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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a civil rights law that protects the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA requires public transportation systems to offer ADA paratransit service to individuals who are unable to use local bus service as a result of their disability. As New Jersey's public transportation provider, NJ TRANSIT has specific guidelines that must be followed in providing ADA paratransit. We have developed the following guidelines to help you understand NJ TRANSIT's ADA paratransit service known as Access Link.

What Is Access Link?

  • Access Link is a public transportation service developed to comply with the paratransit regulations of the ADA. Access Link service is comparable to the NJ TRANSIT local fixed route bus system. Access Link is for people with disabilities who are unable to use the local fixed route bus. In order to use Access Link, you must first apply for eligibility (see Eligibility).
  • 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.
  • Eligible customers and companions will be charged a comparable fare based on the bus fare and number of zones they will be traveling.
  • By comparable to the NJ TRANSIT local fixed route bus system we also mean that Access Link service is a "shared-ride" system. That means like 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 trips as possible to as many customers as possible.
  • Access Link is also comparable to the bus in that it is a curb to curb service. All customers are required to come to the curb to meet the vehicle within five minutes of the vehicle arriving. Drivers are not permitted to assist customers to and from the door or with packages.
  • Your "ride time" should be comparable in length to the ride time on the bus. Your Access Link ride time should not exceed 1 1/2 times that of the local bus.

When you call Access Link to make a reservation, the Reservationist will check the bus schedule for a fare, time and trip availability.

sample local bus schedule

Where Does Access Link Go? (Access Link's Service Area)

  • Your trip 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. This is known as the Access Link service area. Access Link shadows local fixed route buses. 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.
  • A Reservationist will assist you when you call to reserve your trip. 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 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 trip requests, which had previously qualified for Access Link paratransit service.

  • Access Link is comparable to the bus system in that you may use Access Link for trips of any purpose; there are no restrictions or trip 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. Remember the origin and destination of a trip must be within the 3/4 mile radius service area.

Eligibility - Applying for Access Link

  • All persons interested in applying for Access Link service are required to attend an in-person transportation assessment interview. Access Link does not take assessments over the phone, nor will they send you an assessment form in the mail.
  • NJ TRANSIT has set up a network of local agencies, known as "Assessment Agencies," to assist you in applying for Access Link eligibility. All transportation assessments are held in-person.
  • To arrange for a transportation assessment appointment, please contact NJ TRANSIT by dialing 1-800-955-2321 (TT 1-800-955-6765) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Choose the "not a certified Access Link rider" option to speak with a Certification Assistant.)
  • Customers must be at least five years of age to apply for Access Link. If an applicant is under the age of 18 or has a court appointed legal guardian, then the parent or legal guardian is required to attend the transportation assessment interview. If the parent or legal guardian cannot attend the transportation assessment interview, then a permission form, designating an acting guardian, must be completed and received before NJ TRANSIT can schedule the assessment interview.
  • If you require transportation to the Assessment Agency, round-trip service on Access Link may be provided. Please make this request when scheduling your transportation assessment interview. A round-trip fare of $4.00 per applicant will be charged.
  • Access Link vehicles can accommodate mobility devices that fit in the securement area (30" x 48") and do not obstruct the aisle. The lift can accommodate a combined weight (user and mobility device) of up to 600 pounds.

  • If you cannot keep your assessment appointment, you must call NJ TRANSIT to cancel. If you "no-show" (e.g. do not show up for your assessment appointment and do not cancel your appointment at least 50 minutes before your scheduled pick-up time), when you call to reschedule your appointment you may be charged double the fare for transportation to your rescheduled appointment. Also, if you "no-show" for your second appointment, we may not provide transportation to any subsequent assessment appointment.

Determining Eligibility:

When determining your Access Link eligibility, in addition to your disability, NJ TRANSIT abides by the ADA regulations that consider the following:

  • Your ability to use the local fixed-route bus system independently.
  • Any individual with a disability who could use the local fixed route bus system if it had the appropriate accessible features available but those features are not available.
  • The impact of your disability combined with the environment that prevents you from getting to or from a bus stop.

During the transportation assessment interview you will be asked to describe your disability as it relates to your ability to use the bus.

What to expect after your transportation assessment appointment

  • NJ TRANSIT must make a determination regarding eligibility within 21 days from the date a complete transportation assessment is received. An assessment is considered complete when the assessment is conducted and the "Medical Verification" form is received by NJ TRANSIT.

  • If NJ TRANSIT does not make an eligibility decision within the 21 day requirement, you are considered "presumed eligible" until or unless a final decision is rendered.
  • You may call NJ TRANSIT to check on your eligibility status. Call 1-800-955-2321 and choose the "not a certified Access Link rider" option to speak with a Certification Assistant.
  • When a determination has been made, you will receive a letter explaining your eligibility status.
  • If you disagree with NJ TRANSIT's determination then you have the right to appeal the decision either in person or by telephone.

