PAL Direct Trip Planner

Paratransit Application (PDF)     |     PAL Application (Word)
PAL Pass Transaction Form
Pal Direct (PDF)     |    Pal Direct (Word)

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, NFTA-Metro’s Paratransit Access Line provides curb-to-curb, shared-ride transportation that is comparable to the fixed route bus and rail system. Paratransit Access Line (PAL) is available to individuals who, because of a temporary or permanent disability, are unable to use the fixed route service.

Eligibility for PAL is strictly limited.  You may be eligible for PAL if, because of your disability, you:

  • cannot independently board, ride or exit from any vehicle on the fixed route bus or rail system which is accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.
  • cannot use an accessible fixed route vehicle, but the route or the accessible vehicle on the route that would be used is not accessible or usable, or the stop that would be used is not accessible or usable due to the physical characteristics of the stop.
  • cannot independently travel to or from the fixed route bus stop or rail station.

Reasonable Modification/Accommodation

Paratransit Access Line makes provisions to ensure that each passenger gets from his/her point of origin to his/her point of destination. Bus operators may provide minimal assistance to escort a customer to and from the vehicle. Customers who need assistance, due to a disability, are encouraged to make requests in advance. The request should be as specific as possible and include information on why the modification is needed in order to use PAL transportation service.

PAL will provide assistance beyond the curb, as needed, unless such assistance would result in a fundamental alteration of PAL’s service; present a direct threat to the health and safety of the bus operator, other passengers, or the paratransit vehicle; or the requested modification would not be necessary to permit the customer to use the service for their intended purpose and the customer could nevertheless successfully get where he or she is going without the modification.

Service Area

PAL's service area extends three-quarters of a mile on either side of or from the ends of Metro's bus and rail fixed route. This does not apply to commuter or express route service. If your home address is beyond the service area, this does not mean you are not eligible, it means PAL will not be able to provide a pick-up or drop-off at your home address. You can arrange for us to pick you up in a safe location within the service area.

Hours and Days of Service

PAL operates during the same days and times that the regular bus and rail system is available in an area.

Trip Length

PAL is a shared ride service and a direct trip to and from a destination is not guaranteed. A trip on PAL will be comparable to the duration of an identical trip taken on the fixed route service. Comparable includes all factors such as, travel time to the bus stop and/or rail station, waiting time, actual riding time, transfers and travel from the stop to the destination. This standard exists except when circumstances are beyond the NFTA’s control (including inclement weather, and factors constituting traffic delays).

Ride Reservations and Cancellations

To take a trip you must first apply and be certified as eligible for NFT-Metro’s Paratransit Access Line (PAL

Customers can schedule, confirm or cancel trips using PAL Direct, our automated reservation system. PAL Direct is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at paldirect.nfta.com or by calling 716-855-7239. ADA Controllers (Reservation agents) are available 7 days a week 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you need assistance while using PAL Direct, press 0 to be transferred to an ADA controller. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance, but no less than 4:00 p.m. the day prior. Keep in mind that PAL can only provide trips at times that mirror the fixed route.

Waiting for Your Ride

Please be ready to board the vehicle at the beginning of your 30-minute pick-up window. Bus Operators are instructed not to arrive before the start your pick-up window, however, the PAL vehicle may arrive any time during your 30-minute pick up window. Once the vehicle arrives, the operator is allowed to wait no more than 5 minutes.

Have your PAL identification card ready to show the bus operator when you board the vehicle.

If your pick-up window has passed and the vehicle has not arrived, you may call the reservation line at 716-855-7239, option #2 and ask for an estimated time of arrival.

Companions

A companion may travel along with the PAL customer as long as the companion and the PAL customer have the same origin and destination. Additional companions may accompany you on a trip on a space available basis. Be sure to add all companions when making your reservations. Companions pay the same fare as the customer.

