Piattran is committed to providing safe, reliable, courteous, accessible and user-friendly services to its customers. To ensure equality and fairness, Piattran is committed to making reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you need anything in a different accessible format, please call at 217-762-7821.
Personal Care Attendants/Escorts/Companion
Service will be provided to a personal care attendant (PCA) or escort traveling with a rider. Persons are considered to be accompanying the eligible rider if they are picked up and dropped off at the same locations as the rider. One PCA/Escort will ride for free with the rider. However, the driver will not assist with loading bags when a PCA/Escort is riding.
In addition to a PCA/Escort, one companion can accompany a rider – however, they will be subject to pay a regular fare rate or suggestion donation if participating in the 60 or older rider program. Other persons beyond one companion and one PCA/Escort accompanying the rider are accommodated on a “space available” basis.
No Show Policy and Procedure
If the bus is scheduled to pick you up and you are not there or do not ride, and failed to notify the dispatch office to cancel the ride an hour prior, then you or the referring agency may be required to pay for the trip. Vehicle movement is tracked by GPS and documentation of the time of our arrival at your pickup point can be furnished upon request.
Finally, the regulations permit Piattran to suspend service to you when you have established a “pattern or practice” of missing scheduled rides (“no-show”). Service can be suspended for a “reasonable period of time”. Allowances may be made for missed trips that are beyond your control. The number of no-shows considered a pattern or practice and the period of suspension has been developed through the public participation process required for the development and updating plans.
Before service can be suspended for cause under this provision, you will be given an opportunity to appeal the proposed suspension.
If you are a persons with disability, Piattran will ensure adequate time for you to board or disembark a vehicle.
Service Animals & Pets
As long as in a portable cage or carrier, a rider can transport any animal while riding on Piattran. Due to risk of bites or scratches – drivers will not provide assistance with carrying any animal on the bus. Riders are required to clean up messes animals make while riding. Drivers will provide supplies to the rider when this is needed.
Service animals are the only animals not required to ride in a carrier/cage. All service animals must be declared to Piattran Dispatch when a reservation is made. Once you do so, dispatch will request the rider complete and fill out a Rider Intake form to declare the need for a service animal.
For safety reasons, drivers are not required to load a passenger in a wheelchair if access to your home involves maneuvering more than one step, unless your home is equipped with a ramp for easy wheelchair access. If members of your family are available to transfer you from your home to the vehicle, then the step limitation will not apply. Drivers are not required to transfer you from your home to the vehicle if the ramp is determined to be unsafe for normal maneuvers.
Piattran requires all passengers, including those in wheelchairs to wear a seatbelt. The only exception is children who have a disability that requires no seat belt be used. When this is the case, the guardian/parent of the rider will have sign a liability waiver on the rider intake form.
Lift & Securement Use
Piattran will provide and require any mobility device be safety secured while transporting a rider. If a device cannot be secured with existing equipment, Piattran will pursue alternative equipment for securing devices – service will not be denied if unable to be secured. Piattran will not require a wheelchair user to transfer to another seat. Staff will provide assistance upon request or as necessary with lifts, ramps, and securement systems. Upon request anyone may use the vehicle’s lifts or ramp.
While personal oxygen tanks are not combustible objects, Piattran drivers are required to secure these tanks in order to prevent these objects hitting/harming any passenger in the event of an accident. Typically, bungie cords are able to secure the device – if additional equipment is needed to secure it, dispatching staff can arrange for that to be provided to the driver onsite. If there is any concern regarding securing a personal oxygen tank, please contact Piattran offices to setup an Operations Management site review meeting, where a bus and manager will review the device and how it will be secured with the rider.
Lifts may be deployed at any stop, unless the lift cannot be deployed without damaging it, and/or if temporary conditions preclude the safe deployment of the lift.
Vehicle operators and other personnel are required to use accessibility-related equipment and features (such as tie-downs to secure a wheelchair on the vehicle).
Wheelchair definition is three-or-more wheeled devices.
With respect to the size and weight of wheelchairs, Piattran will transport a wheelchair and its user, as long as the lift can accommodate the size and weight of you and your wheelchair, and there is space for the wheelchair on the vehicle. However, Piattran is not required to carry your wheelchair if in fact, the lift or vehicle is unable to accommodate the wheelchair and its user, consistent with legitimate safety requirements.
Segways or other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) – Piattran will accept such devices as long as your mobility device can be transported safely. If you cannot be safely secured on the device with approved securements, you may be required to transfer to a seat or wave liability.
Disability Eligibility & Recertification
To be eligible for disabled fare rates, you need to complete Piattran’s Rider Intake form, sign it, and turn it into office staff. An individual may ride at the disabled rate up to 21 calendar days from their first ride – before the required Rider Intake form is completed. Once the form is submitted, eligibility as “disabled” is automatically assumed unless notified otherwise by Piattran staff in writing. Piattran may request that your Rider Intake form is updated annually, in order to maintain eligibility. If your rider profile is deemed inactive (due to not riding in 5 years) – then you may be required to resubmit a Rider Intake form.
