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