Important Alert :  

COASTER: As of Monday, 3/23, all weekend trains and some weekday trains suspended  Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the North County Transit District (NCTD) is experiencing significant declines in ridership and has determined that temporary service reductions will be implemented for COASTER commuter trains. The following temporary service reductions will be in effect beginning […]


LIFT Paratransit

LIFT Paratransit LIFT Paratransit

LIFTing Up Passengers With Disabilities

LIFT is provided by NCTD through its contractors, ADARide and MV Transportation (MV). ADARide is responsible for determining eligibility and certification, while MV is responsible for providing reservations, dispatching, and transportation. LIFT service is available during the same hours and days of operation including holidays as NCTD’s BREEZE bus and SPRINTER rail system. LIFT is provided to areas that are within ¾ of a mile of an NCTD BREEZE bus route and/or SPRINTER rail station. A LIFT reservationist will advise customers when requested origins and destinations fall outside the NCTD paratransit service area. LIFT provides curb-to-curb service for customers; however, assistance is available beyond the curb (for example to a front door) as necessitated by a rider’s disability. Requests for assistance beyond the curb cannot require LIFT operators to enter a building or leave the sight of their vehicle. Customers who need assistance beyond the curb should notify the reservationist when scheduling their LIFT trip.

Reserve a LIFT now!

To reserve your LIFT, call us
8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Seven Days a Week:

(760) 726-1111

LIFT Vehicle Information

Vehicle Types and Operators

Service is provided using a variety of vehicles, including taxis. NCTD reserves the right to determine whether LIFT service will be provided using its own operators and vehicles, or using operators and vehicles of other entities (for example, taxis). Special requests for specific vehicles, vehicle types, or vehicle operators cannot be accommodated. If your pick-up and drop-off location is not accessible, your service will need to be curb-to-curb.

Customers are required to wear seat belts while on paratransit vehicles. Drivers will assist with securing seat belts.

Vehicle Arrival Time

All trip pickups occur within a 30-minute pick-up window that begins at the negotiated pick-up time. A LIFT vehicle is considered on-time if it arrives anytime within the quoted 30-minute pick-up window. All customers must be present and ready to board at any time from the beginning to the end of this pick-up window. Drivers will wait five minutes once they arrive for passengers to appear. Drivers will depart after five minutes if the customer is not present.

Early Vehicles

If a vehicle arrives before the negotiated start of the pick-up window, customers may board or wait and board at the start of the negotiated pick-up window. Drivers who arrive early are required to wait until five minutes past the start of the pick-up window before departing.

Late Vehicles

If a vehicle has not arrived by the end of the 30-minute pick-up window, customers should call LIFT at (760) 726-1111 to report a late vehicle. Customers are not required to wait after the pick-up window expires. Customers will not be recorded as no-shows in the event that the LIFT vehicle arrives past the end of the 30-minute pick-up window.

Travel Time

NCTD provides paratransit services at a level that is comparable to its fixed-route bus service. Passengers should expect that in-vehicle travel time may be comparable to fixed-route bus travel time. Trip length includes all legs of a similar trip on a fixed-route bus, including time for transfers and walk time to bus stops.

Trips should be scheduled according to the expected length of time customers may be on the vehicle.

General Information

LIFT Phone Numbers and Hours

For questions related to NCTD fixed-route bus and rail service, customer service, lost and found, lost Paratransit ID Cards (or replacement), or general questions, please call NCTD’s Customer Service department at (760) 966-6500 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Trip Reservations and Information
(760) 726-1111
8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Daily

Cancellations and Ride Status
(760) 726-1111
4 a.m. – 11 p.m., Daily

Transfer Trips to San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)
(877) 232-7433 or (310) 410-0985 TTY/TDD
8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

LIFT Eligibility, Visitor Eligibility or Eligibility Appeals
(877) 232-7433 or (310) 410-0985 TTY
8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Personal Care Attendant Eligibility
(877) 232-7433 or (310) 410-0985 TTY
8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Reserving a Trip With LIFT

To reserve a trip, eligible customers must call the LIFT Reservation line at least one day prior to the day of their trip. Customers may schedule rides up to seven days in advance. LIFT reservations are taken seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For trips traveling to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) service area, reservations must be made by 5 p.m. the prior day to allow time to coordinate the transfer between MTS ACCESS and NCTD LIFT. When reserving a return trip, customers should provide the earliest departure time and allow ample time to meet the vehicle. Extra time should be allowed for travel, pickup and drop-off of other passengers, and traffic delays. LIFT Reservationists may negotiate pickup times with passengers up to one hour before and/or one hour after the requested pick-up time. If a pick-up time request is adjusted after the trip is reserved, customers will be notified at least the day before the trip is scheduled.

