Category Archives: Background

Rider Demographics and Transportation Difficulties

It is hard to imagine a life where you can’t simply leave whenever you want or go wherever you please, but many people face that challenge every day.  The amount of days people with disabilities leave their home a week is significantly lower than the amount of days the non disabled leave home.

**Please click on graphs to enlarge them**

Graph of the number of days left home during the week by those with disabilities and those without disabilitiesAlong with staying home more than those without disabilities, people with disabilities have a more difficult time getting the transportation they need when they need it.

A graph showing the type of transportation used by those with disabilities and those without disabilities per week. A graph describing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who have difficulties getting transportation each week.

There are hundreds of thousands of Paratransit users in the United States, but the system is still flawed.  The estimated wait time can be longer than they say, and customer send complaints to RTC regarding drivers and their experiences while using Paratransit.

A graph describing Paratransit timer performance. The amount of people registered for paratransit A graph describing the amount of customer complaints received by RTC Access





A program as large as RTC Access and Paratransit should be more user friendly, reliable, and enjoyable.  Because of the procedures adopted by RTC, I believe newer companies will be the next generation of transportation for those with disabilities.

I hope these simple statistics help illustrate how inefficient (and unfair) our current transportation system is for those with disabilities.


** all information is from:

Paratransit Peer Report – January 2011

RTC Access Paratransit Operating Statistics

Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Freedom to Travel

Ridership Demographics

Ridership Demographics for the Reno Paratransit service include locations, cost, journey profile, scheduling window and expected vs. actual pick up times.

passenger being loaded onto an RTC access bus


  • Paratransit operates within the urbanized area of Reno.
  • Areas that are not serviced by RTC fixed route bus system may not have service through the RTC ADA Paratransit Services.
  • RTC ACCESS has designated pick-up locations at large facilities and shopping malls.
  • Please note: a wheelchair, scooter or other mobility device that is larger than 48” long x 30” wide and/or weighs more than 600 pounds when occupied, RTC ACCESS may not be able to transport you in that mobility device.

Journey Profile

RTC ACCESS serves a 250 square mile area that includes the Reno-Sparks area of Washoe County. Within that is an area of approximately 100 square miles known as the ADA service area that is within ¾ mile of the RTC RIDE bus routes (white area on map, on front inside cover).Under the federal ADA paratransit regulations, RTC ACCESS is required to serve all ride requests for trips that begin and end within the ADA service area and are received 1 to 3 days in advance.

In order to comply with this federal requirement, the 250 square mile service area has been divided into ADA and non-ADA zones. Trips in the ADA (white) zone have priority; trips in the non-ADA zone are more difficult to obtain. RTC ACCESS is mostly funded by the Washoe County sales tax.

Scheduling window

Monday-Friday: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Weekends and Holidays: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Scheduling Tips:

RTC suggests that riders be flexible. (RTC may be able to take riders earlier or later than the time they first request.)

RTC Paratransit asks riders to allow enough time. (The driver will probably pick-up/drop off other passengers.)

Paratransit riders always have to give appointment times.

The ride may be equal to the time the trip would take on a RTC RIDE bus plus 20 minutes. Trips to, from, or within outlying areas may be longer.

• If a rider calls early to schedule and no trip is available, the rider is asked to call again. (Riders may be able to schedule 1 or 2 days prior to their trip since space often becomes available.)

Scheduled pickup window (expected and actual)

  • To be at a destination at a specific time, a rider should schedule their arrival for at least 15 to 30 minutes before their appointment.
  • Traffic, road construction, and bad weather will increase travel time.
  • Riders should book their return trip at the same time they book their trip out.
  • Riders should schedule return trips with extra time for possible delays.
  • Riders should always get trip confirmation number(s).There will be one for each time riders board the vehicle.
  • A van or a Reno-Sparks Cab may pick up paratransit riders.
  • Riders are asked to combine errands in order to take the fewest trips and make the best use of their time and money.
  • Riders are asked to reserve only trips they intend to take as there is a penalty for “no-shows”.

