Paratransit Policy Manual

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Updated April 10, 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Statement

Agency Information

Paratransit Policies and Procedures

EXECUTIVE STATEMENT

MISSION

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation’s goal is to provide safe, clean, and affordable public transportation to the community in the most effective and cost efficient manner.

PURPOSE

These Policies and Procedures are established by the Broome County Department of Public Transportation to promote safety, to facilitate the proper use of the transit facilities of the County, to protect the transit facility and their passengers, and to assure the payment of fares and other lawful charges for the use of the system.

AUTHORIZATION

These Policies and Procedures may be amended or added to, from time to time, at the sole discretion of the Broome County Department of Public Transportation in accordance with law.

AGENCY INFORMATION

DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation (BC Transit) offers fixed route and paratransit service within Broome County.

The fixed route serves the urbanized core of Broome County (City of Binghamton, Johnson City, Endicott, Endwell and Vestal). Fixed route is defined as buses that travel along a specified or fixed path; riders can board and exit the bus at designated bus stops or flag stops along this predetermined path. Service is offered weekdays, weeknights and on weekends. Specific time and route information can be found on our website at www.ridebctransit.com or by calling our BC Junction office at 778-1692.

The BC Lift is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated dial-a-ride service that serves the urbanized core and up to three-quarters of a mile around the fixed route. It is a shared-ride service that provides transportation to the disabled in Broome County’s urban areas. Service is offered weekdays, weeknights and weekends. Specific information can be found on our website or by calling our Administrative Office at 763-4464 option 3.

The Office for Aging Mini-Bus is a shared dial-a-ride service that provides transportation to the elderly in Broome County. Service is offered Monday through Friday. Specific information can be found on our website or by calling the Office for Aging at 778-2411.

The BC Country is a shared dial-a-ride service that provides transportation to those living in the rural areas, traveling into the urban areas. These buses travel to different rural areas of Broome County including Whitney Point, Lisle, Port Crane, Harpursville, Kirkwood, Windsor, Maine, Glen Aubrey, Chenango Forks, Chenango Bridge and certain locations in Vestal. Service is offered Monday through Friday. Specific time and route information can be found by calling our Administrative Office at 763-4464 option 3.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Public awareness plays a large part in the overall security of our system. To that end, we encourage the public to be alert and to report to the driver and/or management anything that looks suspicious such as unattended items (grocery bags, back packs, suitcases, etc.) or any persons exhibiting excessive nervousness or sweating or wearing out of season clothing (ex: heavy coats in the summer time).

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, creed, sexual preference, disability, veteran status, age or any non-job related characteristic. Discrimination based on any of the above is strictly prohibited. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, compensation, promotion, transfer, training, leave of absence, and termination. As commitment to this statement, we maintain an equal employment/affirmative action plan which guides us to achieve our efforts in maintaining a diverse work force within our community. This plan was established in accordance with pertinent state and federal laws and regulations.

Anyone who is interested in obtaining additional information about BC Transit EEO program, including non-English alternative formats, may contact the Administration Office at 607.763.4464 option 3. 

TITLE VI

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation is committed to ensuring that no person on the basis of race, color or national origin will be subjected to discrimination in the level and quality of transportation services as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If a passenger believes that they have been subjected to discrimination under Title VI they may file a signed, written complaint no later than 180 calendar days after the date of the alleged discrimination to the Broome County Department of Public Transportation’s Title VI Coordinator at 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal, NY 13850.

Anyone who is interested in obtaining additional information about BC Transit’s Title VI Program, including non-English alternative formats, may contact the Administration Office at 607.763.4464 option 3.

ADA COMPLAINT PROCESS

If a passenger has an ADA complaint regarding an incident that occurred with BC Transit’s staff or while using one of our services, they may file a written complaint using the following methods: 

  • You may obtain our ADA complaint form from our website (www.ridebctransit.com) and mailing the written complaint to 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal NY, 13850. 
  • You may have our ADA complaint form mailed to you by calling the Administrative Office at (607) 763-4464 option 3 or the Junction Office at (607) 763-1692. 
  • You may obtain our ADA complain form in person by visiting the – Administrative Office, 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal NY 13850 or the Junction Office, 81 Chenango Street, Binghamton NY 13901. 

COMPLAINT PROCESS

If a passenger has a general complaint regarding BC Transit’s staff or their transportation service, they may file a complaint using the following methods:

  • Mailing written complaint to 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal NY 13850 (Compliment/Complaint forms are located on each bus, at the Junction and the Administrative Office.)
  • Email – www.ridebctransit.com (use Customer Service Form)
  • Telephone the Administrative Office at 763-4464 option 3 or the Junction Office at 763-1692
  • In person – Administrative Office, 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal NY 13850 or the Junction Office, 81 Chenango Street, Binghamton NY 13901.

BC Transit’s complete complaint process can be found on line at www.ridebctransit.com or it can be obtained by calling our Administrative Office at 763-4464 option 3.

