Type of Service

PAL is a shared ride service and provides curb-to-curb transportation. The NFTA makes provisions to ensure that each passenger actually gets from his/her point of origin to his/her point of destination. To meet this origin to destination requirement, service may need to be provided to some individuals or at some locations in a way that goes beyond curb-to-curb service.

Operators may provide minimal assistance escorting a customer to and from the vehicle. Operators are not allowed to leave their vehicle unattended, carry packages or operate any mobility aids.

Trip Purpose

All types of trips may be taken on PAL. This includes social, recreational, medical, work or shopping trips. No priority is placed on trip purpose, nor are you required to identify the purpose of your trip. You may not, however use PAL for trips that are already provided by or paid for by another agency.

Travel Time

PAL is a shared ride service and direct trips to and from your destination are 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 ultimate destination. This standard exists except when circumstances are beyond the NFTA's control (including inclement weather, as well as any factors constituting traffic delays).

Hours and Days of Service

PAL provides the same level of service as our fixed route service. This means that PAL operates whenever Metro Bus & Rail provides service in your area.

Service Area

PAL's service area extends 3/4 of a mile on either side or at the beginning and end of Metro's bus/rail fixed route service area. This does not apply to commuter or express route service. This means that paratransit is available along bus or trains routes during the hours and days in which the bus/train is operating.

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 are unable to travel alone. A PCA must have the same origin and destination as the customer. Personal care attendants ride free. Be sure to tell your reservation agent if you will be traveling with a PCA.

Companions

You may travel with one companion as long as he or she has the same origin and destination as you do. Additional companions may accompany you on a trip on a space available basis. Be sure to mention that you will be traveling with a companion when making your reservation. Companions pay the same fare as the customer.

PAL Photo Identification

All Paratransit customers are required to obtain a photo identification card. Your identification card will contain important coded information about your eligibility, your functional capabilities and requirements. Please carry it with you and present it to the driver when boarding PAL vehicles.

On Site Van Waiting period

Once the PAL van arrives during your 30-minute window* period at your pickup, the operator is only allowed to wait five minutes for you. Be sure to be ready so the operator doesn't leave you behind.

Drivers are instructed not to arrive before your window period begins. In the event that the van does not arrive during your window period and you accept another form of transportation you will not be charged with a missed trip.

This thirty minute period is when you can expect your pick-up to occur. You are expected to be ready to board the vehicle when the driver arrives at any point within this window.

* Pick-up Window e.g. -15 minutes before and 15 minutes after your scheduled pickup time. (Example: Pickup time is 2 p.m., therefore the window period would be 1:45 to 2:15 p.m.)

Subscriptions Trips

If you take repetitive trips over an extended period of time you are entitled to request subscription trip service. Typically subscription trips are provided for work, education, and medical care related trips, or whenever the same trip is taken repeatedly. Subscription service may not exceed 50 percent of the PAL Direct trips provided on any given day or time. You only have to call once to make your subscription trip reservation. It is not necessary to call every time you take the same trip.

Travel Training

Travel training is available for PAL fixed route service. For more information on travel training, please contact PAL Customer Service.

Keeping Information Up To Date

It is very important that you keep your information up to date. You can update your contact information under the Profile section of this web application or call the Paratransit Customer Service Office at 716-855-7268 if there is a change in the following: your address or telephone number (including cell phones), your emergency contact's name or telephone number.

If there is a change in the type of mobility device you are using, your physical or mental condition or you need for a personal care attendant, please contact the Paratransit Customer Service Office.

Missed Trip Policy

The Missed Trip Policy will be exercised and assess riders with a violation for accumulating a specific amount of no shows and/or late cancellations; transportation could be suspended for an extended amount of time as a result.

No show: the vehicle arrives at the requested origin within the given pick up window and the rider fails to board the vehicle within five minutes. For example, the vehicle arrives at the requested origin at 7:00 a.m. and the rider fails to board by 7:05 a.m.

Late cancellation: the rider fails to cancel a trip at least two hours prior to the start of the pick-up window. For example, a trip with a pick up window of 7:00 a.m.-7:30 a.m. must be canceled by 5:00 a.m. to avoid receiving a late cancel.