Personal Care Attendants

Customers who are unable to travel independently may travel with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). Your application for PAL service must specifically state that you need the assistance of a PCA. Personal Care Attendants ride for free and must have the same origin and destination as the customer. Be sure to add a PCA when making your reservations.

Application Process

Applications for service are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at:

Metropolitan Transportation Center
181 Ellicott Street – PAL Customer Service
Buffalo, NY 14203

You may also download a copy from our web site at metro.nfta.com, or call PAL Customer Service at 716-855-7268 to have an application mailed to you.

Your eligibility status will be determined in writing within 21 days of receipt of a fully completed application.

Completing a PAL Application

PART 1 of the application must be completed and signed by all applicants. If you are unable to complete the application, someone else may complete and sign it for you.

PART 2 of the application must be completed by one of the certified or licensed healthcare professionals listed on the application, who is able to determine your functional capabilities. This Health Care Professional must be treating or evaluating you for your disability.

Visitor Eligibility

When visiting the Buffalo/Niagara area, an ADA paratransit eligible customer may utilize PAL service for up to twenty-one days within a one year period. If you would like to use PAL during your visit, please contact our Customer Service Office prior to your visit to learn how to use our service. Proof of ADA eligibility is required.

Service Animals

Service animals, including guide, hearing ear and service animals for persons with physical disabilities are always welcome on PAL.

Mobility Aids

PAL vehicles are able to transport individuals who use a wheelchair or scooter as a mobility aide. Mobility aids cannot exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length when measured two inches from the ground and cannot exceed 800 pounds when occupied.

Fares

One way fares are paid when you board. Bus operators are unable to accept round trip fares. A PAL fare is double the fare on the fixed route system. Please have exact fare, operators are not able to make change.

NFTA’s PAL Pass

PAL clients and interested agencies can purchase a fixed amount of rides with the same discounts offered to regular Metro Pass holders.  The pass is simply hole punched by a Paratransit Operator each time the customer boards the vehicle.  The card can be discarded once all the numbers are punched.

Small Price, Huge Savings
10 Trips - $35
20 Trips - $70

PAL Pass is Available at:

Ticket vending machines (cash only) are available at:

  • All Metro Rail stations
  • Metropolitan Transportation Center in downtown Buffalo
    181 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
  • Portage Road Transportation Center
    1124 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, NY 14301
  • Transportation Center in Niagara Falls.
  • 2180 Factory Outlet Blvd Niagara Falls, NY 14301
  • By phone (716-855-7200) Accepting Discover, Visa or Master Card. Checks, money orders and credit card transactions may be mailed with a PAL Pass Transaction Form.
  • Or online, PAL Pass can be purchased online and are handled through PayPal.

PAL Pass Restrictions:

The PAL Pass is valid for existing PAL transportation service by the purchaser with valid ID.  The pass is not redeemable and may only be used by one person on any one trip.

For more information about the NFTA Paratransit Access Line, contact the customer service office at:

PAL/ NFTA
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY  14203
(716) 855-7268 (716) 855-7377 TDD
Cash office: 855-7200

Information in Alternative Formats

All public information materials are available in large print, audio recording and braille upon request. Please contact PAL Customer Service Office.

We would like to know what you think about our service and encourage comments about PAL service. Commendations and concerns can be registered by contacting one of the following:

PAL Customer Service
716-855-7268 (voice)
716-855-7239 – option #8
1-800-662-1220 or 711 (relay)
palfeedback@nfta.com (email)

Please report Americans with Disability Act violations to:
NFTA ADA/EEO Administrator
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY  14203

click here to access PAL Direct Trip Planner

NAVIGATING OUR AUTOMATED
TELEPHONE AND ONLINE RESERVATION SYSTEM

PAL Direct is our automated paratransit reservation system that gives customers twenty-four hour access to PAL information and scheduling services. PAL customers can schedule, confirm, cancel and review trip history, submit feedback and update account information, at any time. No need to wait to speak with Customer Service or an ADA Controller.