SECTION 1 - PASSENGER POLICIES

1.1 PASSENGER BEHAVIOR

BC Transit recognizes its obligation to transport the public in a safe and efficient manner, and to provide a pleasant and clean atmosphere in which to ride. Accordingly, BC Transit has instituted the following passenger behavior guidelines.

  • No eating or drinking.
  • No smoking.
  • No spitting.
  • No unruly, disruptive, unsafe or inappropriate behavior.
  • No gambling.
  • No foul language.
  • No soliciting/loitering of any kind.
  • No destruction of property, County or otherwise.
  • No playing of radios, cd players, tape recorders, MP3 players, telephones or any other electronic devices so as to bother other passengers or the Van Operator.
  • Passengers must be fully clothed, meaning at least a torso-covering shirt, shorts, pants or a dress, sandals, sneakers, or some other kind of footwear. No one will be allowed to ride shirtless, pantless, shoeless or dressed so as to reveal body parts so as to be offensive to other passengers or the Van Operator.
  • Passengers must pay the appropriate fare in order to ride.
  • Passengers must have and be able to show the proper ID in order to ride.

The Van Operator will give one warning to a passenger who violates any of the above rules. If the passenger refuses to comply with the violated rule, the Van Operator will call dispatch and they will call the appropriate agency to have that passenger removed.

1.2 WHAT PASSENGERS MAY AND MAY NOT BRING ONTO THE BUS

PASSENGERS MAY:

  • Passengers may bring bags onto the bus, as long as the bags can fit between their feet, or on their lap in a manner which does not obstruct the aisle.
  • Passengers may bring portable respirators, concentrators, and oxygen tanks onto the bus, and they must be restrained by the passenger in a manner that does not obstruct the aisle..
  • Passengers may bring grocery pull carts onto the bus, as long as they can be collapsed and put under or between the passengers’ feet in a manner which does not obstruct the aisle.
  • Passengers may bring baby strollers onto the bus, as long as the baby is taken out of the stroller and the stroller can be collapsed and put under or between the passengers’ feet in a manner which does not obstruct the aisle.

PASSENGERS MAY NOT:

Prohibited Items for Passengers

Guns, firearms, and other devices designed to be an instrument of attack or defense in combat, or cause serious injury by launching harmful objects, including, but not limited to:

  • Firearms of all types, including handguns, rifles, shotguns
  • Toy, replica and imitation weapons that could be mistaken for real weapons
  • Compressed air and CO2 guns, including pellet guns, rifles and ball bearing guns
  • Signal flare pistols and starter pistols
  • Bows, cross bows and arrows
  • Military type weaponry that could be used to inflict harm or serious injury. 

Hazardous Chemicals
Passengers may not bring chemicals which are not normal household products and in normal household sealed packaging designed for the product. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Strong acids and bases and other extremely caustic or corrosive materials.
  • Car batteries and other automotive type batteries.
  • Chemicals which pose a significant risk for bodily harm and/or contamination.
  • Chemicals not considered normal household products.
  • Flammable substances.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides sold in bags covering 5000 sq feet or more. 

Objects with sharp points or sharp edges that are not contained and exposed in a way to use to cause serious injury or harm, including, but not limited to:

  • Knives and scissors with an exposed or open blade.
  • Items with an exposed blade designed for chopping, such as axes, hatchets and cleavers.
  • Items with exposed sharp points.  

Explosives or flammable substances or devices that could be used to cause serious injury or threaten safety, including, but not limited to:

  • Gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other similar types of fuel or containers containing fuel.
  • Tanks used for fuel, including propane and barbecue type tanks.
  • Ammunition, propellant powder, gunpowder
  • Detonators, blasting material, and military type weaponry. 

Dangerous goods or materials with the intent to cause mass casualties or illness, including but not limited to:

  • Etiological agents

Paints, varnishes etc.

  • Paints or varnishes are allowed and the packaging must be the manufacturer’s original packaging or a package of equal or greater strength, integrity, and be leak proof. Contents must be declared upon boarding.

Personal Transporters

  • Personal transporters are prohibited on the bus unless it is being used as a mobility device. If the personal transporter is being used as a mobility device, then the operator will request that the mobility device be secured in the mobility device station and the passenger transfer to a seat.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Passengers may not bring any illegal drugs or open alcoholic beverages on the bus.

Items of Large Size and Quantity

  • Any item(s) brought on the bus must be of size and quantity as to fit on that riders lap or under the seat. Items brought on the bus cannot exceed quantity or size as to obstruct the aisle, occupy a seat, or be considered too unwieldy for a single person to safely transport.

1.3 BOARDING THE BUS

Passengers should always use caution when entering or exiting the bus. If a person thinks they may have difficulty climbing the bus steps, they should ask the Van Operator to lower the wheelchair lift for them. Passengers should always use the hand rails for support when entering or exiting. They should be careful when walking up or down the steps during bad weather and be extra careful if they are boarding with young children. Passengers are advised that the steps can get slippery during rain or snowstorms.

