Persons with disabilities who are able to travel on MATBUS are encouraged to do so and can ride for discount fare, which is 75¢. To receive discount fare, you must show the driver a Medicare card or Special User Card when you board the bus. A 30 day pass is $26 for a person with a Special User Card.
Special User Card
A Special User Card is given to an individual as certification that they are entitled to certain MAT special transportation services. Any conditions that apply to eligibility are also listed on the card. The cards are issued by the Transit Offices for the Cities of Fargo and Moorhead.
Scheduling A Ride
7-1-1 Relay (TDD only)
To reserve a ride. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. All calls must be received by 4:30 p.m. Reservations should be made at least one day prior to when the ride is needed and can be made up to 8 days in advance. Same day reservations will be accommodated as space allows.
Negotiating Your Ride Time
The reservationist will assist you in reserving a pick-up time. Since this is a shared ride service involving multiple passengers at once, the reservationist might not be able to schedule your ride at your requested time.
The reservationist is allowed to negotiate with you an alternative time within an hour before or after your initial requested time to accommodate reservations already made by other passengers. A passenger may ask the reservationist for a confirmation number once the ride has been scheduled.
The following information should be given to the reservationist:
Name of each eligible passenger
If accompanied by a personal care attendant and guest(s)
Pick up and destination addresses
Time you wish to arrive at destination
If driver assistance is required
Sundays And Holidays
The ADA does not require Paratransit service on Sunday because there is no MATBUS fixed route service on Sunday.
Reservations will be taken through an answering machine on Sundays and holidays for next day service only.
To contact Paratransit drivers on Sundays, contact: 701.730.8777 Do not call this number to make reservations.
Scheduling Subscription Rides
If you need to ride regularly at the same time and to the same destination, you may request a subscription reservation. Subscriptions are limited in availability and are determined by MAT Paratransit. If you have a subscription, you will not need to call every week to reserve your rides. You will have to cancel your ride if your plans change.
Subscription rides during peak demand times may be restricted to trips for work, school, meals and medical services. Waiting lists may be established. Consistently canceling your subscription ride may result in losing the reservation.
Scheduling Return Rides
You should make a return reservation at the same time you make your reservation to be picked up for a non-medical ride. Passenger requests to change return pick-up times because they are ready early may be accepted if space is available. The driver is not to make other passengers late or unduly prolong their ride to accommodate an early pick-up. The rider is not to expect that an earlier ride will be provided if they call for an earlier pick-up.
Medical Return Rides
If you are dropped off at a medical appointment and expect to be done before 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, call the reservationist when you are ready to be picked up. If your medical appointment will not end until after 2:00 p.m. a return reservation is necessary. Medical delays are accommodated to the best of our ability when appointments go longer than anticipated.
Cancels, No Shows, and Penalties
If your plans change, you should call to cancel your reservation. Trips must be cancelled at least two hours before your scheduled pick-up time. Otherwise, they will be considered a “No Show” and subject to penalty. If you receive 3 or more no shows in a 30-day period and they equal 10% or more of your total rides in that period, you will face a 1-week suspension of service. Continuous violations of the no show policy will result in longer suspensions. Considerations will be made for disability-related issues or if the driver is more than 15 minutes late to your pickup.
If you are not present and ready to go when the vehicle arrives and the driver waited 5 minutes, your ride is considered a no show. Your pre-scheduled return ride will stay on the schedule unless you call and cancel it. If you are not present for the pre-scheduled return ride, that ride will be considered an additional no show.
The ADA does not require Paratransit service on Sunday because there is no MATBUS fixed route service on Sunday. The Cities of Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, and Dilworth choose to make limited service available during the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for people who are eligible for Paratransit Service.
Paratransit eligible riders who need a lift to enter the vehicle can start making a reservation for Sunday at 8 a.m. the Monday before the ride. Those who do not need a lift can start making a reservation for Sunday at 8 a.m. the Tuesday before the ride.