What if you do not live in New Jersey?

  • Visitors from out of state may use Access Link for up to 21 days in a 365-day period from the day of your first trip.
  • You must call NJ TRANSIT at 1-800-955-2321 and ask to be eligible as a visitor in the state of New Jersey. Choose the "not a certified Access Link rider" menu option and request to speak with a Certification Assistant.
  • If you think you may need Access Link for more than 21 days in a 365-day period then you must apply for Access Link through the NJ TRANSIT in-person assessment process. If you are planning to move to New Jersey and think you may need Access Link we recommend you call ahead to schedule an assessment appointment to avoid any delays (see Eligibility-Applying for Access Link).

Customer Guidelines

Making a Reservation

  • To make a reservation, call our toll-free number:  1-800-955-2321 (TT 1-800-955-6765)

  • Access Link reservation lines are available from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. every day including holidays.

  • You may make your reservation up to seven (7) days in advance, but not less than the day before your trip.  (We cannot accommodate same-day reservation requests.)

When you call for a trip, please be prepared to tell us:

  • Your name and customer I.D. number.
  • Pick-up address (number and street name), the nearest cross street and location of pick-up entrance, if application, name of complex or apartment complex.
  • Your requested pick-up time.
  • Drop-off address (number and street name), the nearest cross street and location of drop off entrance.
  • A destination phone number or cell phone number (in case we need to get in touch with you regarding your return trip).
  • If you are traveling with a personal care attendant (PCA), companion, service animal or a child.
  • If you require a child seat.
  • If you, your PCA or companion will be traveling using a mobility device (e.g. wheelchair, walker, portable medical equipment, service animal, etc.).

  • All children under the age of eight and weighing less than 80 pounds must be secured in a child restraint system or booster seat. If you do not inform us of this in advance, your trip cannot be completed.
  • ADA eligible customers are entitled to travel with at least one companion. To ensure seating capacity for ADA eligible customers, their PCA and at least one companion, NJ TRANSIT reserves the right to limit additional companions on a space available basis. During peak weekday travel periods you may be restricted to no more than one companion. Access Link weekday peak periods are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • You may be required to transfer between two or more vehicles depending on the distance of the trip, 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.
  • From time to time it may be necessary for NJ TRANSIT to contact you up to the day before your ride and change your pick up time within the one hour ADA scheduling window (see Terms and Definitions, "ADA Scheduling Window").
  • All Access Link trips are one-way trips. If you want a round trip you must reserve a specific time to return. We suggest that you leave at least 90 minutes after your pick-up time. We cannot accept open-ended or "will call" return times.
  • Access Link customers cannot request a specific vehicle type. Access Link has a mixed fleet of lift-equipped vans of various seating configurations as well as sedans. Sedans are generally scheduled to transport up to three customers.
  • Access Link vehicles can accommodate mobility devices that fit in the securement area (30" x 48") and do not obstruct the aisle. The lift can accommodate a combined weight (user and mobility device) of up to 600 pounds.
  • Access Link will schedule customers traveling with service animals in either sedans or lift equipped vans. Service animals provide assistance to some customers and may ride in all types of vehicles. Service animals may not occupy a customer seat. They should sit at the feet of their owner.

Fare Information

  • You will be charged a comparable fare based on the local bus fare and number of zones you are traveling.
  • You must have exact fare (pennies are not accepted) and drivers cannot make change. You may not be permitted to ride if you do not have exact change (see Driver Do's and Don'ts).
  • Payment of fare is due at time of boarding.
  • A designated PCA may ride free of charge when accompanying an eligible customer.
  • When you make a reservation we will let you know the fare.
  • Pre-paid fares are not utilized at this time.
  • There are no reduced fare programs available on Access Link.
  • Children under five years of age ride free when accompanied by a full fare-paying eligible customer.

Helpful Hints

  • If someone will be helping you get to the vehicle, that person should be waiting with you. If someone will be assisting you from the vehicle to your door at your destination, this individual should 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.

Drive Cam

  • 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.
  • Customers are allowed to bring packages on board but only what you, your personal care attendant or companion can carry in one trip. No repetitive trips on and off the vehicle to load packages will be permitted. Drivers may not carry packages for you. Your packages must be self-contained and must not pose a safety hazard (e.g. rolling, spilling, etc.) Customers are allowed up to one collapsible/folding shopping cart.

