The federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a civil rights law that, among other things, requires equal access to public transportation for persons with disabilities. Transit agencies such as Metro must take specific steps to ensure regular bus service is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Regular accessible bus service is intended to be the primary mode of public transportation for persons with disabilities.
Metro offers free transit instruction to individuals and groups that meet certain criteria. This training teaches persons with disabilities and seniors how to ride regular public transportation, including use of the lift or ramp.
The ADA also requires 'paratransit' service for persons whose disabilities prevent them from using accessible, non-commuter, fixed route bus service. Paratransit service is intended to offer a comparable level of service to that provided by regular bus service. Paratransit service is not required nor intended to meet all the transportation needs of persons with disabilities. Rather, it is intended to provide public transportation in a more specialized form.
Metro's ADA Paratransit Program is designed to meet the minimum service criteria established by the federal government.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is based on whether your disability prevents you from performing the tasks needed to ride regular public bus service some or all of the time. Metro's ADA Paratransit Program serves persons age 6 and up. You must apply and be found eligible before you can use this program.
Access Transportation application processing
As part of King County Metro’s pandemic response plan, an in-person evaluation may not be required when applying for Access Transportation. An Access Customer Services Coordinator can provide you with the most current information regarding the Access certification process.
Potential applicants complete a self-assessment form prior to receiving an application. Applications are co-signed by a health care professional. An in-person evaluation at Harborview Medical Center is part of the determination process. This evaluation is conducted at no cost to you and free transportation is provided if needed.
King County Metro Access Transportation will make a certification determination within 21 calendar days after we receive all information necessary to determine your eligibility.Applicants who are denied or determined conditionally eligible have 60 days to appeal their certification determination. Information on how to appeal is provided with all certification determination letters. If an appeal decision is not made within 30 days of completing the appeal process, Access paratransit service is provided until and unless a decision to deny the appeal is issued.
- Call Access Customer Service at 206-205-5000 (TTY Relay: 711)
- Request more information through our online self-assessment
The following agencies have a joint paratransit eligibility agreement:
- Metro Transit
- Pierce Transit
- Community Transit
- Everett Transit
- Kitsap Transit
- Intercity Transit
- Jefferson Transit
Persons found eligible by any of those agencies are eligible to use paratransit service offered by the other agencies.
If you live outside King County, contact your local transit agency to request that they submit your paratransit eligibility information to King County Metro Access Transportation.
Persons with disabilities visiting King County from outside the Puget Sound area should contact Metro's Access Transportation office in advance at 206-263-3113 to establish visitor status. Once completed documentation is submitted, Visitor Service requests are processed within one day of receipt.
Visitors can receive paratransit service for 21 days out of any 365-day period. Receiving service beyond 21 days requires an eligibility determination by King County Metro.
The ADA Paratransit Program provides next-day, shared rides on Access Transportation within 3/4 of a mile on either side of non-commuter fixed route bus service during the times and on the days those routes are operating.
Eligible individuals can also:
- Travel to adjoining counties on the days and times their paratransit service operates
- Bring a Personal Care Attendant if such a need is documented during eligibility determination.
- Bring one companion. Additional companions can ride on a space available basis.