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NJ TRANSIT's ADA paratransit program known as Access Link was established to provide public transportation to people with disabilities who are unable to use the local bus service according to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may ride with Access Link or any other NJ TRANSIT mode for some or all of your transportation needs.
There are several things you need to know before you begin riding with Access Link and that is why we have created the Access Link Customer Guidelines. This guide provides you with detailed information on how to best use Access Link. Topics such as reservations, subscriptions, fares, policies and more are mentioned in the guidelines. It contains everything you need to know and was created to answer your questions about the service.
Please read through these guidelines carefully. We hope that after you have read this guide you will be confident in understanding how the paratransit service operates for your best possible riding experience.
What Is Access Link?
Access Link is a public transportation service established to comply with the paratransit regulations of the ADA. Access Link service is comparable to the NJ TRANSIT local fixed route bus and light rail systems. Access Link is for people with disabilities who are unable to use the local fixed route bus for some or all of their rides. In order to use Access
Link, you must first apply for eligibility by attending an in-person transportation assessment interview.
Access Link service is comparable to the bus in that it is available during the same days and hours as the regularly scheduled local fixed route bus service, including weekends and holidays. If there is bus service available, Access Link service will be available. If there is no bus service, Access Link will not be available.
By comparable to the local fixed route bus system we mean that Access Link service is a "shared-ride" system. Similar to the bus, other customers may be picked up and dropped off while transporting you to your final destination. This helps Access Link maximize the use of the vehicle fleet and provide as many rides as possible to as many customers as possible.
Origin to Destination
Access Link provides origin to destination service. In other words, Access Link will pick you up from your origin location and transport you to your destination as long as both locations are in the service area. Access Link is comparable to the bus in that it is a curb to curb service. All customers are required to meet the vehicle within 5 minutes of the vehicle arriving. Access Link operators are able to provide you with assistance (i.e. boarding and exiting the vehicle and assisting with your securements). Operators are not permitted to assist customers with handling packages or other carry-on items.
If you need assistance or an accommodation while using Access Link, please contact us to discuss further.
Where Does Access Link Go? (Access Link's Service Area)
- Your ride qualifies for Access Link service if your pick-up and drop-off points are within a 3/4 mile radius of an eligible bus route or light rail station. This is known as the Access Link service area. Access Link shadows local fixed route buses and light rail stations. The bus routes defined as commuter routes are not included in the Access Link service area.
- If your ride begins within the service area but ends outside of the service area, we cannot take you to your final destination.
- When you provide the Reservationist with your pick up and drop off address details, we can assist you regarding the service area and finding a safe, convenient alternate pick up point.
- Access Link does not provide service to areas outside the state of New Jersey unless NJ TRANSIT provides local bus service to those locations.
- NJ TRANSIT reserves the right to change the bus routes and schedules as the fixed route schedules change.
As a result, some pick-up and/or drop off points may no longer be within the 3/4 mile Access Link service area. Changes in the local bus service may affect some ride requests, which had previously qualified for Access Link paratransit service. We will give you advanced notice of any service area changes.
NOTE: Please call if you have any questions about the bus routes shadowed by Access Link.
Access Link is comparable to the bus system in that you may ride with Access Link for any purpose; there are no restrictions or ride priorities. You may travel to places of employment, education, recreation, shopping, to attend social functions, visit family, friends, physicians, dentists, run an errand or just to get out of the house and relax. Please remember you need to make a reservation for each of your rides with a specific time, origin and destination address, cross streets and phone number.
- You will be charged a comparable fare based on the local bus fare and number of zones you are traveling and any transfers you make.
- You must have exact fare (pennies are not accepted) and operators cannot make change. You cannot expect to ride if you do not have exact change.
- Payment of fare is due at time of boarding for each separate ride.
- When you make a reservation we will tell you the fare.
- Pre-paid fares are not utilized at this time.
- There are no reduced fare programs available on Access Link.
- A pre-registered designated PCA may ride free of charge when accompanying an eligible customer to assist with transportation if needed.
- Children under five years of age ride free when accompanied by a full fare-paying eligible customer.