  • We encourage all customers to transfer from their mobility device onto a seat and have the mobility device secured. Customers who use mobility devices are always safer riding in seats with seatbelts than in a mobility device.
  • Access Link strongly urges customers not to use broken or malfunctioning mobility devices. Broken brakes, safety belts, wheels or other problems with mobility devices cause a safety concern for all.
  • Drivers do not know your scheduled return time. Please do not ask the driver when you are scheduled to be picked up. All questions concerning your trip schedule should be directed to Access Link by calling 1-800-955-2321 (TT 1-800-955-6765).
  • Access Link will do its best to schedule your trip as close as possible to your requested pick-up time. Generally the more days in advance you reserve a trip, the closer Access Link can come to the pick-up time you requested. Please keep in mind that in accordance with ADA regulations your trip request may be flexible by one hour before to one hour after your requested pick-up time.
  • Driver Do's

    • Provide assistance from the curb for boarding and exiting the vehicle and further assistance as requested.
    • Provide assistance to and from your seat.
    • Secure any mobility devices, seat and lap belts.
    • Call 911 in the event of a medical event or emergency.
    • Upon arrival at a customer's pick up point announce "Access Link" in a clear voice tone.
    • Act in a professional and courteous manner.
    • Drive safely and obey all traffic laws.
    • Collect your exact fare for the trip.

    Driver Don'ts

    • Do not know your scheduled return time (see Customer Guidelines).
    • Access Link drivers are not trained to provide first aid or other medical assistance.
    • Cannot make change for your fare.
    • Cannot help you with transporting packages.
    • Cannot accept tips.

    Access Link Policies

    Pick-Up Time (20-Minute window)

    • Once we have agreed upon a scheduled pick-up time, your Access Link vehicle is scheduled to arrive within a "window" of 20 minutes before to 20 minutes after your scheduled pick-up time. It is important that you keep the 20 minute window in mind when reserving trips and when waiting for your vehicle.
    Example: Your scheduled pick-up time is 12:00 p.m. A vehicle will be scheduled to arrive for your trip between 11:40 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.

    Access Link 20 minute window diagram

    • Access Link vehicles are required to wait up to five minutes for a customer 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." We suggest you wait indoors during inclement weather in a location where you can see the vehicle and will be able to reach it within the five minute wait time (see Terms and Definitions, "Wait Time").
    • If your vehicle has not arrived by the end of your 20 minute window please call Access Link at 1-800-955-2321. A Service Monitor will give you information about the status of your trip.

    Access Link Cancellation and No-Show Definitions

    • Cancellation:
      For a cancellation to be considered "advanced" customers must notify/call Access Link 90 minutes or more before the scheduled pick-up time. (Call 1-800-955-2321 and choose the "certified Access Link rider" menu option, then choose the "cancel your ride" option.) Please cancel any unnecessary trips to avoid taking up seats for other customers.

    • Late Cancellation:
      Your trip will be considered a late cancellation if you notify Access Link more than 50 minutes but less than 90 minutes before your scheduled pick-up time.

    • No-Show:
      Your trip will be considered a no-show if you do not call at least 50 minutes before your scheduled pick-up time, or you do not board the vehicle before or during the five minute wait time.

    Please Note: If you no-show a scheduled trip, you must notify Access Link within 60 minutes in order to confirm any trip reservations for later that day.

    Actions that may lead to temporary suspension:

    The following is a list of offenses not tolerated on Access Link:

    • Willfully make threats, sexually harass, disturb, upset, physically or verbally harass or use offensive language or gestures towards other customers, drivers or towards the Access Link staff on the phone.

    • Fail to pay exact fare upon boarding.

    • Drink alcohol on board an Access Link vehicle.

    • Smoke on board an Access Link vehicle.

    • Show a general disrespect for Access Link rules.

    • Fail to follow the Access Link policies.

    • Bring bicycles on board an Access Link vehicle.

    Repeat instances of these types of behavior may result in temporary suspension of service.