Cost To Ride
Each passenger and guest must pay a fare.
Exact Fare Required
Drivers do not give change.
$3.00 prepaid coupon (Sold in books of 20 for $60)
Personal care attendants and children under age 7 ride free with an eligible passenger.
Coupon books may be purchased from the driver on your next trip. Coupon books are NOT refundable.
Can I Pay In Advance?
Fares cannot be paid in advance (except through the purchase of coupons) nor billed at a later date. The rider must pay for their ride at the time they ride. It is acceptable to pay for the ride and return ride at the same time.
Each fare is applicable to one complete trip. Once the passenger disembarks from the vehicle, or arrives at a destination, one trip is completed. Upon entering the same or another vehicle again, a new trip commences and the passenger will be required to pay a new fare.
The fare for each one-way trip is $3.00 cash. Exact fare is required; drivers do not have change. Coupons books may be purchased for $60.00 containing 20 ride coupons. Coupon books are available from MAT Paratransit, Metro Transit Garage, 650 23rd Street North, Fargo, ND 58102, or from the MAT Paratransit driver. The driver will collect the payment from the passenger at the time they receive the coupon book. The following conditions apply to coupon book sales: (1) Coupons cannot be redeemed for cash under any circumstances. (2) Lost or stolen books will not be replaced. (3) Coupons are valid only on MAT Paratransit and on Metro Senior Ride.
This fare structure applies to both the eligible individual and their guests. Personal care attendants ride free (refer to Section 5.3 - Personal Care Attendants). Preschool children (under age 7) ride free when accompanied by an eligible adult passenger.
Fares cannot be paid in advance (except through the purchase of coupons) nor billed at a later date. MAT Paratransit does not offer passengers the option of riding on credit. The rider must pay for their ride at the time they ride. If a rider does not have a ticket and is in a location where it would be dangerous to leave them there, the driver is to provide the ride and MAT Paratransit will collect for that ride before the passenger rides again. If the passenger does not pay for the ride given on credit the next time they ride, the rider will be sent an invoice and the passenger will not be able to book another ride until the debt is paid to MAT Paratransit. A rider has the option of paying for their ride and their return ride at the same time. In this instance, the driver with give the passenger a laminated ticket for their return ride.
Upon request, drivers will assist in retrieving the fare payment for passengers who are unable to do this independently because of their disability. However, such assistance will not include the removal of cash/coupons from a purse. Passengers may ask drivers to remove the fare from a special container that is readily available and easily identifiable as containing their fare (such as a zip lock bag).
There are no restrictions or priorities imposed based on trip purpose for rides given by MAT Paratransit, with the exception of subscription rides.
Advance Notice Requirement
Reservations may be made no more than one week prior to when the individual wishes to ride. Reservations should be made at least one day in advance of when the individual wishes to ride. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
Non-medical return reservations must be made at the same time you make your reservation to be picked up.
Medical Returns: Unless requested by the passenger, medical return rides are not booked when the reservation is made. The return trip is listed as a “medical will call” reservation and placed on a waiting list. The rider must contact the Paratransit Reservationist when they want to be picked up from their appointment. Medical returns after 2:00 p.m. will need to be booked in advance due to the proximity to the end of the business day at 4:30 p.m.
Same Day Reservations
To accommodate last minute trip needs, reservations may be made for same-day service as space allows. However, MAT Paratransit does not provide emergency medical services nor do we operate like a taxi service. Same day reservations will not be made after 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday or anytime Saturday and Sunday.
Reservations will be taken during regular office hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reservations are taken on Sundays for Monday service through voicemail. Reservations will be taken on Holidays for next day service if that next day is a regular service day through voicemail. Calls to schedule reservations must be received by 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The on-call Reservationist will check voicemail messages Sundays and holidays after 4:30 PM in order to book rides for next day service. They will confirm with the passenger whether or not the ride was available. If the ride was available and is for early morning before 8 AM, the Reservationist will leave a message on the MAT Paratransit phone line for the GTC Dispatchers, who will need to communicate this new ride to the affected MAT Paratransit driver. The Reservationists shall also check voice mail daily when they arrive so as to record cancellations.
