Riding with a Disability
If you have a disability, public transportation can be your ticket to increased independence – whether you want to go to work, school, shopping or catch the latest movie.
With 70-plus routes throughout San Mateo County and into Palo Alto and San Francisco, SamTrans can get you there. SamTrans also connects to Caltrain and BART, both of which accommodate passengers with disabilities.
SamTrans offers free one-on-one travel training to teach San Mateo County residents with disabilities who are 18 years or older how to ride the bus.
Working with skilled instructors, participants learn where to wait, how to get on the right bus, how to pay the fare, where to sit, how to get off at the right stop, how to make connections and how to get help if they have trouble during the trip.
Candidates for travel training include those who use a wheelchair or walker, who are blind or visually impaired or people with developmental disabilities. People with developmental disabilities may need further assessment by a travel-training instructor who can develop an individual program that’s presented in stages at a pace determined by the participant.
For more information, call SamTrans at 650-508-6202 (TTY 650-508-6448).
SamTrans bus stops already meet regulations established by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Newer bus stops are ADA accessible. Bus lifts and ramps can be deployed at many stops that do not meet full regulations.
Persons with disabilities may ride all Bay Area public transit systems at a discount if they hold a Regional Transit Connection Discount Card, Medicare card or Department of Motor Vehicles Disabled Placard Identification Card.
To request an RTC Discount Card application, call SamTrans Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448) or visit HERE.
Boarding - Lifts and Ramps
All SamTrans buses are equipped with lifts or ramps that can be used by people who use mobility devices or cannot climb steps.
Each bus also has a kneeling feature that lowers the front end so the first step is easier to reach. If you have difficulty boarding the bus, ask the operator to lower the front end or deploy the lift or ramp.
Seating and Securement Area
The side-facing seats in the front of every bus and the first two forward-facing seats are priority seating for seniors and persons with disabilities.
If you need to use one of these areas and they are occupied, inform the operator, who will help you find a seat. The operator may ask a passenger to move but cannot compel a passenger to vacate his or her seat
Seats on either side of the bus near the front fold up to allow room for securing mobility devices. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For safety, SamTrans recommends that passengers in three- or four-wheeled scooters transfer to a seat, if possible.
All SamTrans buses are equipped with an automated system that makes amplified announcements of major transfer points, intersections and destinations. An electronic message board inside the bus simultaneously displays the same information. External loudspeakers announce the route number and destination of the bus at all bus stops.
SamTrans is committed to making reasonable modifications to its policies, practices and procedures to ensure full access to its service for customers with disabilities. To make a request for a reasonable modification, click HERE or call Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448).
Getting Off the Bus
On most buses, there is a bell cord in the wheelchair area that is easy to reach. Some buses also have a touch bar to request a passenger stop.
If you are unable to pull the bell cord or press the touch bar, tell the operator when you get on the bus which stop you need.
Operators will announce any stop on request. When you board, ask the operator to call out your stop and sit in the front of the bus so that the operator can let you know when the bus has reached your stop.
Service animals, such as guide dogs, may accompany persons with disabilities on the bus.
The animal must be under the constant supervision and control of the person with the disability. While riding in a vehicle, the service animal is required to sit, stand or lay on the floor of the vehicle and may not block the aisle. Service animals are permitted to ride on your lap if necessary for them to perform their function.
If the animal misbehaves, the customer will be asked to remove the animal from the vehicle. Riding privileges may be revoked for repeated misbehavior.