
If you are a recertifying Mobility rider, MTA will grant you temporary paratransit service during the appeal process.
If you are a new applicant, you do not have the right to service while you wait to appeal. Mobility will provide you with transportation to your appeal. If you do not receive a decision on your appeal within 30 days of your hearing date, the agency must provide service until a decision is reached.
+ What happens when my Mobility ride is more than 30 minutes late?
You should call the Mobility Late Line and request the status of your trip. That is considered a missed trip by the provider, even if Mobility provides the customer with service. At that point, the customer cannot be charged with a no-show or late cancellation if they choose not to take their ride. Also, the transit agency cannot cancel a return trip for a customer even if they are a no-show or late cancellation due to a missed trip.
+ How early is MTA allowed to get me to an appointment?
MTA must get you to an appointment at least 5 minutes before your appointment time and no more than 30 minutes early. If you told MTA the time you want to arrive someplace and they get you there late or more than 30 minutes early, they have violated the ADA.
+ Is Call-A-Ride (CAR) an ADA required service?
No. Transit providers are only required to provide paratransit service as a complement to their fixed-route service. CAR service is not an ADA required service, so it does not have the same service standards as Paratransit. CAR service is provided by taxi companies so it must only follow laws for taxis.
+ If I am travelling, can I use paratransit systems in other cities?
Yes. A visitor presenting documentation of ADA paratransit eligibility from their home jurisdiction must be treated as eligible and no further documentation or application can be required. A transit agency will provide service to a visitor for up to 21 days per year. Riders should contact the service provider in the area they plan to visit before travelling to inquire about the requirements for eligibility.
Follow us on Facebook at Consumers For Accessible Ride Services Page or on Twitter: @cars_baltimore
We would like to thank Disability Rights Maryland (DRM) for partnering with CARS and for all the great support they provide. If you need legal assistance in any disability matters, they can be contacted at: Disability Rights Maryland | 1500 Union Avenue | Baltimore, MD 21211 | Phone 410-727-6352 | Fax 410-727-6389 | www.disabilityrightsmd.org