No subscription service on these holidays:

• New Year’s Day

• Martin Luther King Jr. Day

• Presidents’ Day

• Memorial Day

• Independence Day

• Labor Day

• Nevada Day

• Veterans Day

• Thanksgiving Day

• Family Day

• Christmas Day


Paid by ticket only (Effective August 30, 2009):

ADA Base fare: 1 ticket $3.00

ADA will-call fare: 2 tickets $6.00

ADA Companion fare: 1 ticket $3.00

Authorized attendants: free

Ticket book: 10 tickets $30

Children Under Age 6: FREE

The RTC is currently not funding any non-ADA service area rides. All non-ADA service area rides are now being funded by CitiCare, a Reno non-profit organization. CitiCare funded over 10,000 rides in 2013. These rides are purchased by the non-profit (which receives grants) and put into the RTC inventory to provide the non-ADA service area to riders, which the RTC is not mandated to provide.

Feeder Service

Free “feeder service” is available to all RTC ACCESS clients. RTC ACCESS will transport between trip origin or destination and an RTC RIDE bus stop. The cost is $0.50 on RTC RIDE and nothing on RTC ACCESS. Riders must request feeder service rides when they schedule their trips.

  • Attendants are designated personal care assistants (pca) needed by some riders. Only responsible parties may be attendants. Attendants ride RTC ACCESS free when accompanying riders who have “Attendant Authorized” on their RTC ACCESS ID cards.
  • Currently, it is estimated that RTC ACCESS provides 238,000 rides per year at a cost of over $4 million. Yet, there is an unmet demand of approximately 13,000 rides and an annual shortfall of $250,000

Fare Free Zone

RTC does not charge a fare for the RTC SIERRA SPIRIT bus service in downtown Reno. Therefore, under ADA regulations, RTC ACCESS trips that begin and end within 3/4 mile of the RTC SIERRA SPIRIT route are fare free. RTC ACCESS reservations will inform riders whether their trips are fare free at the time the rides are scheduled.

(The information about Fare Free Zone maybe be outdated because the Sierra Spirit is not free anymore. Regular fare for the RTC Sierra Spirit is 25 cents and reduced fare is 10 cents. Their is no up to date information on the RTC Fare Free Zone since the implementation of fare fees on the Sierra Spirit.)


Attending an RTC public meeting

Found out about the meeting early this afternoon. Meeting seems to have drawn a large number of agency and ancillary interests, doesn’t seem to be a large number of consumers here however. I wonder why?

Wide view of meeting room with about 50 peopleApparently, it was meant to be a smaller meeting focused on seniors but seems to have drawn a large crowd

Quick scan and OCR of the agenda that was not as widely circulated. As usual, no accessible version was offered. Text is in all caps, large point size and all bold font, The size is good for those with limited vision but all caps and bolding make it harder for scanning.



TUESDAY. APRIL 15. 2014 2 ~4) p.m.
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA. RENO Joe Crowley Student Union. Ballroom B


I was only able to attend during the introductions, had to leave the minute business started.


Some basic information on Reno’s paratransit services.

Some basic information on Reno’s paratransit services.

  • RTC provides 25,000 rides a day in Reno.
  • RTC access has been running since 1988
  • RTC access has a 30 minute pickup windows. For example, if you are scheduled to be picked up at 10:00 am, you may be picked up between 9:45 and 10:15.
  • Drivers can only wait 5 minutes.
  • A one way fare is $3.00
  • No subscription serves on these holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day , Presidents Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day , Nevada Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day , Family Day, Christmas Day.
  • Children under age 6 are free
  • One on one or group training programs to help people with disabilities learn how to use transit.


You have to eligible in order to ride & there are 3 different categories:

  1. Individuals who are unable because of  a physical or mental impairment to board, ride or disembark, independently from any readily accessible vehicle on the regular fixed route system.
  2. Individuals who are unable because of a physical or mental impairment to board, ride or disembark, independently from any readily accessible vehicle on the regular fixed route system, but the accessible route is not available at the time needed on a particular route .
  3. Any individual with a specific impairment- related condition that prevents that person from traveling to a boarding location or from a disembarking location on the system. The impairment must prevent travel to or from a fixed route stop. Distance and weather do NOT provide eligibility and the situations are resolved on a case by case basis.


An inaccessible static map of RTC coverage areas.

Grayscale diagram/map of RTC coverage
So it’s helpful, but in this day and age of online maps why not provide the KLM or a link to a mapping service?