Paratransit & Transit Accessibility
Paratransit services are special transportation services for people with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route public transportation for some or all of their mobility needs.
In addition to paratransit services, area transportation systems also make their fixed-route services as accessible as possible, and offer discounted fares to people with disabilities.
Many people with disabilities can ride fixed-route bus and rail public transportation services for some or all trips. Many local transit systems have low-floor buses, accessible bus stops, drivers who are trained to transport people with disabilities In addition to paratransit services, area transportation systems also make their fixed-route services as accessible as possible, and offer discounted fares to people with disabilities. Individuals certified for MetroAccess and displaying a MetroAccess ID can ride most of the area’s public transit services without charge.
Free comprehensive, individual instruction is available to teach people with disabilities how to independently use public transit.
- In Northern Virginia, contact the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia.
- Residents of Montgomery & Prince Georges Counties should contact Independence Now.
- District of Columbia residents should contact MTM’s On the Move program.
Reach A Ride connects individuals with special transportation needs with transportation options for in the National Capital Region. Reach A Ride is a service of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The Metro system is the Washington, DC area's regional bus and rail system operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The system is considered one of the most accessible transit systems in the world. All Metrobuses are either low floor ramp or lift equipped. All Metrorail stations and rail cars are accessible.
Discounted Fares, Metro ID Card, and Senior SmarTrip Card
Metro offers discounted fares for seniors and persons with disabilities. Those with a Metro Disability ID card can ride without charge.
To purchase discounted fares, persons with disabilities under the age of 65 must have a Metro Disability ID card and a Reduced Fare SmarTrip Card. The Metro Disability ID card and Reduced Fare SmarTrip Card are also honored by many local bus systems that offer discounted fares to persons with disabilities.
Senior citizens 65 or older (with disabilities or not) do not need the Metro ID card, just a valid government-issued photo ID that includes date of birth and address. Senior citizens may purchase the Senior SmarTrip Card, which automatically deducts discounted fares. SmarTrip cards are required for any rider desiring a free bus to bus transfer within two hours, or a discount transferring between buses and Metrorail. SmarTrip cards are accepted on Metrobus and every local transit system in the metropolitan area and MTA bus and light rail services in Baltimore.
WMATA also operates MetroAccess, a shared ride, door-to-door paratransit service for people who cannot use public transportation for some or all trips due to a disability. MetroAccess service is the regional paratransit system established under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. MetroAccess is available throughout the WMATA service area in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery & Prince Georges Counties in Maryland. To qualify for MetroAccess service, you must complete an application. For more information, see WMATA's MetroAccess page.
The DC Circulator provides local bus service in the District of Columbia, supplementing the regional Metro bus and rail system. All Circulator buses are low-floor vehicles equipped with wheelchair ramps and have priority seating. The Circulator offers discounted fares for customers 65 years of age and older and persons with disabilities.
ART and STAR
ART-Arlington Transit provides bus services in Arlington County, supplementing the regional Metro bus and rail system. All ART buses are low-floor vehicles equipped with wheelchair ramps and have priority seating.
ART offers discounted fares for customers 65 years of age and older and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities under the age of 65 must have a Metro ID card to pay a discounted cash fare.. Senior citizens 65 or older do not need the Metro ID card, just a valid government-issued photo ID that includes date of birth and address. Senior citizens may purchase the Senior SmarTrip Card, which automatically deducts discounted fares. ART accepts SmarTrip. For more information, see ART's Fares page.
STAR - Specialized Transit for Arlington Residents is Arlington's pre-arranged reserved trip paratransit service. STAR is part of the ART system.
STAR serves Arlington residents who have difficulty using fixed-route bus services because of a disability. Basic STAR services are intended to provide a comparable level of transportation as provided by ART, Metrobus and Metrorail.
Super Senior Taxi
Super Senior Taxi offers discounted taxicab coupon booklets to seniors 70 years of age and older.
City of Alexandria
The Alexandria Transit Company's DASH system provides safe and reliable bus service within the City of Alexandria and connects with Metrobus, Metrorail, Virginia Railway Express, and the Fairfax Connector. DASH serves all Metrorail stations within the City of Alexandria and Pentagon station. All DASH buses are wheelchair accessible.
The City of Alexandria Department of Transportation also sponsors a curb-to-curb transportation service for persons with disabilities who cannot use the fixed route service. TDD is available for the hearing impaired through Virginia Relay at 1-800-828-1120.
The City of Alexandria Office of Aging and Adult Services also provides special transportation services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Fairfax Connector offers discounted fares for customers 65 years of age and older and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities under the age of 65 must have a Metro ID card. Senior citizens 65 or older do not need the Metro ID card, just a valid government-issued photo ID that includes date of birth and address. Senior citizens may purchase the Senior SmarTrip Card, which automatically deducts discounted fares. Fairfax Connector accepts SmarTrip. All Reston/Herndon area Fairfax Connector buses, including RIBS — The Reston Internal Bus System, are wheelchair lift-equipped.