Passengers should have their fare ready to place in the fare box. After paying the fare, passengers should find a seat quickly and make themselves comfortable. All small children should be held securely when the bus is moving. Passengers should not allow small children to walk around the bus unattended. Van Operators will give ample time for passengers to sit before moving the bus. However, it is the responsibility of the passenger to sit in a secured manner.

All personal items must be either on the customer’s lap or on the floor between their feet in a manner which does not obstruct the aisle.

1.4 PAYING THE FARE

  • If a person does not pay the total fare, the Van Operator will advise the passenger that the full fare is needed to ride the bus.
  • Should the passenger continue refusal to pay, the Van Operator is to contact the on-duty paratransit dispatcher. Should the individual not cooperate the passenger may be subject to suspension of service.
  • Passengers must pay the exact fare. Drivers cannot make change.

1.5 FARE OPTIONS

A passenger may:

  • Pay the fare with exact change on each ride.
  • Pay the fare for both ways on their first ride.
  • Pay for the week if the passenger qualifies.*
  • Have a qualified agency pay for their rides.**
  • Children under age 5 ride free when accompanied by an adult.

*The passenger must contact a paratransit supervisor to see if they qualify.

**The agency must contact a paratransit supervisor to qualify the passenger.

(A passenger who does not pay the fare, may be subject to suspension of service)

1.6a BC COUNTRY APPLICATION PROCESS

BC Country is a demand response service for rural Broome County riders. To learn more about potential pick up and drop off locations, call 607.763.4464 opt 3 and speak with a BC Country Dispatcher.

1.6b BC COUNTRY RESERVATION PROCESS

Reservations must be made at least two (2) business days in advance and no more than seven (7) days ahead of the planned trip. For example, if the passenger wants a ride on Wednesday, they would have to call it in by Monday prior. Also, Saturday and Sunday are not business days so if a passenger wants a ride on Monday they will have to call it in by Thursday prior. If the time the passenger requests is NOT available, then depending on availability, alternative times will be offered close to what the passenger originally requested.

1.7a BC LIFT APPLICATION PROCESS

Individuals will need to submit a completed application to use the BC Lift. That application will be reviewed by the BC Lift Eligibility Review Board and applicants will be notified by mail of the board’s decision.

Applicants who are denied will be notified in writing of the decision reached by the BC Lift Eligibility Review Board. Applicants have 60 days to submit a written appeal to this decision. The 60 day period begins when applicant receives notification of the board’s decision.

The appeal must be in writing. The appeal will be heard by a Paratransit Eligibility Appeals Board, which consists of people different than the board that originally reviewed your application. Mail written appeal to:

Sue Ruff, Independent Living Skills Coordinator
Southern Tier Independence Center
135 E. Frederick St.
Binghamton, NY 13904

The appeals board may order functional testing, re-evaluation or whatever they deem necessary to resolve the appeals.

All appeals will be resolved within 21 days of filing.

1.7b BC LIFT VISITORS

Visitors who wish to use the BC Lift are allowed 21 days of service and are asked for a copy of their ADA paratransit ID card from previous area or proof of a disability if they do not have their card present. If the rider needs more than 21 days of service, they are asked to apply for BC Lift eligibility certification. The reservation process shown above applies.

1.7c BC LIFT AND OFA MINI-BUS RESERVATION PROCESS

Reservations can be made at least one (1) day in advance and no more than seven (7) days ahead of the planned trip. Reservations are accepted on a first come first serve basis. If the time the passenger requests is NOT available, then depending on availability, alternative times will be offered close to what the passenger originally requested.

1.8 EXCESSIVE CANCELLATION POLICY

The Excessive Cancellation Policy was adopted in 2008 and states that “Excessive cancellations will be defined as 30% of all ride requests canceled within a 30-day period which will result in a suspension of service for 30 days”. If a passenger disagrees with the suspension decision, and an appeal is applicable, our agency will include an appeals process with the suspension notice letter.

1.9 NO-SHOW POLICY

The no-show policy defines a “no-show” as a failure to cancel unwanted service in advance, or arriving more than five (5) minutes beyond the scheduled pick-up time.

The no-show policy includes late cancellations, defined as trips cancelled less than (1) one hour prior to the scheduled trip time. Trips cancelled (1) one hour or more in advance will not be considered as a no-show.

Note: A trip is a one-way ride. If you have multiple rides on a given day (to and from; for example), and do not plan on taking any, each ride must be cancelled

BC Transit’s “No-Show” policy criteria is at least 30 percent of a BC Lift rider’s last 20 trips, which is 6 violations, will require the issuance of a warning letter. If a BC Lift rider has “No-Shows” that represent at least 30 percent of their last 50 trip (15 violations) they may be suspended up to seven (7) consecutive calendar days. This suspension will be communicated in writing, by mail. If the rider wishes to appeal the decision, they will have 15 business days after receipt of the suspension letter. The appeal process will be enclosed with the notification letter.