Make a Reservation
Access Link's reservation lines are available 365 days a year between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., seven days a week including holidays. You may call 1-7 days in advance, but not less than one day in advance to our toll free number 1-800-955-ADA1(2321) (TT 1-800-955-6765).
When you call for a ride, you MUST have ALL of the following reservation information ready for the reservationist or we cannot process your request:
- Your name and customer I.D. number.
- Pick-up address (including number and street name and zip code)
- The nearest cross street and location of pick-up entrance, if applicable, name of complex or apartment complex.
- Your requested pick-up window.
- Drop-off address (including number and street name and zip code)
- The nearest cross street and location of drop off entrance.
- A cell phone number or destination phone number where you can receive calls (in case we need to get in touch with you regarding your return ride).
- If you are traveling with a personal care attendant (PCA), companion, service animal or a child.
- If you, your PCA or companion will be traveling using a mobility device (e.g. wheelchair, walker, portable medical equipment, service animal, etc.).
- Any other information that will help your driver to find your location.
- If you are traveling with a child Access Link does not provide car seats for customers traveling with children. However, it is a NJ state law requirement that all children under the age of eight and weighing less than 80 pounds be secured in a safety or booster seat when traveling in a vehicle. Therefore, if you are traveling with a child that falls into the aforementioned parameters you must provide a safety or booster seat or you will not be permitted to travel with that child on Access Link. If an Access Link operator determines that a child securement system is not appropriate we may not be able to allow it to be used.
- If you intend to transfer from your mobility device to a seat in the vehicle you must inform us during the reservation process. This advanced notice helps us to maximize vehicle space and serve as many customers as possible.
Please ensure you provide correct information for your reservation. Scheduled rides cannot be changed on the day of service.
Traveling on Access Link
- Once an Access Link vehicle arrives we will wait up to five minutes for you to come out and board. If you do not come out within five minutes, the vehicle will depart without you and you will be declared a "No-Show."
- If someone will be helping you get to the vehicle, that person must be waiting with you. If someone will be assisting you from the vehicle to your door at your destination, this individual must be ready to meet you when the vehicle arrives.
- Any customer, including those who do not use mobility devices, may request to use the lift to board the vehicle while standing.
- If any of your contact information changes, especially your home address, telephone or contact number, please notify Access Link as soon as this information changes.
- If your vehicle has not arrived by the end of your window please call Access Link at 1-800-955-ADA1 (2321). A Service Monitor will give you information about the status of your ride. Please be patient and do not call until the end of your window to help us reduce your hold time.
- It is not a requirement for children under the age of 12 to sit in the back seat of sedans, however, NJ state law recommends it. Please keep this in mind if one of our sedans should arrive to transport you.
- Due to scheduling and space needs the driver may ask you to change your seat. We ask for your cooperation.
Your "ride time" will be comparable in length to the ride time on the bus. Your Access Link ride time will generally not exceed 1½ times that of the local bus.
Pick Up Window
Customers must be ready during their scheduled pick up window which is given during the reservation process, and be ready to board in 5 minutes.
You may be required to transfer between two or more vehicles, just as you would if you were riding the bus, this is called a transfer trip. All information about transfer trips will be provided to you at reservation time.
Customers using service animals to provide assistance may ride in all types of vehicles. Service animals may not occupy a customer seat. They must sit at the feet of their owner.
- Access Link can accommodate wheelchairs, scooters or other mobility devices that are 30-inches wide and 48-inches long and weigh 600 pounds, when occupied. If you are traveling with a mobility device that exceeds these dimensions and/or weight, we will endeavor to accommodate your device but we cannot guarantee you a ride.
- Access Link cannot transport you if your mobility device is broken or malfunctioning. Broken brakes, safety belts, wheels, weak batteries, or other problems with mobility devices cause a safety concern for all.
- When bringing packages on board think of the fixed route public bus system. You may bring packages on board but only what you, your personal care attendant or companion can carry in one entry to the vehicle. Repetitive trips on and off the vehicle with packages is not permitted.
- Operators may not carry packages for you.