Fairfax County Taxi Voucher Program provides discounted taxi vouchers for eligible residents of Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. Eligible residents include participants in the Seniors On-The-Go, TaxiAccess, and Dial-A-Ride programs.
City of Fairfax City Wheels provides alternative transportation within the City of Fairfax, to George Mason University, to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metrorail Station, and to Fair Oaks Hospital for city residents who have disabilities and find it difficult or impossible to use conventional bus service. Service is provided through private taxicabs.
City of Falls Church Fare Wheels uses private taxicabs and lift-equipped vehicles to provide rides to qualified city residents.
Fredericksburg Regional Transit – FRED
To serve those who may have difficulty getting to fixed bus stops, FRED will make modest deviations off its regular routes to provide curb-side service to its customers. For more information, go to Fred's website, click on General Info, and scroll down to Route Deviation Service.
Loudoun County Transit
The Loudoun County-sponsored system of commuter buses provides weekday bus service to Washington DC, Pentagon, Rosslyn and West Falls Church Metro from stops in Purcellville, Hamilton, Leesburg, Sterling, Dulles South, Cascades, and Lowes Island. The buses are operated by Veolia Transportation. All buses are wheelchair accessible.
OmniRide and OmniLink
Omniride is a weekday commuter bus service operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). Omniride provides service from locations throughout Prince William County along the I-95 corridor and Manassas and Gainesville areas along the I-66 corridor to destinations in the Washington, D.C. area.
OmniLink is PRTC's local weekday bus service in Eastern Prince William County and the Manassas area. It was designed to meet the transportation needs of the entire community, including individuals who may have difficulty walking to established bus stops. In addition to serving designated bus stops, OmniLink buses can leave the route to pick up or drop off passengers at locations up to 3/4 mile off the route when there is time available in the schedule.
All OmniLink and most OmniRide buses are wheelchair-accessible and all have designated priority seating. Wheelchair passengers can board buses at any regular stop. For OmniLink local buses, passengers may call ahead to arrange off-route service at locations up to three-quarters of a mile off a standard route. Even when boarding at a regular bus stop, customers should call in advance, as each bus can only accommodate two wheelchairs.
For more information about accessibility and PRTC services, see PRTC's Accessibility page.
Virginia Regional Transit
Virginia Regional Transit is based in Purcellville, Virginia and serves fifteen different jurisdictions, including Loudoun, Fauquier, Culpeper, Orange, Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Page, Augusta, and Highland.
Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)
MTA operates MARC commuter rail between points in Maryland and West Virginia and Washington, DC, commuter bus service between points in Maryland and Washington, DC, and local bus and light rail service in Baltimore.
MTA is committed to providing a public transit system that everyone can use. For information about accessibility and MTA, see the list of accessibility topics on MTA's website.
Calvert County Government Transportation Services serves the transportation needs of the general public as well as the elderly and persons with disabilities. The county provides a deviated fixed route system Monday through Saturday to link residents with major shopping, medical, and employment, as well as with public services available in Prince Frederick.
Central Maryland Regional Transportation Agency (RTA)
The Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) is an organization made up of multiple jurisdictions that have come together to establish a more effective and efficient public transportation and paratransit system across Central Maryland. Service areas currently include Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Northern Prince George’s County and the City of Laurel.
Ride On is Montgomery County's local bus system. Ride On buses are wheelchair accessible, and the county offers free rides on Ride On and Metro buses with a valid senior ID card. The county's Call 'N' Ride program provides subsidized taxi trips for low-income persons with disabilities and seniors. Montgomery County also participates in MetroAccess, the DC area's regional paratransit system.
For more information, see the "Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities" page on Montgomery County's site.
Prince George's County
TheBus is Prince George's County's weekday local bus service. The Bus provides free rides to seniors (60+) and persons with disabilities.
Call-A-Bus is a demand response curb-to-curb service. Service is available to all residents of Prince George's County who are not served by or cannot use existing bus or rail services. However, priority is given to senior and disabled persons. Disabled persons must provide their own escort if needed. Service animals are allowed for the visually impaired.
Call-A-Cab is a transportation assistance program that provides mobility at a reduced cost for senior (age 55 and over) and/or disabled County residents. This program allows eligible residents to purchase coupon books that can be used to pay for rides with participating cab companies when Metrobus, Metrorail, and/or Call-A-Bus are not available.
WMATA Accessibility page - More information about Metro system accessibility
Accessible Taxicabs: Many area taxicab companies offer accessible taxicabs on request for people who require mobility aids such as wheelchairs or scooters. Links to area taxicab companies are available on the Taxicabs page.