Customers are required to provide the following information when making a reservation :

  • Customer’s first and last name
  • Date of travel
  • Pick-up address (including apartment number, building or business name, or other specific information)
  • Desired pick-up time OR appointment time
  • Physical address of the destination (including apartment number, building or business name, or other specific information)
  • Whether a PCA, companion, or child will travel with the customer
  • Whether a mobility device such as a wheelchair or scooter will be used during transport
  • Whether assistance will be needed beyond the curb, as necessitated by the customer’s disability

Same-Day Trips Request

Passengers are required to reserve trips at least one day before the date of travel. However, a limited number of same-day trips may be accommodated each day to help meet unexpected needs. Such trips are not guaranteed.

Subscription Trip Request

Customers who need trips on a repeated or recurring basis, such as to work or dialysis treatment, can request a subscription trip. Subscription trips can be requested after a consistent trip pattern has been established for a minimum of two weeks. NCTD has a select number of reservations reserved for subscription trips. If designated subscription trip reservations are full at the time of your request, your name may be added to a waiting list. Once your subscription request can be accommodated, MV, NCTD’s LIFT operations contractor, will contact you to confirm the subscription details. Please note that subscription service is not mandated by 49 C.F.R. § 37.133.

Customers may put their subscription service on hold for up to 60 days by notifying LIFT at (760) 726-1111. After 60 days, any subscription that has not been reactivated will be discontinued.

Cancelling a Ride

Customers must call the LIFT Reservations Department at least two hours prior to the pickup time to cancel a trip. Trips cancelled with less than two hours’ notice, cancelled at the door, not taken because the customer cannot be located, or due to no fault of the LIFT Operator will result in a “no-show” being placed on the customer’s record. Any trip missed by a passenger for reasons beyond his or her control will not be counted as a no-show. Customers may dispute a no-show by calling LIFT at (760) 726-1111. The consequence of repeated no-shows is suspension of LIFT service as set forth below.

Subscription trips will be cancelled automatically on the following holidays:

New Year’s Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Christmas Day

Customers who need a ride on one of these holidays should call LIFT reservations to reschedule at least one day in advance of the holiday.

Customer Service Centers

Customer service centers provide service information, trip planning assistance, and up-to-date information on service modifications during emergency situations. NCTD Customer Service has the ability to provide accessible communications for customers with limited English proficiency and those with hearing disabilities.

Oceanside Transit Center
(760) 966-6500 | 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Vista Transit Center
(760) 966-6565 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Escondido Transit Center
(760) 967-2875 | 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Paratransit I.D. Card

NCTD encourages certified ADA paratransit customers to take full advantage of NCTD’s accessible fixed-route bus and rail service. Customers who are certified to use paratransit may apply for a free Paratransit ID card. A Paratransit ID card is not required to be able to use LIFT but provides the benefit of free service on BREEZE bus and SPRINTER hybrid rail and a reduced fare on the COASTER and FLEX service. Customers presenting a card which specifies “PCA: Y” may travel accompanied by a PCA who rides free of charge on BREEZE, SPRINTER, and LIFT. PCA pays regular fare when accompanying a certified LIFT client on COASTER and FLEX.

To receive a Paratransit ID card:

Customers may present their paratransit certification letter and photo ID at the ADA Eligibility Center located at the Escondido Transit Center.

Appointments may be made by calling (760) 726-1111.

Paratransit ID cards are free the first time you receive one and upon renewal of LIFT certification. There is a $7.00 charge to replace lost or stolen ID cards. To inquire about a replacement card, customers can contact the NCTD Customer Service Department at (760) 966-6500.

Drivers may not request or accept a tip for the service that they provide.

How to Purchase LIFT Ticket Booklets

NCTD offers LIFT customers the option of buying multiple one-way LIFT tickets in the form of a booklet. LIFT booklets are sold at NCTD’s Customer Service offices located in Oceanside or Escondido. Customers may also order booklets over the phone by calling (760) 966-6500. The cost for a book of 10 one-way tickets is $50.00. Credit cards are accepted as payment over the phone (Visa or MasterCard only). Tickets may be mailed to the customer or picked up in person when purchased over the phone.