- Your packages must be self-contained and must not pose a safety hazard (e.g. rolling, spilling, etc.) and therefore must be secured and not obstruct the aisle or customer seating. Any items that may pose a safety risk are not permitted on Access Link vehicles (i.e. hoyer lifts, bicycles, any flammable material/liquid, etc)
- You are allowed up to one collapsible/ folding shopping cart per scheduled ride as long as you can board the vehicle with it on the lift.
Cancelling a Ride
Access Link will record each customer no-show or late cancellation and may suspend, for a reasonable period, any customer where these are excessive.
Cancellation and No Show Policy
For a cancellation to be considered "advanced" you must call Access Link 90 minutes or more before your scheduled pick-up window.
Your ride will be considered a late cancellation if you call Access Link more than 50 minutes but less than 90 minutes before your scheduled pick-up window.
Your ride will be considered a no-show if you do not call to cancel your ride at least 50 minutes before your scheduled pick-up window, or you do not board the vehicle within the five minute wait time.
If you no-show a scheduled ride, you must call Access Link within 60 minutes in order to confirm any ride reservations for later that day.
We also asked that you are ready during your window and remember that the operator can only wait 5 minutes for you to board the vehicle.
Your cooperation with following these policies will allow us to maintain our efficient schedules and provide all of our customers with high levels of customer service.
For any questions or additional information please feel free to contact Access Link Customer Service at 1-800-955-ADA1(2321) and choose option 5.
Companions and PCAs
- You may travel with up to two other riders. To ensure seating capacity, NJ TRANSIT reserves the right to limit additional companions on a space available basis.
- Some of our customers require the assistance of a PCA, who is someone who regularly assists the customer. When the customer travels, the PCA performs personal duties that operators are not allowed to do. Some of these duties may include, but are not limited to:
- guiding the customer with an intellectual or developmental disability
- providing assistance to the customer diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Dementia
- directing a customer who is unable to travel independently
- calming a customer who tends to become upset in unexpected situations
- preventing a customer from leaving her/his seat or opening a door when the vehicle is in motion
- Access Link does not provide staff to monitor or supervise its customers so:
- If you are authorized to travel with a PCA, and need a PCA to perform some of the duties mentioned previously, you should always travel with a PCA. Remember to tell the reservationist when your PCA will or will not be traveling with you.
- If you think it's unsafe to let your family member or the individual you assist travel alone on a fixed-route bus, you should not let her/ him travel alone on Access Link.
- If we recognize that a customer, while traveling on our paratransit service, requires assistance above and beyond the services available through our trained professional operators, we will make "safe travel related" recommendations. Our recommendations could require that a customer travel with a personal care attendant (PCA). NJ TRANSIT does not provide PCA services. A customer would need to identity a PCA and that person would need to travel with them at all times.
On Board Recording
As an added safety feature, most Access Link vehicles are equipped with a camera that records sound and pictures. Anything that happens on or near the vehicle may be recorded.
Service Status During Emergency
To Obtain Information about Access Link Service Status and Interruptions that are Due to Weather or Emergency
Call Access Link at 1-800-955-ADA1 (2321) to hear recorded service status information.
Visit www.njtransit.com for updates.
Visit www.njtransit.com/mytransit to sign up for free Access Link alerts through the MY TRANSIT system.
Visitor Status in Another State
Your Access Link paratransit eligibility must be honored, when you are visiting another state. Each paratransit system has a process for evaluating visitor requests. The last page of your paratransit eligibility letter can be used to verify your paratransit eligibility status in the state of New Jersey. You must:
- Identify and contact the paratransit provider in the state where you plan to travel prior to your actual travel date.
- Request that all forms be sent to you directly. NJ TRANSIT cannot be responsible for the completion of any forms.
- Request information that will help you plan your use of their paratransit service effectively.
