RTA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

 The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), CTA, Metra and Pace join the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law, signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, ensures the civil rights of people with disabilities. The legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and has expanded opportunities for people with disabilities including the provision of accessible public transportation services that help to eliminate barriers and enable full participation in community life. 

A primary goal of the ADA is to enable people with disabilities to have equal access to fixed route bus and rail service so that they can fully participate in daily life activities such as work, education, shopping, recreation and other trips.  However, for those individuals whose disabilities prevent them from using the fixed route system, even with accessibility features, federal law requires provision of ADA Paratransit service. 

The RTA manages the ADA Paratransit Certification Program, which determines eligibility for paratransit service operated by Pace throughout the region’s ADA service area.  More than 17,000 applications are received each year and there are more than 62,000 eligible customers across the RTA region. The ADA Paratransit service is an advanced reservation, shared ride, origin-to-destination service for persons who are unable to use the CTA or Pace systems for some or all of their trips because of their disability or health condition.  

Pace is responsible for operating ADA paratransit service throughout the CTA and Pace ADA service areas, which is generally within a three-quarter mile corridor of regular fixed route service.  The service is provided as a “complement” to fixed route service during the same days and hours as regular fixed route service is provided for the general public (excluding routes defined as “commuter” routes with limited stops and schedules).  As a commuter rail system, Metra is not required to provide ADA paratransit service, although it has other requirements to provide accessible rail service under the ADA.

For more information and to apply for ADA Paratransit, please call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357) between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  Applications are available in accessible formats.   The application process includes an in-person interview and assessments to determine eligibility. 

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About the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit.    Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including online and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information, visit www.RTAchicago.org