If a passenger disagrees with the suspension decision, and an appeal is applicable, our agency will include an appeals process with the suspension notice letter.

BC Transit’s approach is to work with each consumer or agency to prevent any suspensions from occurring and to keep consumers access to transportation. This is accomplished by sending warning letters to consumers after each no-show. During this time there is an opportunity for the consumer or agency to contact us if the no-show was beyond their control. BC Transit will then remove the no-show. However, if the consumer or agency does not contact us after each warning letter and then they receive a suspension letter, there is a grace period prior to the suspension beginning where the consumer or agency can contact us once again. It is only after every possible step is exhausted that we instill the suspension process. At this point they are given an opportunity to appeal.

1.10 BACKING UP POLICY

BC Transit’s policy is that buses do not back up. However, on a case-by- case basis and IF there is no other alternative solution but for the BC Lift buses to back up, the following general principles are followed:

  • The situation was pre-approved by the paratransit department and scheduled at least one day prior to the requested ride.
  • The Van Operator will use a spotter approved by this agency.
  • The Van Operator will secure the vehicle and do a walk around the vehicle to evaluate the area before backing.
  • The Van Operator will use the horn while backing up to alert any pedestrians in the area.
  • The Van Operator will back the vehicle slowly.
  • The Van Operator will check mirrors while watching the spotter for guidance.
  • The Van Operator will only back up as far as necessary.

1.11 BC LIFT PROCEDURES FOR INAPPROPRIATE

NON-VIOLENT BEHAVIOR

Witnessed by a driver or another consumer on the bus:

When a consumer on a BC Lift bus exhibits non-violent behavior which is seriously disruptive or illegal, if it is witnessed by the driver, or it is brought to the driver’s attention by another consumer on the bus, the driver of the bus is instructed to pull the bus over to a safe location, secure the bus, and talk to the offending consumer in a firm and professional manner telling the consumer what the inappropriate behavior is, and telling them to stop, and if need be, to change their seats.

The driver is to make immediate notification to dispatch via a cell phone and explain the circumstance. The driver at the end of their run is to make out a complete incident report and deliver a copy of that report to Broome County Transit Dispatch.

The Senior Dispatcher will retrieve the hard drive from the bus as soon as possible, and then meet with the Director of Operations to go over the video and the report. The Senior Dispatcher will then make every effort to contact the parent or caregiver of the consumer to explain the situation.

Depending on the seriousness of the inappropriate behavior, the Director of Operations may elect to have the parents’ counsel, their dependent, and the consumer may continue to ride. The Director of Operations will develop a warning letter of the consequence for continuing to exhibit inappropriate behavior.

If there seems to be a gray area as to the seriousness of the behavior, the Director of Operations will contact the Personnel Director and/or County Attorney as the final arbitrator for an appropriate response.

If a suspension is proposed a letter will be sent out to the parent or caregiver of the consumer detailing the actions which resulted in the proposed suspension and schedule a hearing before the Director of Operations. The consumer may not ride until the parent or caregiver meets with the Director of Operations. The Director of Operations will make every reasonable effort to meet with the parent or caregiver as soon as possible after being notified of the incident. After the hearing the Director of Operations shall issue a decision and send the decision to the consumer, and the parent and/or caregiver, together with an explanation of the procedure to appeal the decision.

Inappropriate behavior reported by a parent or caregiver or agency:

When Broome County Transit receives a report of nonviolent behavior which is seriously disruptive or illegal from a parent, caregiver, or outside agency, the Senior Dispatcher will immediately notify the Director of Operations. The time and date of the incident will be ascertained, and the hard drive will be retrieved from the bus as soon as possible. The driver will be interviewed to find out if the driver witnessed the incident. The video will be viewed by the Senior Dispatcher and the Director of Operations. The Senior Dispatcher will then make every effort to contact the parent or caregiver of the consumer to explain the situation.

Depending on the seriousness of the inappropriate behavior the Director of Operations may elect to have the parents’ counsel, their dependent, and the consumer may continue to ride. The Director of Operations will develop a warning letter of the consequence for continuing to exhibit inappropriate behavior.

If there seems to be a gray area as to the seriousness of the behavior, the Director of Operations will contact the Personnel Director and/or County Attorney as the final arbitrator for an appropriate response.

If a suspension is proposed, a letter will be sent to the parent or caregiver of the consumer scheduling a hearing before the Director of Operations. The consumer may not ride until the parent or caregiver meets with the Director of Operations. The Director of Operations will make every reasonable effort to meet with the parent or caregiver as soon as possible after being notified of the incident. After the hearing the Director of Operations shall issue a decision to the consumer, the parent and/ or caregiver together with an explanation of the procedure to appeal the decision.