PAL Direct offers

  • access from a touch-tone phone, smartphone, tablet and/or computer
  • voice, text message and/or email reminders for PAL rides
  • important PAL service alerts

PAL Direct
Online Access

To access PAL Direct and schedule a ride, you must first apply and be certified as eligible for NFT-Metro’s Paratransit Access Line (PAL). Current PAL customers can log in using their Customer ID number and password. Your customer ID number is located on your PAL photo identification card.

  • Customer ID Number
  • Password – (Date of Birth)
    If your date of birth is Jan 3, 1950 Example:010350 (MM/DD/YY)

Scheduling a Trip

Log in using your customer ID number and date of birth (MM/DD/YY) as your password.

  • Select your pick-up location
  • Select your drop-off location
  • Select the date you wish to travel
  • Request a pick-up or drop-off time
  • If traveling with someone, add a PCA or companion
  • Click the request the ride button
  • Click Book the trip

PAL Direct
Automated Telephone System

PAL Direct telephone system provides quick and convenient self-service access. Like the online system, the telephone system allows customers to schedule, confirm and cancel rides at any time. To access the automated phone reservation system, call 716-855-7239, listen to the prompts, they will guide you through each step.

Vehicle is Late2Policies & Procedures3Rider Alerts/ Notifications4

Telephone Main Menu

Option Touch-Tone
Book, Confirm, Cancel 1
Vehicle is late 2
Policies and Procedures 3
Alerts and notifications 4

 

 

Telephone Scheduling Menu

Option Touch-Tone
Confirm Trip 1
Cancel Trip 2
Book a Trip 3
Check Customer Info 4

 

PAL Direct Automated Notifications

PAL Direct provides three types of trip notifications, voice (phone), text and email. All customers are automatically enrolled to receive voice notifications. This service is provided at no charge. Your phone carrier rates still apply. Contact PAL Customer Service to request email or text message notifications, or to opt out of receiving notifications.

Voice (Phone) Notification:

The evening before your trip, you will receive a telephone call from the automated system reminding you of your scheduled trips for the following day. At that time, you can confirm or cancel your trip. If you miss the notification call, your trip is still scheduled. You may call the automated system to confirm the trip details.

On the day of your trip, you will receive a phone call notifying you that your vehicle is approximately 10 minutes away. Note: the notification that the vehicle is on its way is an approximation, please be ready to board the vehicle at the top of your pick-up window.

Text Notification:

You can request to receive notifications via text message instead of voice notifications. The text message will be sent from “25370” and will include details about your trip.

Contact PAL Customer Service to add text message notifications as an option to your customer profile.

Email Notification:

To receive email notifications, contact PAL Customer Service and provide an email address. Email notifications will be sent from “My Trips” and will include details about your trip.

OPT-Out of Notification:

If you do not want to receive text, phone or email notifications, please contact Paratransit Customer Service Office.

Subscription Trips:

These trips are automatically scheduled. You will not receive previous day reminders for subscription trips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I book a trip for the same day?

Although the automated reservation system is available 24 hours a day, PAL cannot accommodate same day requests. Trips can be booked up to 14 days in advance, but no less than 4pm the day prior.

How do I enter a new address?

Both the online and telephone systems list your 10 most frequent trips. If an address is not listed, contact an ADA Controller to schedule your trip.

How do I make changes to a trip I have scheduled?

You will need to cancel the trip then reschedule with the correct details.

I missed the notification call the evening before my trip, what do I do?

Your trip is still scheduled. You can call the automated system to confirm trip details.

How do I receive a reminder call when away from home?

You can set your cell phone as your primary number, or when scheduling a trip, enter the number you would like the system to call.

What does this cost?

PAL Direct automated service, voice, text and email reminders are provided at no charge. Your phone carrier rates still apply.

How far in advance can I schedule a ride?

Ride requests may be made one to fourteen days in advance.