In order to communicate between the passengers and MAT Paratransit drivers during service hours but after office hours, MAT Paratransit calls will be forwarded to the GTC (Ground Transportation Center) dispatchers. Cancellations and other emergencies, such as accidents, buses arriving late, passenger waiting at the wrong door, etc. can be communicated through GTC dispatch to drivers via radio. GTC dispatchers are NOT to make reservations for MAT Paratransit service. They may adjust scheduled rides due to cancellations, no shows and early pick-ups if space is available. More detailed policies are contained in the document “Instructions for GTC Dispatchers, MAT Paratransit Cancellations after Regular Office Hours.”
MAT Paratransit trips will be coordinated to carry as many passengers as possible as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.
When the reservation call is made, the reservationist will negotiate a pick-up time with the rider. If there is a similar trip origin/destination at an earlier or later time, the reservationist will suggest this time to the individual. Changes in requested departure times of up to one hour can be required in order to make scheduling more efficient.
The following information will be requested by the reservationist when you make the reservation:
• Name of each eligible passenger
• If a guest or guests will be accompanying the passenger
• If personal care attendant will be accompanying the passenger
• If passenger assistance by the driver is needed
• Pick up address (specify which entrance)
• Destination address (specify which entrance)
• Time you need to arrive at destination
• Pick-up time (as negotiated with reservationist)
• Return time (if applicable)
• Trip Purpose (only for subscription rides)
• Name of person making reservation (if other than eligible passenger) and phone number.
A passenger may ask the reservationist for a confirmation number or booking ID once the ride has been scheduled.
Passengers are requested to be courteous to other passengers who may need a ride; don't over-schedule rides and then cancel them with short notice. Penalties are imposed for late cancellations and no shows (Refer to Sections 6.1 and 6.2)
Making multiple reservations then canceling or rescheduling them within several days is disruptive to service and not encouraged.
If there is a change in home address, the reservationist shall update their records including the special user card database and the scheduling software. The reservationist will refer new or temporary passengers to the Mobility Manager for approval of eligibility prior to scheduling rides.
Early Pickups For Scheduled Rides
Passenger requests to change return pick-up times because they are ready early may be accepted if space is available. The driver is not to make other passengers late or unduly prolong their ride to accommodate an early pick-up. The rider is not to expect that an earlier ride will be provided if they call for an earlier pick-up. Repeatedly calling the dispatcher or reservationist during a short period of time inquiring about their ride is disruptive to service and not encouraged.
Rides must be cancelled at least two hours prior to the scheduled pick-up time, otherwise the ride will be considered a no-show and be subject to penalties (refer to Section 6.2 - Penalties Imposed for No-Shows). Please be courteous to others who may need a ride and call in your cancellation as soon as possible.
If the rider is not present and ready to go when the vehicle arrives and the driver waited 5 minutes, the ride is considered a no-show. The prescheduled return ride will stay on the schedule unless the rider calls to cancel it. If the rider is not present for the prescheduled return ride, that ride will be considered an additional no-show.
The reservationist's clock is the correct time for determining lateness of cancellations. To take differences in clocks into consideration, an individual may cancel up to five minutes late (one hour and 55 minutes before their scheduled ride) and still be considered on time.
Penalties Imposed for "No Shows"
If a rider does not appear for a scheduled trip or did not cancel the ride at least two hours prior to the scheduled trip, that rider is considered a no-show.
No-shows take up a trip that might have been filled by another passenger and may reduce the number of passengers that can be provided service. Therefore, no-shows are considered to be detrimental to transit service and penalties are imposed as follows:
A no-show occurs when a customer does not appear within five minutes of the vehicle’s arrival within the 15-minute window before or after their scheduled pick up time. For instance, if a customer schedules a ride at 2 p.m., they can be picked up anytime between 1:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. If the vehicle arrives at 1:50 p.m., the customer has until 1:55 p.m. to appear without being documented as a No-Show. Each No-Show is documented and counted as one (1) penalty point.