Paratransit Bus Routing
All Piattran vehicles are fully ADA accessible and as a door-to-door, demand response service, there are few individuals who cannot ride our regular routes. If you believe you may be unable to ride our regular routes, please contact Piattran dispatch to setup a site visit with an Independent Living Center staff person – who will determine eligibility to have direct routing service outside of our regular routing. For example, a rider over 100 years of age is unable to survive the 45 minute bus trip to pick up everyone else before going to the doctor. Another example could include, a person with a disability is unable to walk to the curb and a regular bus cannot fit into their driveway – so a specialized van is sent instead.
Administrative Appeal Process
If your disabled status is denied for any reason, you may submit an appeal request within 6 days of being denied. These requests will be heard at the next Piatt County Transportation Committee meeting, as long as request is received 48 hours prior to the meeting (per Open Meeting Act for agenda items). If it misses that deadline, then the hearing will occur the following month, and the disable status will be granted in the interim waiting for the Transportation Committee meeting to be held. If medical information is part of the appeal, then a closed session and/or waiver may be requested.
If there is a conflict of interest with you or your representative or there is a personal relationship with a person on Piattran panel and/or decision maker, it may become the subject of a civil rights complaint and ultimately be reviewed by the courts. It is therefore important that there be documentation of the proceedings. It is not required or necessary to have hearings transcribed, but documentation will be thorough enough to capture the essential issues raised and note that the established process was followed.
Driver Training Schedule & Requirements
Prior to being hired, all staff have to pass a background check (finger printing), driving history check, DOT physical, drug and alcohol pre-employment testing. Upon being hired, all driving staff go through Passenger Assistance (ADA), Defensive Driving, Emergency Response, OIG Rule 50, and CPR trainings. Annually, refresher training is held on identified areas. Every 3 years, driving staff are required to go through all trainings listed above.
Observing Privacy Rights
The medical information that may be gathered as part of the ADA eligibility certification process are not shared with any other party. This would include specific diagnosis provided by professionals and information about the nature of disabilities provided by you or your representative. Access to eligibility files is limited and those with access to these files are informed and instructed to respect your privacy. This includes ‘in-house’ staff, any third-party contractors, and/or Piatt County Board member used in the determination process.
Circumstances Under which Service Can be Conditioned
In certain circumstances, it may be possible to mitigate the effects of conduct by requiring that you meet certain conditions (e.g., use the service with an attendant). While the regulation does not allow transit agencies to require attendants in other cases, such a condition of use is permitted, if you would otherwise be refused service. In other words, Piattran may place conditions on the use of service if we otherwise would have the right to refuse service.
For example, a rider with a cognitive disability may have a tendency to hit other passengers. The behavior may be controlled by the presence of an attendant. If uncontrolled, such conduct would be seriously disruptive to the service, then Piattran would have the right to refuse service. Piattran could also, therefore, require that the person travel with an attendant.
Piattran must notify you and/or caregiver first verbally and then in writing about the decision, the reasons for it, and the sanctions imposed, if any. This information would be made available in accessible formats. In the case of a decision adverse to you, the administrative appeals process would be available to you.
All of the process issues associated with appeals of initial eligibility determinations must be followed in the final appeal noted above. This would include a separation of function, allowing 60 days for the appeal to be requested, making a determination within 30 days of the hearing, and providing interpreters if needed. The same individuals who hear appeals of initial eligibility determinations do not, however, have to hear appeals of proposed service suspensions.
Finally, it is important to note that service must continue to be provided throughout the process. Piattran may not suspend service while any part of the process is pending.
Service Can Be Refused Circumstances
Piattran can refuse to provide service to persons with disabilities if you engage in “violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct.” This may include assaulting a driver or another passenger, smoking or drinking on the vehicle in violation of established laws, or engaging in conduct that is so severe that the delivery of service is seriously disrupted. Piattran’s standing operating procedures is document any occurrence with an Incident Report form. Then management processes these forms, and notifies all applicable parties of Incident Occurrence and subsequent actions or suspension of services.
Conduct which is related to your disability and which annoys or offends is not to be considered “seriously disruptive”. The interpretive appendix to the regulation uses the example of a person with Tourette’s syndrome who may make involuntary profane statements. Such behavior would not be grounds to refuse service. Similarly, service cannot be refused based on an unfounded fear of a particular disability. On the other hand, refusal to use a seat belt and displaying a habit of not staying seated during transport could distract the driver and seriously disrupt service. Refusing service or requiring that you ride with an attendant might be appropriate in such a case. Similarly, you are responsible for the behavior of your service animals. Service can be refused or conditioned if a service animal is seriously disruptive.
Additionally, if a Rider’s presence poses a serious health risk to others – then Piattran may request reasonable accommodations be made to mitigate this risk, and if the rider refuses to follow these accommodations then service can be refused. For example, if someone has active TB and is riding to their doctor – Piattran can provide a facial mask to wear prior to boarding the bus.
In determining what constitutes “seriously disruptive” or “violent” behavior, Piattran may refer cases to the Piatt County States Attorney for review. Most communities have established laws and standards that define unacceptable public behavior, and the State’s Attorney would be familiar with these laws and applicability.
Accurate and correct information about various disabilities and medical conditions is vital to ensuring that you are not subjected to discrimination. For example, it may be necessary to determine if your disability causes annoying behavior or if you are prone to violence.