The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and 49 CFR Part 37-Transportation Services for Individuals with Disabilities, requires public entities operating a fixed-route transportation system to also provide complimentary paratransit service to an individual whose disabilities preclude them from using fixed-route bus service. 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §37.125(h) of the ADA regulations allows paratransit service to be suspended for customers who establish a “pattern or practice” of missed scheduled trips. In addition, 49 CFR §37.5(h) allows for the suspension of services 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 (collectively “disruptive behavior”).
The purpose of the North County Transit District’s (NCTD) customer no-show cancellation and service suspension policy is to:
- Define the timeframes for scheduling and/or cancelling a trip
- Define a no-show
- Define a late cancellation
- Specify the progress steps and penalties for excessive no-shows and late cancellations
- Outline the no-show and late cancellation appeals process.
- Define fare evasion suspension
- Define disruptive behavior suspension
Definition of a no-show
NCTD defines a no-show as a customer not at the scheduled pick–up location at the scheduled time.
If the customer is not at the scheduled pick-up location at the scheduled time, the driver will wait for five (5) minutes before marking the customer a no-show.
Definition of a Late Cancellation
A late cancellation is defined as a trip that is cancelled less than two hours before the scheduled pick-up time for circumstances that are within the customer ’s control; OR a customer cancelling a ride with a driver upon arrival of a vehicle.
If a customer misses a scheduled outbound trip, LIFT will not automatically cancel his/her return trip. Each leg of the trip is treated separately. Without an indication from the customer that the return trip is not needed, it will remain on the schedule. Excessive late cancellations and no-shows may result in suspension of service.
Progressive steps for excessive no-shows and late cancellations
NCTD tracks all no-shows and late cancellations utilizing the NCTD Scheduling Software. If the customer is not at the scheduled pick-up location at the scheduled time, the driver will wait for five minutes before contacting dispatch who will record the customer as a no-show and provide permission to the driver to depart the scheduled location. No-show verifications will be completed through landmark identification received by the driver prior to departure from the scheduled location and vehicle location (GPS) data.
Cancellations that are received less than two hours prior to the scheduled pick-up time by the LIFT Call Center are entered and tracked within the NCTD Scheduling Software.
Each verified no-show or late cancellation will count as one no-show. An accumulation of three or more No-Showed trips in a month are considered excessive and will be considered a “pattern or practice”. Customers may be suspended after they meet all the following conditions:
- Accumulated three or more no-shows or late cancellations in one calendar month;
- Have booked at least ten (10) trips within the calendar month; and
- Have “no-showed” or “late cancelled” at least 10% of those trips.
The No-Show/Late Cancellation Suspension Policy dictates the following outcome within a 12-month rolling period from when the customer meets all the conditions above, which will result in a first offense.
First offense – 7-day suspension
Second offense – 14-day suspension
Third offense – 21-day suspension
Fourth offense – 28-day suspension, maximum
Process of Warnings, Penalties & Appeals
- First no-show or late cancellation within a calendar month:
- Second no-show or late cancellation within a calendar month:
- Third no-show or late cancellation within a calendar month and all no-show conditions have been met:
- Action taken: A Warning Letter will be sent to the customer’s address of record.
- This notification will advise the customer of NCTD’s intent to suspend them from LIFT service for a period of seven (7) days.
- Customers may submit a request to excuse any no-show or late cancellation that they believe to be incorrect or beyond their control within fifteen (15) days from the date of the Warning Letter.
- If there is no response to the Warning Letter within fifteen (15) days:
- Action taken: A Final Suspension Letter will be sent to the customer’s address of record.
- NCTD will provide thirty (30) days from the date of the Final Suspension Letter to allow the customer to make alternative transportation arrangements.
No-shows and late cancellations will be tracked each month. However, it is the customer’s responsibility to track his/her late cancellations and no-shows to ensure that they are kept within an acceptable level. It is also the customer’s responsibility to ensure that LIFT is properly informed of any change in mailing address to ensure all correspondence is received in a timely manner.
Letter of Warning or Suspension
A warning letter will be sent to the customer after meeting all the above conditions, to remind and inform them of the no-show policy and appeal process and notify them that their LIFT privileges will be suspended if no response excusing the no-shows and/or late cancellations is received within fifteen (15) days from the date of the Warning Letter. All Warning and Suspension letters will be mailed at the end of each month, to the most recent address provided to NCTD in connection with the paratransit application process. The letter will contain the following information:
- A listing of the dates when the no-shows occurred
- Times of the no-shows at issue
- Pickup locations and destinations for the no-shows at issue
- If not related to no-shows, the basis of the suspension
- The dates of the pending suspension
- Instructions on how to file an appeal for a suspension
All Warning and Suspension letters will be made available in alternative formats, upon request. Service suspensions can be appealed by following the directions included in the Warning and Suspension letters.
Complete information about the appeals process will be included with the service suspension letter.