ADA Emergency Communications

NCTD LIFT services may be subject to traffic impacts due to severe weather or emergencies. NCTD will make every effort to ensure that any LIFT customer awaiting a return ride will be provided that service; however, customers should expect delays of up to several hours during severe weather and other emergencies impacting traffic. If NCTD must cancel a LIFT reservation due to an emergency, customers will be called on their primary number prior to the initial pick-up. Customers are encouraged to keep up-to-date contact information with ADARide by calling (877) 232-7433 or (310) 410-0985 TTY.

NCTD operators and conductors are required to make announcements on all BREEZE, FLEX, SPRINTER, and COASTER vehicles. Customers should listen for announcements and follow the directions of NCTD staff during emergencies.

All COASTER and SPRINTER rail stations have public announcement systems and sign displays which notify customers of service updates when necessary. In addition, information may be obtained from NCTD staff or Transit Ambassadors assigned to stations.

NCTD encourages all LIFT customers to have an alternate route home in case an emergency blocks regular routes. Alternate routes may include a combination of bus and rail modes, taxi service options, or temporarily sheltering at a relative or friend’s residence. Being personally prepared and having a back-up plan is a good practice.

At times, road closures, traffic conditions, weather elements, or other emergency situations may impact NCTD’s regular fixed-route and LIFT service. NCTD will continue to operate safely to transport all customers to their destinations; however, under some circumstances, NCTD may have to modify services, which can result in detours or delays or, on rare occasions, the cancellation of service. During such circumstances, NCTD will update all information resources as quickly as possible to ensure that disabled customers on all transit modes can access real-time status updates. Disabled customers may use the following resources to obtain updated service information:

Accessible Communications:

What can I bring on my LIFT ride?

Mobility Devices and Customer Safety

Customers may use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, strollers for children with disabilities, and all other common mobility devices. All NCTD vehicles are able to accommodate, at a minimum, all occupied wheelchairs weighing up to 600 pounds and measuring 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length. If you and your wheelchair exceed those specifications, NCTD will make every effort to accommodate you if the combined weight (wheelchair and occupant) does not exceed the lift/ramp specifications and lift/ramp capacity of the vehicle, and where doing so is consistent with legitimate safety requirements as provided by the Department of Transportation ADA regulations.

Customers who are concerned about the size of their mobility devices, or who have questions as to whether the device will fit on board LIFT vehicles, should call LIFT at (760) 726-1111 to determine whether the wheelchair or mobility device can be accommodated. If there is any question as to accommodation, the customer may call the NCTD Paratransit Services Program Administrator at (760) 967-2842, or visit NCTD headquarters at 810 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92054, and arrange an appointment to have the wheelchair or mobility device measured.

Customers who are transferable are able to move from their mobility device to the seat of the vehicle and back with minimum assistance. Minimal assistance is defined as a driver extending an arm or stabilizing the mobility device while the customer moves in and out of the device. Drivers are prohibited from lifting or carrying customers. For safety reasons, customers using three-wheel scooters are encouraged to transfer out of their scooters into the seat of the paratransit vehicle whenever possible.

Drivers cannot assist customers who use mobility devices up or down steps or other obstructions over 5/8 of an inch in height.

A ramp must be available, or the customer must have someone available at the pick-up and drop-off location to provide assistance negotiating obstacles.

Traveling With Oxygen Tanks and Respirators

Customers may travel with oxygen tanks and respirators when using NCTD’s LIFT paratransit service. For safety reasons, oxygen tanks and respirators must be secured to prevent them from falling or becoming dislodged.

Registered Service Animals

Service animals are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities in NCTD vehicles and facilities.

Service animals may travel on paratransit vehicles,
subject to the following conditions:

  • Service animals must remain on a leash or harness except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the animal’s ability to perform.
  • Service animals must remain under the owner’s control and not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
  • Service animals must remain in a down or sit position.
  • Service animals may not block the aisle of the vehicle.

Small pets are allowed only in proper enclosed pet carriers. The carrier must be able to be placed on the floor in front of you or on your lap. The carrier must not block seats, aisles, doorways, or exits and may not take up a separate seat space. Pet carriers are not allowed on the seats at any time.

Packages on Paratransit Vehicles

A limited number of packages are allowed on the vehicle. The amount allowed is equivalent to two paper grocery bags or six plastic grocery bags, with a total weight of no more than 25 pounds. Customers must be able to carry and/or physically control every item. Positioning of the carry-on items must not create an unsafe situation for any passenger or the operator. If the situation is deemed unsafe, all or some of the items may not be allowed on the LIFT vehicle. The driver may help customers load packages only from the curb to the vehicle and from the vehicle to the curb.

