DART Paratransit service is provided for senior citizens and persons with disabilities living in Polk County who are functionally unable to independently use the regular DART bus service all of the time, temporarily or only under certain circumstances. Paratransit service is door-to-door and wheelchair accessible.
DART Paratransit Eligibility
Transportation is provided for low income disabled citizens 18 and older, who are unable to use the city bus for necessary trips. Individuals will be considered for trips to medical appointments, grocery store, and once a month miscellaneous trip. Income eligible dialysis patients who have no transportation may also apply.
To check on eligibility and/or apply call Polk County (515) 286-3484 or DART Paratransit at (515) 283-8136.
If approved, the customer rides DART Paratransit at no charge. The funding agency may restrict the rider to certain types of transportation, such as medical appointments, work or grocery shopping. Polk County Adult Services does not fund employment or school transportation.
DART Bus Plus Eligibility
Disabled persons who are not approved for agency-funded transportation or whose trips are restricted may qualify for DART Paratransit's Bus Plus services. The Bus Plus program is designed to provide transportation for people who have a disability that prevents them from using fixed-route bus service. Bus Plus passengers may travel for any reason and must pay a fare. To start the eligibility process, a person must fill out a "DART Bus Service Eligibility Form.” This form must be submitted to DART's Paratransit Department, which will review the application and mail back the results within 21 days.
Bus Plus service fulfills DART's Americans with Disabilities Act obligations.
Paratransit and Bus Plus service operates the same days and hours as the Local Route buses.
To make a reservation, customers must call 515-283-8136 Monday through Friday no later than 5 p.m. the day before the trip is to be taken. Reservations, however, will be accepted up to seven (7) days prior to the trip. Drivers cannot schedule a trip for a customer. Actual pickup times may vary up to one hour before or after the requested time.
The following information must be ready when calling Paratransit to make a reservation:
- The addresses where the trip will start and where it will end.
- The appointment time or needed arrival time.
- Any special instructions such as assistance needed, or if a personal care attendant (PCA) will be traveling on the trip.
Reservations for Sunday and Monday travel may be made Monday through Friday during normal business hours on the regular reservations line OR the day before between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 515-283-8147. Customers will be directed to leave their name and telephone number where they can be reached between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. that day. A DART staff member will return the call to take the reservation.
Driver assistance is available. The following rules apply to this assistance:
- Assistance will be provided from the door of the house or building to the bus and back.
- The Bus Plus driver will not be able to help passengers with non-transportation requests such as helping put on a coat or locking a door.
- Driver assistance with a mobility device on steps is not guaranteed and will be limited to a maximum of two steps. This service is based on the size of the passenger, the height of the step and the driver’s ability.
- Assistance is to the first door only.
- Please limit packages or bags to what you can carry on board in one boarding trip and you can keep in control while the bus is in motion. Bags or packages should not block the aisle. You may request the driver’s assistance loading and unloading packages or bags. Packages or bags should weigh no more than 15 pounds.
- When a family member or other individual is available, he or she will be expected to provide assistance rather than the driver.
Traveling Companion and Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
A companion may ride with a customer if there is space available on the vehicle. Companions must pay the same fare as the eligible Bus Plus customer. If a customer cannot travel alone due to a disability, a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) may ride with the customer. The customer must be approved for service prior to taking the trip. The attendant will not be charged a fare.
Paratransit/Bus Plus Policies
Drivers have to keep a schedule, therefore, they will wait a maximum of five (5) minutes after the scheduled pick-up time. Customers must be ready and watching at their scheduled pick-up time, or they may miss the bus. A second vehicle will not be sent.
When customers cancel, or do not show up when they have scheduled a trip, service to others is impacted. A trip is considered a “canceled trip” when a customer calls prior to 4 p.m. the day before the trip, or at least one hour before the scheduled pick-up time. A trip is considered a “no show” when a customer fails to take a trip or calls less than one hour prior to the scheduled pick-up time. Repeated “no shows” may result in a penalty.
During the winter, service will operate any time the fixed route bus service operates. However, because the Paratransit/Bus Plus service operates on side streets that may not be cleared, staff may need to notify customers if a bus is unable to get to them. Drivers will assist customers when the walks are cleared of snow and ice. It is a customer’s responsibility to have walks cleared.
Some customers may be able to use the Local Route bus service if they were provided transportation to a bus stop. In these cases, the Paratransit/Bus Plus service will pick the customers up at their curb and take them to a bus stop, where they will need to transfer to the Local Route bus service to complete their trip.