The following is a press release from the MBTA.
BOSTON – The MBTA today, April 24, announced that the RIDE paratransit service will temporarily allow customers to book trips for their personal care attendants (PCAs) in an effort to best support their ADA-eligible customers during the COVID-19 situation.
This update was made in consultation with The Riders’ Transportation Access Group (R-TAG).
“This change will allow the MBTA to maintain a vital link between RIDE customers and their PCAs,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “As we actively monitor the COVID-19 situation, we will continue to make necessary service changes that meet the travel needs of both those who are essential to combating this virus, and, where we can, the needs of those who are the most vulnerable among us.”
A PCA is defined as an individual that provides assistance in performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs include, but are not limited to, mobility, bathing/grooming, dressing/undressing, passive range-of-motion exercises, taking medications, eating, and toileting.
Allowing these bookings ensures that RIDE customers continue to receive the same level of daily support they need to live independent and safe lives.
This update is in addition to other temporary RIDE measures already in effect meant to protect the health and safety of T workers and customers, and preserve services for those who must travel for essential purposes.
Other temporary RIDE updates include the elimination of shared RIDE trips, temporarily extending RIDE eligibility and postponing eligibility appointments, adjustments to booking windows, updates to subscriptions, and a reduction in transfer trips.
More information on these temporary updates can be found at mbta.com/theride.
In order to book travel for their PCA, RIDE customers should call the RIDE Access Center (TRAC) at 844-427-7433 and inform the agent that the trip is for their PCA. RIDE customers will need to provide the PCA’s name, address, and service needs. PCA trips may only be to or from the RIDE customer’s home address. RIDE customers can pay for the PCA trip out of the RIDE customer’s account with PCAs also able to deposit funds into a RIDE customer’s account by calling 888-844-0355. The cost of the PCA trip is equal to traditional RIDE fares. Customers will receive their night-prior call back from the RIDE and customers should let their PCAs know of their pick-up time. Arrival notifications will also go to the customer’s phone number.
RIDE service for customer trips will remain the priority.
As such, trips for PCAs will be fulfilled only as capacity allows.
Enhanced Cleaning, Disinfecting, and More:
The MBTA continues to discourage all non-essential travel. In addition to encouraging good hygiene practices and social distancing, the MBTA is continuing its enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, which includes:
- Rear-door boarding on all MBTA buses and trolleys at street-level stops on the Green Line and Mattapan Line as well as the installation of removable barriers on vehicles in support of social distancing efforts to protect the health and safety of the MBTA’s workforce and customers. Anyone needing to use the front door, including seniors and people with disabilities, may continue to do so.
- Disinfecting all fleet vehicles – buses, trolleys, subway cars, Commuter Rail coaches, and RIDE vehicles – every 24 hours, and protocols to clean and disinfect all high-contact surfaces on buses during mid-day layover periods.
- Cleaning all high-contact surfaces such as handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines in subway stations once every 4 hours.
The MBTA continues to follow guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, with the MBTA encouraging its riders and the public to:
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds;
- Practice social distancing;
- Cover your face when in public;
- Cover coughs and sneezes;
- Stay home if sick;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Clean areas that are frequently touched with sanitizing spray or wipes.