1.12 OFA SHOPPING TRIPS

OFA shopper trips are group trips specifically for OFA passengers living in several elderly housing developments and which transport the seniors to and from local grocery stores on certain days of the week. For these trips only, passengers must adhere to the following rules:

  • Grocery items (Fabric bags with handles are encouraged) must be limited to what you can carry on and off the bus and have securely held on your lap or on the floor between your feet and cannot obstruct the aisle. This will ensure that if there is a sudden stop, the items will stay in place.
  • The items must be stored on the passenger’s lap or on the floor between their feet and cannot obstruct the aisle. This will ensure that if there is a sudden stop, the items will stay in place.
  • Carts are allowed, however, they must fit between the passenger and the seat in front of them with the groceries inside and cannot obstruct the aisle.

(All other passengers not involved in the OFA shopper trips must follow rules located under section 1.2)

1.13 ANIMALS ON BUSES

If a passenger brings an animal (other than a service animal) on the bus, the animal must be in a secured cage and either placed on the passenger’s lap or put between their feet on the floor. A cage is defined as an enclosed structure designed for purpose of confining and carrying animals having at least one side by a grating of wires or bars that lets in air and light. The passenger cannot place the cage on another passenger’s seat. The animal cannot bite, or otherwise disturb other passengers. It is the passenger’s responsibility to clean up after the animal, should the animal throw-up or defecate on the bus.

If the animal does become unruly, or disturb other passengers, the Van Operator will request that the passenger control the animal. If the passenger is unwilling or unable to control the animal, the Van Operator will call dispatch and dispatch will call the appropriate agency to have the animal removed from the bus.

1.14 FISH AND WILD GAME

Fish and wild game meant for consumption are allowed on the bus and treated as food. The item must be enclosed in packaging and may not be consumed on the bus.

Live animals are not permitted on the bus unless

  1. They are a service animal for a person with disabilities.
  2. They are a pet which is enclosed in a carrier designed for animal transport.

1.15 BUS STOPS

  • The pick up and drop off location for the Oakdale Mall will be at Arby’s only.
  • The pick up and drop off locations for the Town Square Mall will be at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Barnes and Noble and the Lowes Theater only.

1.16 MOVEMENT OF THE BUS

Van Operators will give ample time for passengers to sit before moving the bus. However, it is the responsibility of the passenger to sit in a secured manner.

1.17 LOST AND FOUND

Lost and found articles accumulated from the BC Lift, OFA Mini-Bus or BC Country buses will be given to dispatch. Dispatch will in turn call the owner and make arrangements to have them returned. BC Transit is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

BC Transit will keep any current identification cards for at least 24 hours. Any cards not claimed in this time frame are returned to the organization which issued the card.

1.18 BC COUNTRY VISITORS

Visitors who do not live in Broome County but would like to travel using the BC Country rural service may do so, providing they meet the bus at a central location in Broome County approved by BC Transit.

In addition, guests from outside Broome County that already have an ADA card from that area and would like to ride BC Lift are considered visiting guests and may ride BC Lift up to 21 days in a calendar year. If they would like to continue using BC Lift after the 21 days, they must apply for the service.

SECTION 2 AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) POLICIES

2.1 SERVICE AREA

BC Lift rides are origin to destination when necessary. The rider must provide advanced notice and it cannot fundamentally alter the nature of service or cause un-due burden.

2.2 BOARDING MOBILITY DEVICE PASSENGERS

A mobility device passenger must maneuver onto the lift/ramp. The mobility device must be locked in place or turned off before the lift is engaged. When a passenger is boarding as a mobility device passenger they must be seated in the mobility device. If the boarding device is a lift, no one but the person in the mobility device may be lifted on the lift. The Van Operator is to tell the person in the mobility device to either lock it in place or turn it off before they are lifted. The Van Operator should check the mobility device to make sure it has been done before engaging the lift. Once the passenger is level with the floor of the bus, the passenger must maneuver into the mobility device station. Once the passenger is in the mobility device station facing forward, the Van Operator must secure the mobility device to the floor of the bus. The Van Operator must also recommend the shoulder restraint for the passenger’s safety. If the passenger refuses the shoulder restraint, the Van Operator shouldn’t offer again, nor try to persuade the passenger any further. If the passenger does not want to wear the shoulder restraint, they are not required to.

BC Transit’s paratransit service will transport any mobility device that fits on the bus without compromising safety, damaging the bus or obstructing the aisle in a way that would prevent other passengers from safely walking past the device. BC Transit paratransit services will transport any mobility that meets the weight and size limits set forth by the by the manufacturer of the lift mechanism.  Specifications will be maintained on the agency's website and an individual may call the BC Transit Administration office at 607.763.4464 with specific questions.

BC Transit will only secure a mobility device facing forward. If a mobility device passenger refuses to be secured facing forward, the Van Operator will contact dispatch and the passenger will not be allowed to ride.  Wheelchairs must be secured to the floor of the bus.  BC Transit recommends riders use seatbelts or shoulder harnesses for additional safety, though this is not required.