Right/Rules of Conduct
Access Link Customers' Rights and Rules of Conduct
Customers have a right to:
- Safe, reliable paratransit service in clean vehicles
- Rides within the ADA scheduling Window
- All your information maintained with the highest level of confidentiality
- Be informed in a timely manner of unexpected schedule delays when possible
- NJ TRANSIT's monitoring of the Service Providers delivering Access Link service
- Professional, customer friendly, and courteous assistance
- Assistance from the curb for boarding and exiting the vehicle
- Assistance to and from your seat
- Assistance securing any mobility devices, seat and lap belts
- Operators calling 911 in the event of a medical event or emergency
- Announcement of "Access Link" upon arrival at your pick up point
- Operators performing safely and obeying all traffic laws
- The vehicle arriving within the Window
- The operator waiting up to 5 minutes for you to meet the vehicle
- Refuse unsafe service and file complaints without fear of reprisal
- Prompt investigation and effective resolution of complaints
- Notify us if they are not able to communicate in English and inform us of which language requires translation. We will then arrange a staff member to speak with you and/ or use the language line assistant to facilitate our conversation.
Customers Rules of Conduct:
Customers are responsible for their own conduct as well as the conduct of their Personal Care Attendants and companions. While utilizing the Access Link service all customers, including those traveling with them are expected to follow these rules of conduct to ensure the safety and comfort of all customers, vehicle and the operator.
- Do not willfully make threats, sexually harass, disturb, physically or verbally harass or use offensive language or gestures towards other customers, operators or Access Link staff on the phone.
- No consumption and/or riding under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on board the Access Link vehicle.
- No smoking while on board the Access Link vehicle.
- Refrain from disruptive behavior and situations that pose a direct threat to the safety and well-being of other customers, the operators and our vehicles such as but not limited to the presence of bed bugs on your person, contagious conditions, the discharge of bodily fluids and open wounds
- No operating or tampering with any Access Link equipment while onboard Access Link vehicles.
- Pay your fare and promptly board the Access Link vehicle within the five-minute timeframe without purposeful delay.
- No sound generating devices are to be played aboard the Access Link vehicle without the use of headphones.
- Remain seated with the seat belt on at all times during the ride. The only exception is when customers obtain written documentation from a medical professional.
- Do not violate the no-show or cancellation policy.
Repeat instances of prohibited behaviors may result in the issuance of a warning letter up to a possible temporary suspension of service. In some cases, due to the severity of the situation and its impact on our ability to provide service, suspension may be immediate or we may refuse service while we work to resolve the concern.
Drivers are not responsible for:
- Assisting you to and from the vehicle where doing so would create a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time.
- Knowing your scheduled return time
- Providing first aid or other medical assistance
- Assisting you with transporting packages or other items
- Relaying information to Access Link Operations
Right to Appeal Suspension
How can I appeal a suspension of service?
A customer who disputes the basis for a suspension of service can appeal the suspension by contacting the Access Link Customer Service department by calling
(1) 800-955- ADA1 (2321) and selecting option "5" for further details or submit the request in writing along with supporting documentation by sending it via:
Fax: (973) 232-1677
Mail: NJ TRANSIT Access Link
Attn: Customer Service/Suspension Appeals
One Penn Plaza East, 7th floor
Newark, New Jersey 07105
Subscriptions are automatic weekly reservations designed and granted so that you do not have to call for your ride via the reservations line.
In order to be eligible for a subscription ride, you must show the following criteria:
- Ride consistency to and from the same location
- Rides are taken during the same times
- Rides are taken during the same day(s) on a weekly basis
- A history of consistent weekly ridership within 30 day period
- Out of consideration to all, you are allotted one subscription (to and from one location) however, requests for additional subscriptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- When a subscription slot is not available after meeting the criteria outlined, the request will be placed
onto a wait list until the ride becomes available. Once a subscription is created, this ride will occur automatically, week-to-week, until the subscription is no longer needed.
Lost and Found
Lost and Found
Contact us via phone or email to report personal items left onboard Access Link vehicles. Items found will be held at the Service Provider facility for up to 120 days.
We will try to return items on another ride or you may make your own arrangements to pick the items.
Free travel instruction services are available, in select areas of the state. If you want to learn how to use the local bus, train or light rail system to travel, in addition to your Access Link service please contact us.
ALICE & Access Link Online
Two new and innovative ways of keeping you connected are ALICE (Access Link Information Center) and our newest addition Access Link Online (our website).