Violation:

  • 1 to 20 scheduled trips per month 
    A violation is accrued if there is a total of 2 no shows and/or late cancels during a calendar month.
  • 21 to 30 scheduled trips per month 
    A violation is accrued if there is a total of 3 no shows and/or late cancels during a calendar month.
  • 31 or more scheduled trips per month 
    A violation is accrued if there is a total of 10 % no shows and/or late cancels during a calendar month.

A rider's travel history with paratransit for the previous 6 months will be reviewed. A rider who accumulates a violation will have the following progression apply. Violations are assessed on the first of every month for the previous month.

  • 1st violation written notification of violation
  • 2nd violation 3-day suspension*
  • 3rd violation 7-day suspension*
  • 4th violation 15-day suspension*
  • 5th and 6th violation 30-day suspension*

NFTA will not penalize the rider for any no show and/or late cancel that was beyond the riders control. Therefore, when this occurs the rider must contact PAL customer service within 10 days, in writing, with supporting documentation. NFTA will then advise the rider in writing, if the no show and/or late cancel will remain on the rider's record.

NFTA has established an administrative appeals process, which provides the rider an opportunity to present information and arguments supporting continuation of transportation. To request an administrative appeal the rider must notify PAL Customer service in writing within 10 days of receiving notification that transportation will be suspended. Requests for an administrative appeal are sent to:

Metro PAL Customer Service Office
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, NFTA
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
(716) 855-7268 phone
(716) 855-6694 fax

*If the customer is appealing the suspension, the suspension from PAL will not occur until the outcome of the appeals hearing.

Appeals Process

The following process shall be followed when an application for ADA Paratransit service is either denied or given a conditional status.

An appeal of denial of an application or conditional eligibility determination of an application for ADA Paratransit service must be filed within sixty (60) days from receipt of denial or conditional eligibility determination.

The Appeals Board consists of a Board Member or Executive Director of disability type agency, lawyer for the NFTA and nurse representing the transportation provider. No one serving on the Appeals Board may have been involved in the original review of the application.

The Appeals Board will meet as appropriate to review any appeals filed. At that time the appellant shall have the opportunity to be heard and to present information and argument in support of the appeal.

Written notification of the decision and the reason(s) for it will be mailed to the individual within 30 days of the completion of the appeals process. In the event that decision has not been made within 30 days, NFTA Metro/PAL shall provide paratransit service from that time until a decision to deny the appeal is issued.

Disruptive Behavior/Direct Threat Policy

Purpose:
The NFTA will make every effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for our customers and employees. No person shall engage in conduct that is violent, seriously disruptive, illegal, or pose a direct threat to other customers or employees.

Federal regulations:
28 CFR Sec. 36.208(b) (Direct threat)) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgement that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: The nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur, and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

49 CFR Sec. 37.5(h) ( Nondiscrimination) It is not discrimination under this part for an entity to refuse to provide service to an individual with disabilities because that individual engages in violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct, or represents a direct threat to the health or safety of others. However, an entity shall not refuse to provide service to an individual with disabilities solely because the individual's disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy or inconvenience employees of the entity or other persons.

Definitions: 
Direct Threat: is defined by Federal regulations as posing a “significant risk to others”. This includes both safety issues and highly infectious diseases or conditions, when if “reasonable modifications to policies, practices or procedures will not eliminate risk.”

Disruptive Behavior: behavior which is violent, seriously disruptive, or engaging in illegal conduct. This does not include involuntary, non-violent behavior that is disability-related and which does not pose a direct threat.

Violations:
The NFTA may refuse to provide service to any customer who engages in violent, seriously disruptive, illegal conduct, and customers that pose a direct threat. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Engages in fighting, in violent, or threatening behavior
  • Any criminal act
  • Possession of weapons or firearms
  • Possession of hazardous, explosive or corrosive materials
  • Use abusive or obscene language, or makes obscene gesture
  • Verbal or sexual harassment
  • Assault of driver or other passenger (s)
  • Physical aggression or intimidation
  • Failure to maintain control of service animal
  • Vandalism/Destruction or damage to property
  • Serious health related conditions or conduct impacting public health
    • Examples include but are not limited to insect infestation, TB or other contagious conditions, spitting, urinating/defecating, discharge of bodily fluids
  • Open Sores and Wounds
    • An open sore or wound may include, but is not limited to a medically related opening which creates leaking or discharge of bodily fluid or an injury that causes an external break in body tissue.
    • Wounds must be properly dressed and leakage/discharge must be controlled to prevent the threat of transmission of biohazards to transit personnel and other customers.