A passenger has the right to use the mobility device lift if they are not in a mobility device or do not have a cane or walker. The Van Operator cannot ask what their disability is. When passengers board standing on the lift, the Van Operator must use good judgment. They should remind the person to hold on to the railings; if they look unsteady and there is a risk that they might injure themselves, the Van Operator should not let them ride the lift to board; the Van Operator is to call a supervisor to get instructions.

2.3 DIFFICULTY WITH BOARDING MOBILITY DEVICES

If the Van Operator cannot board a mobility device passenger at a bus stop, they must contact dispatch immediately to let someone know, so arrangements may be made for a bus change.

In addition, if a Van Operator is out at night and the lift does not work, they must call the after-hours dispatcher so that arrangements may be made for a bus change.

Lastly, if a Van Operator has a defect with their bus, specifically with the lift, they must report it before they leave the garage, put it on their defect sheet and obtain a new bus.

2.4 PASSENGERS TRANSFERING TO A SEAT

If a passenger with a mobility aid (wheelchair or scooter) would like to transfer to a seat, the Van Operator will secure the mobility aid in the securement area as the passenger takes a seat. The Van Operator can suggest to the passenger that they transfer to a seat however the Van Operator cannot make them.

2.5 ADA RESTRAINT SYSTEM

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), mobility device passengers do not have to wear a seatbelt or shoulder harness restraints. They do have to allow the transit entity to restrain the mobility device to the floor of the bus. It is BC Transit’s policy that the Van Operator must offer and recommend the passenger wear the shoulder/seatbelt harness for their own safety. However, the passenger is allowed to refuse the offer. After the disabled passenger leaves the bus, the Van Operator is responsible for making sure that all of the restraint straps are properly secured and stored away.

2.6 SERVICE ANIMALS

BC Transit recognizes under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that service animals are not pets, but rather, perform vital functions which result in more independence for persons with disabilities. Accordingly, BC Transit has implemented the following policies regarding service animals.

BC Transit recognizes the need for service animals. The definition of a service animal is any animal that has been individually trained to perform a specific task for a disabled person. All service animals will be allowed to ride. All service animals must be either held by the passenger, or put between their feet. The service animal may not block an aisle. Service animals may not occupy a passenger seat. The service animal may not bite, or otherwise disturb other passengers. It is the service animal owner’s responsibility to clean up after the service animal, should the service animal throw-up or defecate on the bus. If the service animal does become unruly, or disturb other passengers, the Van Operator will request that the owner of the service animal control the animal. If the owner is unwilling or unable to control the service animal, the Van Operator will call dispatch, and they will call the appropriate agency to have the service animal removed from the bus.

2.7 PERSONAL CARE ATTENDANT/ GUESTS

A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) is an individual whose services are required by the eligible rider. A PCA is considered to be accompanying the rider if they are picked up and dropped off at the same locations as the rider. A PCA must ride for free and can be a friend, family member or a medical professional. A guest is not a Personal Care Attendant and must be charged the same fare as the rider. A medical professional must indicate the need for a PCA either during the initial application process or with follow-up documentation after the individual receives a card.

2.8 MOVEMENT OF BUS

Van Operators will give passengers with or without a disability ample time to sit before moving the bus. However it is the passenger’s obligation to take a seat.

2.9 BC LIFT DENIAL POLICY

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation will provide rides to all persons with disabilities that are deemed eligible and have requested to ride BC Lift, and to mitigate and ultimately eliminate all denials based on capacity restraints.

A trip denial is considered a ride that cannot be provided by the BC Lift. These include requesting a next-day a next-day trip and the BC Lift says it cannot provide that trip, requesting a next-day trip and the BC Lift can only offer a trip that is outside of the one (1) hour negotiating window. This represents a denial regardless of whether the rider accepts such an offer. A rider requests a round-trip and the agency can only provide one leg of the trip scheduled within a one-hour window. If the rider does not accept the offered one-way trip, both portions of the trips will be considered as denials. This one-hour window is considered an hour before or after the rider’s requested time.

The Broome County Department of Public Transportation has incorporated the following plan:

  1. The Rural Demand/Response service was restructured and integrated into the ADA complimentary paratransit service.
  2. The Broome County Department of Public Transportation has collaborated with the Broome-Tioga Mobility Management Program to help provide rides to rural residents that use our rural demand/response BC Country service so as to free up more seats to accommodate BC Lift denials.
  3. The Broome County Department of Public Transportation has implemented a Van Service reimbursement policy for any ADA paratransit client who cannot be transported by this agency’s ADA complimentary paratransit service (BC Lift).

The ADA client will pay the Van Operator the regular ADA fare. The fare will then be delivered to our agency the next day and recorded. The vendor’s van service will then bill our agency for that ride and we will pay the bill as with any other vendor.

