Pace was the first transit agency in northeastern Illinois and the second in the state to achieve a fully accessible fixed route bus fleet. Accessible public transportation ensures that people with disabilities have, by riding Pace fixed route bus service, equal access in their pursuit of personal, educational and professional ambitions and to participate fully in public life. Public transportation, public spaces and communications are now more accessible than ever.
Accessible Fixed Route Service
Pace's accessible service includes:
- A fully accessible fixed route bus fleet.
- Buses that "kneel" and are equipped with ramps for accessible boarding.
- Buses that have designated priority seating areas for people with disabilities and older adults, as well as wheelchair securement areas. Bus operators will assist riders with disabilities to board and exit vehicles, and will assist with securing wheelchairs and other mobility devices, if needed.
- Buses that have automated audio and visual route identification and stop announcements.
- A passenger amenities program that provides for the ability to install new accessible boarding areas, new fully accessible bus stop shelters, as well as retrofitting old shelters for accessibility.
- ADA Paratransit service, which includes both the Pace and CTA service areas, covers the largest geographic area in the U.S.
The Regional Transportation Authority is committed to assuring that riders in our region - regardless of income, age or physical ability - have access to and understand how to use the region's transit system. Accessibility features are offered throughout the RTA region's transit system. In a series of educational videos, you can learn about all the accessibility features found on Pace buses, CTA buses and "L" trains and Metra trains.
Pace provides passenger assistance cards for passengers that may need assistance to communicate unique requirements to Pace bus operators. You can download and print that card here.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires using the public address system (PA) to announce stops and routes. On routes that have been converted to posted-stops-only every upcoming bus stop is announced audibly and visually by the automated system. On other routes, all Pace operators announce route numbers, transfer points, and major intersections, as well as any requested stops.
- Reduced Fares
Passengers who are eligible for ADA Paratransit Services are automatically eligible to use Pace fixed route services at a reduced fare. For passengers who travel with an attendant, the attendant will also be eligible for the reduced fare for accompanied trips on fixed route services. In both cases, the ADA Paratransit Services ID card or RTA Reduced Fare permit must be shown to the operator.
The RTA Reduced Fare Permit enables Seniors 65 and older, people with disabilities and individuals with a valid Medicare card to ride RTA services at a reduced rate. For information on how to apply for an RTA Reduced Fare Permit, visit RTA or call 836-7000 (all area codes) or 1-800-439-2202 (TTY).
- Handling Fares or Fare Cards
Operators may assist with fares or fare cards for passengers with disabilities upon request. Please have your exact fare ready and in a convenient location if assistance is needed when boarding the bus. Operators cannot make change.
Boarding / Alighting
- Passengers who use mobile assistive devices will be boarded and alighted prior to boarding and alighting other passengers.
- Operators will assist passengers boarding and alighting upon request.
- Operators will kneel (lower) the bus, or deploy the ramp or lift at bus stops, if requested.
- Extra caution and assistance may be required at locations where there is no curb on which to deploy the ramp or where the stop or pathway is inaccessible.
If there is a lift failure or service interruption and the next bus is scheduled to arrive within thirty (30) minutes, a back-up van is optional. If the wait is over thirty (30) minutes, a back-up lift- or ramp-equipped vehicle will be dispatched. In all cases, the operator is required to contact the dispatcher and wait until the dispatcher's instructions have been relayed to the waiting passenger.
In the event of an emergency involving Pace fixed route service, please call the Pace or contractor's garage that operates the service first. The garage phone number is on the printed schedule or on Pace's website. If you are unable to reach the garage or require TTY, call the RTA Travel Information Center at: 836-7000 (voice, any local area code), or 1-800-439-2202 (TTY). Ask to speak to a supervisor, who will contact Pace emergency staff.
Operators have been trained in the proper use of the securement systems. Optional lap belts and shoulder harnesses will be offered for your use. If you have concerns regarding the securement of your mobile assistive device, please contact Pace Customer Relations at 847-364-PACE(7223).
Priority Seating/Securement Area
A priority seating area is designated at the front of the bus for seniors and riders with disabilities. A designated seating area is also available on the bus for users of mobile assistive devices. If other passengers are using these seats, please let the operator know and the operator will politely ask them to move.
Persons with disabilities who use service animals are allowed to board with their service animals. A service animal is an animal that has been individually trained to assist a person with a disability.
NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED ON THE BUS.
With the exception of passengers who may require water or a snack for health reasons, no eating or drinking is allowed on the bus.
Alternatives to Accessible Fixed Route
If a person's disability prevents him/her from using fixed route bus service, there are other options for you. Pace offers On Demand, dial-a-ride, and ADA paratransit options as well. While the On Demand services are open to anyone for trips within the 10 zones, eligibility for dial-a-ride services is set by each of Pace's funding partners. Only those who have been certified by RTA are eligible for ADA paratransit service. Riders and their loved ones can rest assured that Pace excels in the provision of these reservation-based services. In 2015, Pace received a perfect score from the Federal Transit Administration in an enhanced review of Pace's ADA Paratransit policies and operations.