FAQs

Paratransit is a transportation service for persons with disabilities who cannot independently use regular SamTrans bus service some of the time or all of the time. The San Mateo County Transit District provides Redi-Wheels service on the bayside of the county and RediCoast on the coastside.

We’ve anticipated a lot of the questions you may have about Redi-Wheels and RediCoast. If you still have questions after reading this information guide, please don’t hesitate to call SamTrans at 1-800-660-4287 or (TDD only) 650-508-6448.

What is ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, better known as ADA, is federal legislation that guarantees persons with disabilities full and equal access to the same services and accommodations that are available to people without disabilities.

The ADA requires public transit operators to provide paratransit service to persons with disabilities that is comparable to the level of fixed-route service provided. Persons with disabilities who cannot independently ride fixed-route transit may be eligible for paratransit service.

If I am a person with a disability, am I automatically eligible for paratransit?
Only those persons whose disabilities prevent them from using regular bus service, all of the time or some of the time, are eligible. This eligibility criterion comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act. All of SamTrans’ buses are accessible, and many persons with disabilities are able to use the regular fixed-route bus service.

An applicant will be eligible if any of the following three conditions are met: Applicant is unable to independently board or disembark, identify correct vehicle or stop, maintain balance on the vehicle, understand directions needed to complete a trip, or perform any of the usual tasks associated with using the bus; Or The bus service is not accessible to the applicant, i.e. the bus lift cannot be deployed at the stop the applicant uses; Or Applicant is unable to travel independently to or from the bus stop.

Where does paratransit operate?
Redi-Wheels serves San Mateo County, east of Highway 280, plus the towns of Woodside and Portola Valley.

Redi-Wheels also serves the City of Palo Alto north of Embarcadero Road, the Palo Alto Veterans Administration medical center, the Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the REACH program. (Palo Alto trips may be reserved as long as they begin or end in San Mateo County.)

RediCoast serves the mid- and southern San Mateo County Coastside from south of Devil’s Slide to the border of Santa Cruz County. This area includes Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton, Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio, La Honda and Pescadero.

Paratransit also serves the Stonestown area and Bayshore corridor of San Francisco. A transfer into San Francisco can be arranged by contacting service providers in San Francisco. A transfer to Santa Clara County can be arranged by calling Outreach.

What are the operating hours?
Redi-Wheels operates seven days a week, including holidays, from 5:30 a.m. to midnight and up to 24 hours in some areas (call 650-508-6241 for more information). RediCoast operates from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. 

How much does it cost?
Each one-way trip costs $4.25. You may purchase 10-ride tickets through the mail using the ticket order form HERE.

How do I apply for paratransit service?
If one of the eligibility conditions listed above applies to you: Call 650-366-4856 to schedule an in-person Transit Evaluation. You will be asked if you need transportation to the interview. You may bring a friend or relative with you for assistance.

At the Transit Evaluation, you will be asked

For a form of identification with your picture on it, such as a California ID or driver's license, passport or other official government document. If you have any written information that you would like to include in support of your application (optional)

To bring the mobility device, such as a cane, walker or wheelchair that you normally use, and

To participate in a transit evaluation by a trained Transit Evaluator


How long will it take to get my registration card from Redi-Wheels?
If you are qualified, SamTrans will mail a registration card and reservation information packet to you within 21 days after your completed interview.

What if I do not qualify?
Within 21 days, you will receive a letter explaining why you are not eligible. The letter also will explain how you can appeal the decision.

Where can I take paratransit?
You can use paratransit for any purpose as long as the trip is within the service area.

Can an attendant ride with me?
Yes. A personal care attendant may ride free if you are certified to ride with an attendant. When you reserve a ride, you must let the reservationist know that an attendant will be traveling with you.

Can I take my friend or family member with me?
Yes, but you must let the reservationist know that you will have a companion with you. Your companion also must pay the $4.25 fare for each one-way trip. If you have more than one companion, he or she may ride on a space-available basis only.

Is there a time limit on how far in advance I can reserve a ride?
Yes. Riders may call to reserve a trip up to 7 days in advance.

Can the driver pull into my driveway?
No. Paratransit vehicles are prohibited from traveling on private property or driveways.

Are the drivers required to provide assistance?
Yes.  Drivers are instructed to provide assistance when necessary. A driver may assist you between your door and the vehicle if the distance is no greater than 20-25 feet and the passenger door of the vehicle is in full view of the driver.
The driver will, if requested:
Help fasten lap belt, if requested.
Verbally assist sight-impaired passengers.
Assist with wheelchair maneuvering.
Offer an arm for stability.
Carry four bags of groceries.
Open front door, if requested.

The driver may not:
Enter a residence.
Lift or carry any wheelchairs.


Can paratransit accommodate scooters?
Yes. Redi-Wheels and RediCoast can take any mobility aid with maximum measurements (including occupant) of 30 inches wide, 48 inches long and 600 lbs. in weight. We strongly recommend that you transfer from the scooter to a seat in the vehicle, if possible.

Does paratransit provide transportation for children to school?
No. The state of California contracts with special service providers for school transportation.

Do you allow animals on paratransit?
Yes. If the animal is a service animal and is on a lead that does not interfere with passengers in the vehicle.

Can I request a particular type of vehicle on Redi-Wheels?
No. The reservationist will determine if your ride will be by a small bus, mini-van or sedan.

Can I learn how to ride SamTrans buses or Caltrain?
Yes. SamTrans offers travel training, free of charge, to teach people with disabilities to ride SamTrans buses and Caltrain, when possible. Instructors provide one-on-one training. For more information, please call 650-508-6202 or (TDD only) 650-508-6448.

3/9/16 - rjc/td