All of our ADA paratransit vendor’s drivers including the vendor’s van service drivers are subject to the vendor’s FTA Drug and Alcohol Testing policies.

2.9a TRIP LENGTH

Excessively long trips on the BC Lift are measured in comparison to the time required to make a similar trip using the fixed route system. The travel time on the BC Lift will not exceed 50% above a comparable trip time on the fixed route bus. 

SECTION 3 - ACCIDENT, SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

3.1 DRIVER ACCIDENT INSTRUCTIONS

An accident is defined as any circumstance where a public transit vehicle makes contact with a fixed object such as another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other geographical or architectural object. When involved in an accident:

  • The Van Operator is to stop their vehicle immediately and put on their emergency flashers.
  • The Van Operator is to check if anyone is injured.
  • The Van Operator is to notify dispatch or the supervisor on duty by radio or phone immediately. Give dispatch or the supervisor the following information: location, whether or not there are injuries and if an ambulance is needed.
  • The Van Operator is to secure the accident scene and put out reflective triangles. They are not to move their vehicle until told to by the police or a supervisor.
  • The Van Operator is to obtain the following information about the other driver and vehicle as soon as possible: driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license identification number, insurance company name and policy number, vehicle license plate number and state, vehicle make, model, year and registration number.
  • The Van Operator may give the following information to the other driver: their name, driver’s license identification number, our insurance code number, our agency’s number (763-4464), and the year, make and model of the vehicle. The Van Operator is not to make any admissions of guilt or discuss responsibility with anyone at the scene, other than a supervisor, the County Attorney or a representative for the Broome County Office of Risk and Insurance. If media are present, the Van Operator is to tell them the accident is under investigation, a supervisor will be available for questions when they get to the scene.
  • The Van Operator is to distribute courtesy cards to everyone in their vehicle first and to anyone at the scene who may have seen the accident.
  • The Van Operator is not to leave the scene until they are released by the police or a supervisor.
  • The Van Operator is required to fill out an accident report as soon as possible, but no later than the next business day by 5:00 pm close of business.
  • Remember, no matter how small the accident, the Van Operator must report it to dispatch or a supervisor immediately. Dispatch or the supervisor will direct the Van Operator how to proceed.
  • The Van Operator is never to leave the scene until a supervisor has given them permission to do so.

3.2 DRIVER FIRE INSTRUCTIONS

When involved in a fire:

  • The Van Operator is to stop their vehicle immediately (in a safe location) and put on their emergency flashers.
  • The Van Operator is to check if anyone is injured and the extent of the fire.
  • The Van Operator is to contact the on-duty supervisor by radio or phone and advise them of the situation. Give the supervisor the following information: location, whether or not there are injuries and if the fire department and/or ambulance is needed.
  • The Van Operator is then to evacuate all passengers from the vehicle to a safe location.
  • If able do so, the Van Operator may attempt to extinguish the fire with the on board fire extinguisher.
  • The Van Operator is never to leave the scene until a supervisor has given them permission to do so.
  • The Van Operator is required to fill out an accident report as soon as possible, but no later than the next business day by 5:00 pm close of business.

3.3 DRIVER TRAINING

  • All new Van Operators hired by this agency or a vendor must completed a training program within two weeks of hire.
  • Training will be provided by BC Transit.
  • Continuous training will be provided to all Van Operators on operational issues, safety and policy and procedures. Training will be provided by BC Transit and no more than three classes will be held per year.
  • Remedial training will be provided to any Van Operator as needed. Training will be provided by BC Transit.
  • Once every two years BC Transit provides all Van Operators training through the National Safety Council’s six-hour Defensive Driving Training Course.

SECTION 4 - HEALTH INCIDENT PROCEDURES

4.1 BLOOD BORNE PATHEGENS

  • Whenever a Van Operator has a passenger injury that results in the release of blood on their vehicle, they are to immediately notify dispatch or supervisor.
  • The Van Operator is to give their location and a brief description of the problem and amount of blood.
  • If needed, an ambulance will be sent to the location.
  • The Van Operator’s vehicle will be replaced and the maintenance staff will take the soiled vehicle to clean up the blood. In the event that there is no other vehicle to replace the soiled one, maintenance or a supervisor will come to the vehicle and clean up the blood spill.
  • The Van Operator will not attempt to clean up blood. If the Van Operator has access to paper towels, the paper towel may be placed over the blood spill.
  • The Van Operator is not to come into contact with the blood.
  • The Van Operator is not to let passengers step on the blood spill. They must wait for maintenance or a supervisor to clean up the spill before allowing passengers to board or alight from the vehicle.
  • From the first aid kit on the vehicle, the Van Operator should offer bandages or gauze pads to the injured passenger, for them to apply to help stop the bleeding. The Van Operator is not to attempt to apply any bandages themselves.
  • The Van Operator is not to allow a customer to board their vehicle if that person is bleeding. The Van Operator is to call dispatch if they are not sure about boarding that individual.
  • Van Operators are to complete an incident report within the given time frame.