 

PAL Direct Automated Telephone System

716-855-7239

PAL Direct Automated Online Reservation

paldirect.nfta.com

ADA Controllers

716-855-7239 (voice)
1-800-662-1220 or 711 (relay)
7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

PAL Customer Service Office

716-855-7268 (voice)
1-800-662-1220 or 711 (relay)
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays

Information in Alternative Formats

This information and all other public information materials are available in large print, audio recording and Braille upon request. Please contact PAL Customer Service.

NFTA/ Paratransit Access Line
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

Reduced-Fare Program for Individuals with Disabilities and the Elderly

What Is The Reduced-Fare Program?
The Federal Government requires that a reduced fare policy be in effect for senior citizens and people with disabilities during our off-peak hours. Off-peak hours are 9AM to 3PM and after 6PM on weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays. The NFTA has expanded the half fare program to be in effect throughout the day.

Who Qualifies for Reduced Fare?
You must be at least 65 years old or have a disability to receive the NFTA-Metro Reduced-Fare card. The fee for the card is $2. The Reduced-Fare card may be used on any NFTA regular route service. It is not valid on PAL service.

How To Obtain A Card If You Are 65 Or Older
Individuals 65 years or older may apply for a NFTA Metro Reduced-Fare card or they may obtain a Senior complimentary card through Erie or Niagara Counties. Erie County cards are obtained at the Rath Building, Room 1329 on Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until noon and from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Niagara County cards are obtained by calling the Council on the Aging at 285-8224, Extension 215. Individuals 65 years or older must provide proof of age, such as your birth certificate, driver's license, or other official document.

Note:  When you go to get your card, take proof of your age, such as your birth certificate, driver's license, or other official document.

How To Obtain A Card If You Are Disabled
The Federal Transit Administration defines “persons with disabilities” for purposes of the Reduced-Fare program. Metro’s Reduced-Fare Program for Persons with Disabilities provides reduced-fare transportation for persons with the following disabilities:

  • receiving Medicare benefits for any reason
  • serious mental illness (SMI) and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • blindness
  • hearing impairment
  • ambulatory disability
  • loss of both hands
  • intellectual disability and/or other organic mental capacity impairment

If you do not have one of these disabilities, you are not eligible for the Reduced-Fare Program.

To be considered for the NFTA’s Reduced-Fare Program, you must fill out the Reduced-Fare Application and submit the application in its entirety to:

NFTA- Metro Reduced-Fare Program
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

You can download the Reduced-Fare Application here.

When you get on the bus, swipe your Reduced-Fare card, and using exact change, put half the regular fare into the fare box. When you are using the rail, you must have your reduced fare card readily available to NFTA personnel upon request.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Medicare Card
You do not need the NFTA reduced fare card if you have a Medicare card. You may use your Medicare card in lieu of a NFTA reduced fare card on any regularly scheduled NFTA bus. When you get on the bus, show your card to the bus operator, and using exact change, put half the regular fare into the farebox. You will also need to show a photo ID.

Reduced Fare Photos
Metro takes photos for reduced fare cards in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Portage Road Transportation Center 1124 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, NY., 10 a.m. until noon, second Monday of every other month. For 2015: October 12 and December 14

Metropolitan Transportation Center, 181 Ellicott St., Buffalo NY 10 a.m. until noon, Monday to Friday

Inquiries
For general information or questions about the Reduced-Fare Program, please call the Reduced-Fare Information Line at 716.855.7360 | TTY / relay 711 or 800.662.1220.

If you have questions about the program, contact:

Reduced-Fare Program
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY  14203
716.855.7216
TTY/ relay 711 or 800.662.1220.

