Paratransit Certification

If you have a disability that prevents you from using the fixed route Pace bus or CTA bus or train services, you may be eligible for ADA Paratransit service. ADA Paratransit is a shared ride, advanced reservation, origin-to-destination service for individuals who because of their disability are unable to use CTA or Pace fixed route transit service for some or all of their trips.

Under federal law, Metra is not required to provide ADA Paratransit. However, Metra is required to meet federal accessibility standards for their rail service and stations and does provide P-8 service, which is a shuttle service from a qualified origin to the next accessible station.

ADA Plan FTA Cover Letter

Regional ADA Paratransit Plan for Persons with Disabilities

Application Process

ADA Paratransit is provided for individuals whose disability or health condition may prevent them from using the CTA and/or Pace fixed route services for some or all of their travel. Individuals who are interested in using ADA Paratransit service must apply and be found eligible according to ADA guidelines. The RTA ADA Paratransit Certification Program determines an individual's functional abilities and limitations for using fixed route services.

To apply for ADA Paratransit, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357) between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to request an application. Applications are available in regular or large print English, regular print Spanish, in Braille or on audiotape.

Once you have filled out as much of the application as you can, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357) to schedule an in-person interview at one of our five Interview and Assessment sites. If needed, we will provide transportation to the interview and the services of an American Sign Language or Spanish interpreter at no charge. Please bring the completed application and a photo ID with you to the interview. You may also bring additional information about your disability or health condition, but this is not required.

During the interview, we will review your application form and if necessary, help you complete it. We will also discuss with you your travel abilities and limitations in more detail. You may be asked to take a "mock" bus trip. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes and will give us a better idea of your travel abilities and limitations. Please dress for the weather as you may be asked to go outside.

A decision will be made on your application within 21 days of the completion of the interview and assessment. If a decision is not made within 21 days, we will provide you with ADA Paratransit service until a final decision is made. You will be notified of your eligibility by letter.

If you are determined to be eligible for ADA Paratransit for some or all of your trips, you will receive a Certification Letter, a Customer Guide with information about how to use the service and a photo ID card.

Types of Eligibility

There are three types of eligibility:

Unconditional Eligibility - Your disability or health condition always prevents you from using fixed route buses or “L” trains and you qualify for ADA Paratransit service for all of your trips.

Conditional Eligibility - You are able to use the fixed route buses or “L” trains for some of your trips and qualify for ADA Paratransit service for other trips when your disability or environmental barriers prevent the use of fixed route transit service.

Temporary Eligibility - You have a health condition or disability that temporarily prevents you from using the fixed route buses or "L" trains.

Appeal Process

If you are determined to be able to use fixed route buses or "L" trains for some or all of your trips, we will notify you of the exact reason(s) for this decision and tell you how to appeal the decision if you disagree.

You can appeal any eligibility decision made by the RTA that limits your ability to use ADA Paratransit service. For example:

  • You were found "Not Eligible" for ADA Paratransit
  • You were found "Conditionally Eligible" and disagree with the eligibility categories you were given or you think the conditional status is wrong.

All requests for an appeal must be in writing and should be mailed to:

ADA Certifier
Regional Transportation Authority
175 W. Jackson Blvd.
Suite 1650
Chicago, IL  60604

If you have any questions about the appeal process, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357).

Service Criteria

The ADA Paratransit program is designed to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service criteria established by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Service is provided only to individuals found eligible by the RTA and is operated by Pace under the following ADA guidelines:

  • Service is only provided in areas where CTA or Pace fixed route buses or CTA "L" trains operate. ADA Paratransit vehicles can only make pick-ups and drop-offs at places that are within three-quarters of a mile of a CTA or Pace bus route or CTA "L" train station.
  • Service is provided only during the hours and days when fixed route service in that area operates.
  • Rides must be reserved one day in advance.
  • ADA Paratransit fares are at least the cost of a full fare on a fixed route bus or “L” train.
  • Service is provided for all types of trips.