Once ALICE is fully operational it will allow you to receive reminders about upcoming rides, cancel reservations, receive alerts prior to the vehicle arrival, and make reservations. These new features will significantly reduce the amount of time you will have to wait on hold and will allow you the option to not speak with an agent.
In order to benefit from ALICE you must make sure that we have a valid telephone number where you can be reached. If your primary contact number has an extension, you will not be able to receive calls from
Access Link Online is an interactive website that was created to be an additional channel of communication and enable you to better manage your Access Link interactions.
Access Link Online will be launched in phases. The first phase will allow you to view past rides as well as check the status of and cancel upcoming rides. You will also be able to view and change your account information which includes your addresses (home, work, mail, and frequent addresses), phone numbers, and email address.
Your pin number/password, is needed to use both of these features, it is the last four (4) digits of your home phone number.
NJ TRANSIT is very interested in how you view Access Link service. If you wish to compliment us on the service or notify us of problems, you may email or call us and speak with an Access Link Customer Service Representative (contact information below). When calling please have as much information as possible, including:
Date and time of day you traveled.
Your pick-up and drop off locations.
Your vehicle number.
Your driver's name.
Who else was on the vehicle?
Access Link Information:
1-800 -955-ADA1 (2321) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or firstname.lastname@example.org (TT) 1- 800-955-6765 for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired
If you are unable to select an option, stay on the line for assistance.
If you have any additional questions about NJ TRANSIT's Accessible Bus, Rail or Light Rail please contact,
NJ TRANSIT Information Center:
1-973-275-5555 or (TT) 1-800-772-2287 or www.njtransit.com
Filing a Title VI Complaint:
NJ TRANSIT is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from, or denied the benefits of our services on the basis of race, color, or national origin as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. No person or group of persons shall be discriminated against with regards to the routing, scheduling, or quality of transportation service on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Frequency of service, age, and quality of vehicles assigned to routes, quality of stations serving different routes, and location of routes may not be determined on the basis of race, color or national origin. Any person who believes that they
have, individually, or as a member of any specific class of persons, been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, or wishing to obtain additional information regarding NJ TRANSIT's Title VI obligations, may file a complaint or inquiry in writing to NJ
TRANSIT Customer Service - Title VI, One Penn Plaza East, Newark, NJ 07105.
A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
Terms and Definitions
ADA Scheduling Window - Access Link is permitted by the ADA regulations to provide ADA rides within plus or minus one hour of your requested pick-up window.
Commuter Bus Service - bus service predominately in one direction during peak periods, limited stops, use of multi-ride tickets, and routes of extended length, usually between the central business district and outlying suburbs. The ADA does not require public transportation entities to provide ADA paratransit with respect to the commuter service.
Companion or Guest - a person other than a PCA (personal care attendant), who will be riding with an ADA eligible customer (e.g. a friend, relative, etc.). A companion pays the same fare as the ADA eligible customer.
Cross Street - the nearest intersection (corner) to the street address you are traveling to and from
Demand Ride - a single reservation to individual destinations
ID Number - a unique number assigned to you, which is used to identify you
Late Cancellation - a ride cancelled less than 90 minutes but more than 50 minutes before your scheduled pick-up window.
No-Show - when you fail to cancel a ride, or cancel a ride less than 50 minutes before your scheduled pick- up window, or when you do not meet the vehicle within the five minute wait time
Advanced Cancellation - a ride cancelled at least 90 minutes before the scheduled pick-up window.
Personal Care Attendant (PCA) - someone who is preregistered with Access Link designated or employed specifically to help you meet your personal needs for transportation
Region - a geographically defined service area in which an assigned Contractor or Service Provider delivers Access Link service (see Access Link regional map at the end of this section)
Request Window - this is the desired window during which you want Access Link to pick you up
Scheduled Pick-Up window - this is the agreed upon scheduled window
Service Provider - a company that is contracted by NJ TRANSIT to provide Access Link service; also known as the Contractor
Tour / Run - a list of rides or a "route" operated by an Access Link vehicle
Wait Time - a 5 minute wait time is provided once the vehicle arrives at your pick-up point for boarding purposes.