Prohibited Activities

Smoking is not allowed while on board an ADA paratransit vehicle. Eating or drinking is not allowed while on board an ADA paratransit vehicle unless there is an approved reasonable modification. Please refer to the reasonable modification section here.

Riding paratransit under the influence of illegal drugs is not allowed. Individual audio players, including radios, cassette players, disc players, MP3 players, cell phones with audio capabilities, and other electronic devices, are not permitted to be played aloud while on board an ADA paratransit vehicle. Customers shall not bring explosives, flammable liquids, acids, or other hazardous materials on board an ADA paratransit vehicle.

Serious Disruptive Behavior

ADA regulations allow NCTD to deny paratransit services to customers who engage in violent, illegal, or serious disruptive behavior. Engaging in any of the below listed or other serious disruptive behaviors will lead to a written warning, suspension, and the removal from service depending on the frequency and the severity of the behavior. Please see our Suspension Policy here.

Serious disruptive behavior can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Leaving a seat while a paratransit vehicle is in motion
  • Leaving a paratransit vehicle while it is parked to pick-up or drop-off another customer
  • Deliberately not paying the fare
  • Disturbing a paratransit vehicle operator while the operator is driving
  • Refusing to wear a seat belt or exit the vehicle
  • Engaging in violent behavior, or physically or verbally threatening a vehicle operator or other customers
  • Engaging in conduct or activity that is a danger to customers or the driver
  • Smoking while on board a paratransit vehicle
  • Damaging or destroying vehicle or equipment

LIFT Policies

Customer No-Shows and Service Suspension Policy

No-shows due to late trip cancellations, cancellations at the door, and absentee customers are a cost of doing business for a paratransit system. However, as the cost of providing paratransit service grows and NCTD complies with the federal requirement to meet the demand for all eligible trips, no-shows reduce the efficiency and reliability of LIFT service while adding significant costs to operate the service and negatively impact NCTD’s ability to effectively meet overall customer demand and result in inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

A customer will not be marked a no-show if the vehicle arrives after the scheduled 30-minute pick-up window or for circumstances beyond the customer’s control, such as the following:

  • Family emergency
  • Illness that precluded the customer from calling to cancel
  • Customer was inside calling to check the ride status and was on hold for extended time
  • Customer’s appointment ran long and did not provide the opportunity to cancel in a timely way
  • Another party cancelled the customer’s appointment
  • Customer’s mobility aid failed
  • Sudden turn for the worse for an individual with a variable condition
  • Adverse weather impacted the customer’s travel plans, precluding the customer from cancelling in a timely way

The purpose of this no-show policy is to prevent patterns of abuse in order to maintain efficient system operation, sustain a zero percent denial rate, improve customer service and maximize the use of operating funding. No-shows will not be issued when a scheduled trip is missed for reasons beyond the customer’s control, but customers should always make every effort to cancel scheduled trips in a timely manner. Trips missed by a customer for reasons beyond his or her control include trips missed due to transit agency error or lateness.

If a passenger misses a scheduled outbound trip, LIFT will not automatically cancel his/her return trip. Each leg of the trip must be treated separately. Without an indication from the passenger that the return trip is not needed, it will remain on the schedule.

First and second no-show/late cancel: The customer will receive a notice of occurrence letter at the end of the month which the no show/late cancel trips occurred.

Three or more no-shows/late cancels: For customers with three or more no-shows during a calendar month and where the no-show/late cancels are 10 percent or more of the customer’s scheduled trips for the month, the customer’s service will be suspended for a seven day period. The suspension period from using NCTD LIFT paratransit begins 30 days after the notification is mailed.

Any customer who exceeds the no-show threshold in a calendar month for a second time within a six month period will be subject to a two week suspension. Any customer who exceeds the no-show threshold in a calendar month a third time within a six month period will be subject to a 30-day suspension. Thereafter, suspensions will increase by a 30-day increment for each additional time a customer exceeds the set threshold over a six month period. At the end of six months, a customer’s monthly record of no-shows will go back to zero.

Customers who cancel or no-show an equivalent to 50 percent or more of their trips in any given month shall be removed from subscription service. If a customer is removed from subscription service, they will need to contact the LIFT provider to request to be added back on subscription service pending space available. If a customer is removed from their subscription service, due to no-shows and late cancellations, they will not be eligible to return to subscription service for one month, pending space available. To appeal a suspension, refer to the process in the “Appealing a Suspension” section below.

In addition to suspensions for no-shows and late cancellations, a customer may also be suspended as a result of seriously disruptive behavior, as described under “Prohibited Activities” of this document.