4.2 ILL PASSENGERS

Should a person become ill on the bus or demonstrate other behavior or actions posing a potential medical emergency, Van Operators are to do as follows:

  • Assess the situation – look for signs that medical attention may be warranted. The Van Operator may safely pull the bus to the side of the road to ask the person if they need medical attention. If the Van Operator finds that immediate medical attention is needed, they are to contact dispatch or the on-duty supervisor and advise them of the situation and their location and to have them call 911.
  • Should emergency services be needed, the Van Operator is to wait patiently for the emergency medical staff to take the person off the bus before proceeding. Once the ill passenger is off the bus, the Van Operator is to then contact dispatch or the on-duty supervisor for further instruction.
  • Van Operators are to complete an incident report within the given time frame.

4.3 INTOXICATED PASSENGERS

Van Operators are to transport passengers who are under the influence of medication, alcohol or who appear to be in an altered state as long as they abide by the BC Transit rules of passenger conduct. If the passenger becomes belligerent or non-responsive, the Van Operator is to safely pull the bus to the side of the road and contact dispatch or the on-duty supervisor for further instructions. Van Operators are to complete an incident report within the given time frame.

4.4 BODILY FLUIDS

Stool, blood and other bodily fluids may contain pathogens or harbor disease potentially posing a health hazard for other passengers and the coach operator. Operators are to make efforts to assess these risks prior to boarding passenger(s). Should a van operator observe any signs of stool, blood, or other bodily fluids prior to a passenger boarding that operator may deny that passenger a ride due to health hazard(s). If a passenger releases stool, blood or other bodily fluids after being boarded, the driver is to assess the situation, instruct other passengers to stay away from the health hazard and contact the on-duty supervisor. The on-duty supervisor will either send maintenance to clean the bio-hazard or deliver another bus.

SECTION 5 - BC TRANSIT FACILITY ACCESS SECURITY POLICY

5.1 BC TRANSIT FACILITY

The scope and purpose of this policy is to safeguard the well being of all BC Transit personnel and property.

The BC Transit facility and its grounds are closed to the public at all times except for business conducted through the Administrative offices during their normal hours of operation.

At any such time the Administrative offices are closed no unauthorized person(s) shall gain access to the property or the buildings located at 413 Old Mill Road, Vestal NY at any time.

There are no exceptions.

An authorized person is one who currently is employed by BC Transit and is on-duty, on-call, or otherwise has a legitimate gainful purpose to be here.

Additionally, vendor representatives, delivery services, or other contracted entities with legitimate business to conduct on the premises are considered authorized when granted appropriate access at appropriate times. Unsolicited sales calls are not considered authorized.

If on-duty personnel become aware of or are approached by any unauthorized person(s) on the property they are hereby directed to immediately:

  • Make clear notification to the person(s) that they must leave the property.
  • Notify the first on-duty or on-call supervisor available.

In the event the person(s) in question appears belligerent, threatening, or non-responsive to legitimate direction to leave the facility and its grounds, Broome Security, Vestal Police, Broome County Sheriff, NYS Troopers, or 911 may be contacted at any time to alert authorities of a need for immediate assistance.

On-duty maintenance personnel are further directed to secure the building except for the driver’s entry door during any evening, weekend or holiday operations that leave the property unattended by maintenance personnel for any period of time.

5.2 GREATER BINGHAMTON TRANSPORTATION CENTER

BC Transit also operates the Greater Binghamton Transportation Center located at 81 Chenango St., Binghamton NY. The Greater Binghamton Transportation Center is the main transfer point for our fixed route operations. This facility doors are open to the public seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 6:00 am to 9:45 pm, Friday from 6:00am to 10:45am, Saturday from 6:00am to 9:45am and Sunday from 6am to 10:45pm. Located at the Greater Binghamton Transportation Center is the BC Transit Junction Office. Hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Also located at the transportation center are offices for Broome County Security, Greyhound and Coach USA. Information regarding Greyhound may be obtained by calling 607-723-2325. Information regarding Coach USA may be obtained by calling 607-722-7553.

BC Transit has put into effect the following passenger behavior guidelines for the transportation center:

  • No smoking.
  • No spitting.
  • No unruly, disruptive, unsafe or inappropriate behavior.
  • No gambling.
  • No foul language.
  • No soliciting or loitering of any kind.
  • No vandalism or destruction of property, County or otherwise.
  • Passengers must be fully clothed, meaning at least a torso-covering shirt, shorts, pants, or a dress, sandals, sneakers, or some other kind of footwear. No one will be allowed to ride shirtless, pantless, shoeless or dressed so as to reveal body parts so as to be offensive to other passengers or the Coach Operator.
  • No riding of bicycles.
  • No pets unless confined to a pet carrier.

Please report any suspicious activity or unattended packages or bags to Broome County Security, BC Transit, Greyhound or Coach USA personnel.