    Subscription Trips

    • Subscription trips are trips that customers reserve once. The trip must be to and from the same place at the same time on the same day(s) of the week.
    • To request a subscription trip contact Access Link and ask to speak to a Service Monitor handling subscription trips. If the times you request are not available, you may request to be put on a waiting list. The level of service in each of the regions is at different growth levels. Therefore, the time you must wait depends on the service area where you travel and the current number of subscription trips reserved and waiting.
    • A subscription trip must be taken at least once per week, but no more than seven times per week.
    • We generally allow one subscription trip per customer, however requests for additional subscription trips may be considered.
    • Once your subscription trip is scheduled, you may not change the pick-up times. If you go on vacation, become ill or do not need your subscription trip for a period of time, you must contact Access Link and have your subscription trip temporarily put "on-hold."
    • Your subscription trip can be temporarily "put on hold" for up to 30 days by calling Access Link. Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis when a request is provided in writing. After 30 days your subscription trip will be forfeited.
    • For any one-day changes in pick-up location or time, you will need to cancel the subscription trip for that day and reserve a new individual "demand" trip for the new time or location.
    • If you establish a pattern of canceling your subscription trips on a regular basis your subscription trip will be forfeited.
    • If your destination address changes, your subscription trip will be forfeited and you must request a new subscription trip. Until you establish a new subscription trip you must reserve new individual demand trips.
    • Customers can lose their subscription trip if they violate NJ TRANSIT Access Link Customer Policies including the customer no-show policy.
    • Subscription trips are automatically put on hold by Access Link on holidays. If you need your subscription trip on any of the following holidays, you must contact NJ TRANSIT in advance to request a trip for that particular holiday. This includes subscription trips to dialysis centers.
    The Holidays Are:
    New Year's Day Labor Day
    Memorial Day Thanksgiving Day
    Fourth of July Christmas Day

    NJ TRANSIT reserves the right to revise this holiday list and will notify all subscription riders of any change.

    NJ TRANSIT - Terms and Definitions

    NJ TRANSIT is committed to:

    • Provide you with safe, reliable paratransit service in clean vehicles.
    • Provide customer trips within the ADA scheduling window.
    • Inform each customer of his or her eligibility status within 21 days of receipt of a complete assessment.
    • Maintain all customer information with the highest level of confidentiality.
    • Inform customers in a timely manner of unexpected schedule delays.
    • Contract with and monitor transportation companies (called Service Providers) providing Access Link service.
    • Provide you with professional, customer friendly assistance.

    If you have any additional questions please contact,

    Access Link Information: 1-800-955-ADA1 (2321) or (TT) 1-800-955-6765 or adaservices@njtransit.com

    If you are calling from a rotary phone or are unable to select an option, stay on the line for assistance.

    NJ TRANSIT Accessible Bus and Train Information: 1-973-275-5555 or (TT) 1-800-772-2287

    Contact Customer Service for Comments

    NJ TRANSIT is very interested in how our customers view Access Link service. Customers who wish to compliment us on the service or notify us of problems may call 1-800-955-2321 (TT 1-800-955-6765) between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and then select the option to speak with the Access Link Customer Service Representative. 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.
    • What happened?
    • Who else was on the vehicle?

    Lost & Found

    Contact Access Link at 1-800-955-2321 to report personal items left onboard Access Link vehicles. Items found will be held at the Service Provider facility for up to 120 days.

    Terms & Definitions

    ADA Scheduling Window - Access Link is required by the ADA regulations to provide ADA trips within plus or minus one hour of the customer's requested pick-up time. If trip capacity is not available within plus or minus one hour of a customer's requested pick-up time, an ADA trip denial is recorded

    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 - 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 Trip - a single reservation to individual destinations

    ID Number - a unique number assigned to a customer, which is used to identify the customer

    Late Cancellation - a trip cancelled less than 90 minutes but more than 50 minutes before your scheduled pick-up time

    No-Show - when a customer fails to cancel a trip, or cancels a trip less than 50 minutes before their scheduled pick-up time, or when a customer does not meet the vehicle within the five minute wait time

    Advanced Cancellation - a trip cancelled at least 90 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time

    Personal Care Attendant (PCA) - someone designated or employed specifically to help an eligible individual meet his or her personal needs

    Region - a geographically defined area in which an assigned Contractor or Service Provider provides Access Link service (see Access Link regional map at the end of this section)

    Request Time - this is the desired time the customer wants Access Link to pick him or her up

    Ride Time "Target" - comparable to, but no more than, 11/2 times the ride time of the local fixed route bus, depending on the distance traveled

    Scheduled Pick-Up Time - this is the agreed scheduled time plus or minus the 20 minute window

    Service Area a geographic territory or zone in which Access Link operates. This zone covers or shadows NJ TRANSIT's local bus routes within 3/4 mile radius. Currently service is provided in 18 of 21 New Jersey counties

    Service Provider - a company that is contracted by NJ TRANSIT to provide Access Link service; also known as the Contractor

    Shared Ride - many customers going to more than one destination on the same vehicle

    Subscription Trip - (formerly standing order); repetitive trips that customers call in to reserve once. The trip must be to and from the same place at the same time on the same day(s) of the week

    Tour / Run - a list of trips or a "route" operated by a particular vehicle on any given day

    Twenty Minute Window - your scheduled pick-up time plus or minus 20 minutes

    Wait Time - the period of time a vehicle will wait for a customer once it has arrived at any scheduled pick-up point. This time is five minutes