Metro Bus

  • All Metro vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps.
  • A kneeling feature which lowers the bus is also available.
  • Two wheelchair tie-down positions are provided on newer buses. The older buses have one tie-down position.
  • Metro Bus operators are required to announce major stops.
  • Riders using canes, crutches, walkers or those who have a hidden disability (e.g. arthritis, heart/lung disease) who cannot board the bus even when the vehicle is in the kneeling position may use the wheelchair lift in the standing position to board if the lift is equipped with handrails.
  • Service animals are permitted on Metro vehicles.
  • Individuals traveling with a personal oxygen supply are permitted on Metro vehicles.
  • Metro Bus operators provide assistance to disabled passengers where necessary or upon request.
  • When the wheelchair lift is not working and the next bus is not due to arrive for over 30 minutes, riders are entitled to alternative transportation. Just ask your driver to make the arrangements for you.
  • Priority seating is provided for seniors and disabled.


Metro Rail

  • All Metro Rail trains and stations are accessible to riders with disabilities.
  • Wheelchair riders must board the first door of the first railcar in the train in order to have access to boarding platforms on the Buffalo Place Mall.
  • Wheelchair riders traveling in the subsurface (underground) portion of the system may board any railcar.
  • Riders with disabilities, including those with visual impairments, are required to pay a fare.
  • Each railcar has two wheelchair securement locations; one at the front and one at the back of the railcar.
  • Wheelchairs may not block doors or aisles
  • Service animals are permitted on Metro Rail.
  • Ticket vending machines located throughout the system are equipped with Braille and raised letters. Wheelchair height machines are also provided.
  • Passenger assistance communication equipment (PACE) is available at each Metro Rail station. This equipment may be used to obtain information or to report an emergency.
  • Many of Metro's rail stations provide Telecommunication Devices for the deaf, as well as video monitors to assist riders who are deaf or hearing impaired. Volume control telephones are available, as well.
  • In the event of an elevator breakdown, wheelchair users may use the PACE panel to request assistance. Riders will be advised to travel to the next station with a working elevator and take the next scheduled bus back to the station you called from, or a replacement bus or lift equipped Metro supervisor van will be dispatched to pick you up. NEVER try to use the escalator or allow anyone to carry you up the escalator or stairs.
  • Raised letter and Braille directional signage is provided at many Metro Rail stations.


General
Personal Care Attendants may ride Metro Bus or Rail for free when,
- the PCA is accompanying a person unable to travel without a PCA,
- the person requiring the PCA has valid reduced fare ID, or
- the PCA's necessity has been verified.

Individuals requiring a PCA should apply for Metro Reduced Fare benefits.
Check Metro's Reduce Fare Application page.
Or, call Metro Customer Service, 716.855.7216 | TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220.

Half Fares
Some passengers may qualify for reduced fares. Click here for more information.
Questions?
If you have difficulty accessing any portions of this website due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, or you have suggestions on how we can make this site more accessible, or you need the information in an alternative format, please contact us at:
NFTA ADA/EEO Administrator
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, N.Y. 14203
(716) 855-7286
TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220

The NFTA Advisory Committee on the Disabled

The committee meets on a monthly basis at 2:00 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month from September through June. The September and June meetings are held in Niagara County at the Niagara Frontier Center for Independent Living, 746 Portage Road, Niagara Falls. The January meeting is hosted by the NFTA at 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo. All other meetings are held at various locations in the community. Membership on the Committee is open to the public. If you are interested in attending an Advisory Committee Meeting please call the ADA/EEO Administrator at 855-7286 (voice) or TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220. for more information.

Bring your suggestions, concerns or learn about all of NFTA's accessible services and programs for the disabled.
Mobility Training Anyone with a disability who would like to learn how to ride the Metro Bus or Rail system may contact NFTA's ADA/EEO Administrator at 855-7286 (voice) or TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220. Individuals who are blind must be accompanied by a qualified Orientation/Mobility instructor.

Half Fares
Some passengers may qualify for reduced fares. Click here for more information.
Questions?
If you have difficulty accessing any portions of this website due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, or you have suggestions on how we can make this site more accessible, or you need the information in an alternative format, please contact us at:
NFTA ADA/EEO Administrator
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, N.Y. 14203
(716) 855-7286
TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220