Paratransit Problems

The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the Maryland Transit Administration’s MobilityLink/Paratransit Program after disability advocacy groups submitted a formal complaint. Passengers in Maryland say issues have plagued the state’s paratransit program.

The Department of Justice issued a report of findings to the Maryland Transit Administration. Among the findings are that the agency’s MobilityLink/Paratransit service violates the ADA by failing to provide paratransit services comparable to the level of designated public transportation services provided to those without disabilities using the fixed route system.

The letter also particularly mentions the MTA illegally subjecting consumers to late pickups and drop-offs as well as excessive delays for telephone reservation assistance.

Struggles with public transportation are not uncommon for disabled people. In Boston, Massachusetts, riders say that the paratransit system is also plagued with problems. Every year, the paratransit service is late thousands of times. In 2019, 8% of The Ride’s trips were canceled or arrived late. By 2021 that percentage had risen to 14%, with Ride drivers missing about 17,000 trips and being late for an additional 89,000.

Vera Perez Santiago, a Florence, Massachusetts resident, uses PVTA paratransit to travel to her job as a substitute teacher in Holyoke. She was picked up two hours after work and dropped off an hour before her shift started in 2018.

In Canada, paratransit riders in Silver Lake, AB face these same challenges. Chris Ryan was thrilled to receive a job offer in Sylvan Lake AB. It was especially exciting to receive an offer during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, Ryan discovered transportation would be difficult. Ryan uses a wheelchair and requires accessible transportation.

Getting on-time, on-demand accessible transportation would require a $120 roundtrip surcharge. When Ryan lived in Edmonton his options weren’t any better. The service often would drop him off early or pick him up late.

Edmonton’s Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS) offers door-to-door, shared public transit for residents who can’t use the regular transit services because of physical or cognitive disabilities. Trips are scheduled in advance and are suppose to arrive within a 30-minute pickup window. That window, according to the city, is in alignment with industry standards when compared to similar municipalities.

For disabled people who are unable to drive, paratransit can be a lifeline. People utilize the service to get to work, family gatherings and other events. Disabled people should be able to access their communities. Accessible transportation allows them to do so.


Christensen, Dusty. “’Transportation Is Not a Luxury’: Paratransit Riders Air Frustrations” Daily Hampshire Gazette, 25 Oct. 2018,

Curran, Kathy, and Jon Wells. “MBTA’s Paratransit Service ‘the Ride’ Plagued by Late, Missed Trips.” WCVB, 18 Feb. 2022,

Glaze, Alex. “MTA’s MobilityLink/Paratransit Program Investigated after Disability Groups File Complaint.” CBS News, 30 July 2023,

Labine, Jeff. “‘It Is Never on Time’: City Looking for Ways to Improve Paratransit Service.” The Edmonton Journal ,, 14 Nov. 2019,

Ryan , Chris. “Opinion | There’s No Getting around – Alberta’s Lack of Accessibility Law Is My Ballot Box Issue .” CBCnews, 6 Apr. 2023,

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