A pick-up is considered on time if the operator arrives anytime within the 30-minute window. Drivers are required to wait for five minutes once they arrive at a location for a passenger.

Drivers will depart after five minutes if the customer is not present. Customers will not be marked a no-show if the vehicle arrives outside the 30-minute window.


Customers will be notified of a suspension of LIFT service by letter mailed, at the end of each month, to the most recent address provided to NCTD in connection with the application process. The letter will contain the following information:

  • A listing of the dates when the no-shows occurred
  • If not related to no-shows, the basis of the suspension
  • The dates of the pending suspension
  • Instructions on how to appeal a suspension

The notice will be made available in alternative formats, upon request. Service suspensions can be appealed by following the directions included in the notice letters.

Appealing a Suspension

Passengers may appeal a proposed suspension by contacting the NCTD Paratransit Services Program Administrator at (760) 967-2842; visiting the NCTD headquarters located at 810 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92054; or submitting an appeal in writing to the same address, within 30 days of the notice of suspension being mailed. Once NCTD receives an appeal, NCTD will contact the appealing party within seven days to request additional information, schedule a meeting, or notify approval of the appeal. Appealing parties have 30 days to supply additional information as requested or appear in person to have the appeal heard. Appeals are heard by the NCTD ADA/Paratransit Committee. Once all information is gathered, NCTD will make a final decision and notify appealing parties within 30 days. If a passenger notifies NCTD of his or her intent to appeal, the suspension will not take effect until after the appeal is completed and a decision made.

Trip Purpose Restrictions and Capacity Constraints

NCTD shall not impose restrictions or priorities based on a trip purpose. Furthermore, NCTD shall not limit the availability of LIFT to ADA paratransit eligible individuals by any of the following:

  1. Restrictions on the number of trips provided to an individual;
  2. Waiting lists for access to the service; or
  3. Any operational pattern or practices that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible individuals. Such patterns or practices include, but are not limited to:
    1. Substantial number of untimely pickups
    2. Substantial numbers of trip denials or missed trips
    3. Substantial numbers of trips with excessive ride times
    4. Substantial number of calls with excessive hold times
    5. Operational problems attributable to causes beyond the control of NCTD shall not be a basis for determining that such a pattern exists

Operational problems attributable to causes beyond the control of NCTD (including, but not limited to, weather or traffic conditions affecting all vehicular traffic that were not anticipated at the time a trip was scheduled) shall not be a basis for determining that such a pattern or practice exists.

Personal Care Attendant and Companion Policy

Customers are required to inform the reservationist when they are traveling with a PCA to ensure that an extra seat is reserved on the LIFT vehicle. PCAs must have the same pick-up and drop-off locations as the customer. PCAs perform personal duties that drivers are not allowed to perform. Some of these duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assisting and directing a customer who is unable to travel independently
  • Calming a customer who becomes upset in unexpected situations
  • Preventing a customer from leaving her/his seat or opening a door when the vehicle is in motion
  • Assisting a customer with managing her/his schedule and trip commitments
  • Assisting a customer from the curb to the destination location and ensuring the customer’s safety at the destination location

NCTD suggests, but does not require, that applicants in need of a PCA should travel with a PCA. PCA eligibility is noted on each passenger’s NCTD reduced fare ID card and eligibility letter from ADARide. To request PCA eligibility, customers should contact ADARide at (310) 846-4507 or TTY: (310) 410-0985.

Traveling With a Child

Customers traveling with a child who needs a car seat must supply the child’s car seat and are responsible for its securement and removal. If necessary, the customer should bring a PCA to assist with securement and removal of the child’s car seat. Customers may bring regular strollers onto the paratransit vehicle but must take the child out of the stroller and secure the child appropriately with seatbelts or in an appropriate car seat. The stroller must be folded, kept under the physical control of the customer, and must not block aisles or cause safety concerns for other passengers or the operator.

California State Law (effective 1/1/2012) states the following:

  • Children under the age of eight must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children under the age of eight who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
  • Children who are eight years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

All state requirements for child safety will be followed. NCTD will deny service to a customer on the basis of non-compliance with the law. For the most recent laws please see California Vehicle Code §§ 27360 and 27363.

ADA Service Comments and Concerns

NCTD has designated an ADA Administrator to carry out NCTD’s ADA responsibilities. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about NCTD’s services pertaining to ADA compliance, you may contact the ADA Administrator.

Contact Form

You may also visit one of our Customer Service Centers or fill out the following Contact Form online:

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