Service denial:
Customers who violate this policy are subject to penalties. NFTA Transit Police is authorized to evict a customer from the bus or train and/or ban an individual from riding for a specific period of time. The NFTA reserves the right to deny or suspend service (including permanent suspension), and possible criminal prosecution. Note: the suspension policy does not preclude criminal actions.

  1. The operator will ask the customer to stop or correct the disruptive behavior. Should the customer continue to engage in a violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal behavior, Transit Police assistance shall be requested.
  2. The NFTA on a case by case determination will make every effort to identify a person that is considered a direct threat and seek possible intervention, such as transporting the individual to a health care facility (e.g. ECMC, or contact a Health Care Professional on their behalf).
  3. NFTA Transit Police may issue a Notice of Violation (NOV) and maintain a record of NOVs issued to customers.
  4. Individuals that have a confirmed serious health related condition impacts the safety or wellbeing of others will not be transported by any NFTA Metro service vehicle. Service to that individual will be restored once a written confirmation from a Health Care Professional or a legal document is presented stating that the issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of the NFTA.

Penalties 
Penalty: An NFTA implemented suspension of service, for a specified period of time, including permanent suspension, due to a violation of the Disruptive Behavior/Direct Threat policy.

You may receive a verbal notice of expulsion or written notice of suspension from NFTA. Failure to comply with either may subject you to arrest and/or criminal prosecution. You have the right to review or appeal a suspension.  All requests for review of suspension shall formally be provided in writing to the attention of the Director of Public Transit.

Defective Wheelchair Policy

Policy
Wheelchair and other mobility devices must be kept in good operating condition. Inadequately maintained equipment can be a hazard for riders and operators.

Procedure
When a customer mobility device becomes disabled while on the vehicle, the operator shall immediately contact the controller and the controller will arrange for a supervisor, transit police or emergency services to provide assistance with transferring the customer off the vehicle at either the customer's origin or destination. It is the intent of the policy to accommodate the customer's request for transfer location when possible.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE OPERATOR SOLELY ATTEMPT TO OPERATE OR MANEUVER THE MOBILITY DEVICE

When the customer is returned to the point of origin or destination, the Metro Controller will make arrangements and shall confirm the rider will not be stranded. The Operator shall complete a transportation report and the Controller is to record the incident in the bus log. The contact information of the rider (e.g. name, address and phone number) shall be indicated in the bus log and on the transportation repo

Click here to view our privacy policy.

Type of Service

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the NFTA provides comparable service to eligible individuals with disabilities who are functionally unable to use regular accessible fixed-route bus service for some or all of their transportation needs.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.129 (a)

Service Area

NFTA will provide a level of service that is comparable to the level of service offered on our fixed route bus system and must extend ¾ of a mile on either side of the fixed route.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (a)

Types of Eligibility

Unconditional eligibility entitles you to use PAL service during all hours and days of operation.

Conditional eligibility places certain restrictions on your use of PAL service based on your particular type of disability. For example, you may only be eligible to use PAL service during winter months or for travel to unfamiliar destinations where you have not been travel trained.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.123

Hours and Days of Service

PAL provides the same level of service as our fixed route service. This means that PAL operates whenever Metro Bus and Rail provide service in your area.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (e)

Travel Time

A trip on PAL may take an extended amount of time, as direct trips are not guaranteed.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (f)

Trip Purpose

NFTA does not impose restrictions or prioritize based on trip purpose.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (d)

Administrative Appeals Process

You may request an Appeals Hearing if you disagree with your eligibility status or any sanction imposed on your paratransit service.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.125 (g)

Personal Care Aide/Attendant (PCA)

Customers who are unable to travel independently may travel with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). The individual's application must indicate from the Healthcare Professional that a PCA is needed for travel. PCA must have the same origin and destination as the PAL customer. Also a PCA travels free when accompanying the PAL customer.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.123 (f)

