Eligibility for Paratransit Service

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) [Section 37.123(e) (1) of the ADA regulations], defines the following three categories for eligibility:

Category 1

"Any individual with a disability who is unable, as a result of a physical or mental impairment (including a vision impairment), and without the assistance of another individual (except the operator of a wheelchair lift or other boarding assistance device), to board, ride, or disembark from any vehicle on the system which is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities."

Category 2

This category applies to individuals who would be able to use the local fixed route system if it were accessible (e.g., if an accessible bus is not available).

Category 3

"Any individual with a disability who has a specific impairment-related condition which prevents such individual from traveling to a boarding location or from a disembarking location on such system" Two important qualifiers to this category are included in the regulations. First, environmental conditions and architectural barriers not under the control of the public entity do not, when considered alone, confer eligibility. Inconvenience in using the local fixed-route bus system is not a basis for eligibility.

Types of Eligibility

The Access-a-Ride service area corresponds with local non-commuter fixed-route bus/light rail station service on weekdays, evenings and weekends. The service area covers locations that are within three-fourths (3/4) of a mile of RTD’s non-commuter bus routes and light rail stations. There is no service outside of the RTD fixed route service area boundary.

Each applicant's situation is carefully considered when applying for Access-a-Ride service. Customers may appeal their eligibility determination within 60 days of the receipt of the determination letter, which outlines the process for appeal. Customers wishing to appeal their determination beyond the 60 day time frame are encouraged to complete and resubmit a new application.

An applicant may be eligible for any of the following types of service:


Full service for four (4) years.


Service is limited by the expected duration of the disabling condition that will prevent use of RTD fixed route/light rail. Individuals with temporary effects of surgery, undergoing treatment for a disabling condition, or recovering from more debilitating conditions that are not yet stabilized (such as stroke) may be provided with temporary eligibility while such limitations of functional ability are in place.


Service for four (4) years subject to specific conditions in the following categories:

  1. Path of travel limitations
  2. Impairment related limitations
  3. Environmental barriers

For a full list of these conditional types for eligibility see our Customer Guide.

Visitor Eligibility

As required by ADA regulation [Section 37.127], an individual visiting RTD service area may qualify for Access-a-Ride paratransit services “for any combination of 21 days during any 365- day period beginning with the visitor’s first use of the service during such 365 -day period”.

Visitors with paratransit eligibility in their city of residence can have the transit agency in that jurisdiction forward documentation of that eligibility to Access-a-Ride via fax at 303-299-2169. Visitor status cannot be renewed until the full 365-day period has elapsed.

Information on appeals for eligibility can be found here.

More Information

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