Companions

Customers may travel with companions as long as they have the same origin and destination. Companions pay the same fare as the PAL customer.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.123 (f)

Visitors

A visitor is an individual with a disability who does not reside in the jurisdiction serviced by the public entity or other entities which the public entity provides coordinated complementary paratransit service

NFTA is not required to provide service to a visitor for more than 21 days after the first paratransit trip used. If an individual is planning to use PAL for more than 21 days NFTA requires that an individual apply for services in this jurisdiction.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.127 (e)

Reservations

Reservations for PAL must be made no later than the day prior to travel however reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (b)

Subscription Trips

If repetitive trips are taken over an extend period of time customers are entitled to request a subscription trip service. Typically, subscription trips are provided for work, education, and medical care related trips, or whenever the same trip is taken repeatedly. Subscription service may not exceed 50 percent of the PAL Direct trips provided on any given day or time.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.133 (b)

Missed Trips/Late Cancels/Service Suspension

The entity may establish an administrative process to suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the provision of complementary paratransit service to ADA eligible individuals who establish a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips.

Customers who have 2 trips or 10 percent of your trips (whichever is greater) within a calendar month are no-shows or late cancellations will receive a violation for that month. If you receive two or more violations within a six-month period, your PAL service will be suspended. You will receive a postcard following each incident. You must respond to this postcard within 10 days to dispute a no show/late cancel.

It is therefore important for you to call PAL whenever you are unable to make your trip. Failure to call at least two hours prior to your pick-up window may place you in jeopardy of losing PAL service. PAL will notify you I n writing prior to suspending service.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.125(h)

Service Animals

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

It is your responsibility to make sure your animal has up-to-date shots and that proper flea control measures are taken.

It is also your responsibility to keep your animal under control at all times.

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.167 (d)

Mobility Aids

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.3

Wheelchair means a mobility aid belonging to any class of three-or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.

Walkers must be collapsible and able to be stored between seats.

The mobility device must be in good working order; with batteries charged, tires inflated, working brakes, footrests attached, and all parts secure.

Department of Transportation,(DOT), regulations state that transit providers are only required to transport a wheelchair and occupant if the vehicle and lift can do so safely. NFTA will not transport individuals and their mobility aid if it exceeds 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length and weighs more than 800 pounds when occupied.

In the event the mobility aid and occupant exceed what the vehicle can carry, the individual will be given the option of traveling using an alternate mobility aid or travel with a personal Care Attendant (PCA), who can operate the mobility aid while the individual rides the lift separately. Please note that under no circumstances are Operators allowed to operate mobility aids.

Fare

49 Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Sec. 37.131 (c)

Fares for PAL are two times the amount of the fare of the fixed route systems. One-way fares are paid when you board. Round trip fares cannot be accepted.

A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) is not charged for PAL rides.

One-way fares are paid when you board. Round trip fares cannot be accepted. Bills, coins, and PAL Passes are accepted. Fares are two times the fare of the fixed route system.

PAL Fare $4 each way
PAL Pass (10 trips) $35
PAL Pass (20 trips) $70

Companions pay the same fare as the PAL customer.

Personal Care Attendants (PCA) ride free of charge and must have the same origin and destination as the PAL customer.

PAL eligible customers travel free on all Metro fixed routes with a valid PAL identification card. Riding fixed routes for free will not have an impact on your PAL eligibility.

PAL Passes are available to all Paratransit customers and offer a substantial savings over cash fares. The card is good for a set number of trips (10 or 20). No need to carry exact change, the pass is validated by a paratransit operator each time you board the van. The pass can be discarded once all the numbers are punched.

The PAL Pass is good for existing paratransit services with valid I.D. The pass is not redeemable and may only be used by a paratransit approved customers.

Passes are available at the Metropolitan Transportation Center, 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, or by phone at (716) 855-7200. We accept Discover, Visa, or MasterCard.

Checks, money orders, and credit card transactions may be mailed with a PAL Pass application.

PAL Pass transaction forms can be requested by contacting PAL Customer Service or by visiting www.nfta.com