A “Late Cancellation” occurs when a customer cancels a trip less than two hours before the scheduled pick up time. For instance, if a customer schedules a ride at 10 a.m., they may cancel their ride up until 8 a.m. without being documented as a Late Cancellation. Each Late Cancellation is documented, treated as a No-Show, and counted as one (1) penalty point.
Any 30-day period that a customer has “no-showed” or “late cancelled” at least 10% of their scheduled trips, he/she will become eligible for suspension. To ensure suspension of only those customers that have an established pattern or practice of scheduling trips then not taking them, a customer will have to accumulate three or more penalty points to receive a suspension. A customer will be subject to suspension only if both the 10% minimum and the minimum number of penalty points are reached during the 30-day period.
The length of a customer’s suspension will adhere to the following schedule:
• First violation: 7-day (1-week) suspension
• Second violation: 14-day (2-week) suspension
• Third violation: 21-day (3-week) suspension (Loss of Subscription)
• Fourth and all subsequent violations: 28-day (4-week) suspension (Loss of Subscription)
No-Shows and Late Cancellations due to a MAT Paratransit error will not be counted nor will the customer receive penalty points. Upon a customer’s first No-Show or Late Cancellation in the calendar year, a warning letter will be sent. No further warnings will be issued.
Violations of this policy will result in suspension per the above schedule. If a customer No-Shows or Late Cancels because of circumstances beyond their control, they may call the MAT Paratransit Mobility Manager at 701-476-5967 to explain the circumstance and request the review and/or removal of the No-Show or Late Cancellation. Such circumstances include sudden illness, family emergencies, and medical appointments that run longer than expected as well as circumstances due to the individual’s disability and beyond their control.
A trip cancelled in accordance with our policy (i.e. more than two hours before the start of the pick-up window) will not be counted in the total number of trips booked, nor will it receive penalty points. Customers may cancel their trip in advance by contacting the MAT Paratransit reservationists at 701-235-4464.
Subsequent trips after a no-show scheduled for the same day will NOT automatically be cancelled and will need to be cancelled by the customer if they do not intend to take them. If they are not cancelled by the customer and the customer No-Shows, these trips will be counted in the total number of No-Shows and Late Cancellations for the 30-day period and appropriate penalty points will be assessed.
MAT Paratransit will notify riders of all suspensions by sending a written letter at least two weeks in advance. The letter will identify the points assessed to their record that lead to the suspension. No-Shows or Late Cancellations must be disputed within 30 days from the date in which they occur. Prior to sending a suspension letter, MAT Paratransit will review all No-Shows and Late Cancellations to ensure that the process was followed properly and an accurate count is represented. Any No-Show or Late Cancellation that is found to be in error will be removed from the customer’s account.
Appeals Process For Service Suspension
Penalties Imposed for "No Shows", a written appeal must be filed prior to the date suspension is to begin. During the appeals process, eligibility for service will be reinstated pending resolution.
Penalties Imposed for "No Shows", a written appeal must be filed 14 days prior to the date suspension is to begin. During the appeals process, eligibility for service will be reinstated pending resolution.
A subcommittee of the Metro Area Mayors’ Committee for People with Disabilities (Appeals Subcommittee) will serve as the Administrative Appeals Board for the Cities of Fargo and Moorhead. The Committee consists of four members of the full committee and one Paratransit rider. If the applicant wishes to appeal the suspension, the following process shall be followed:
a. A written appeal must be filed within 14 days of the date of the letter notifying an individual that they have been determined to be ineligible for ADA Paratransit service.
b. Written appeals shall be delivered to MAT Paratransit, Transit Administration Office, 650 23rd Street North, Fargo, ND 58102 for consideration.
c. The applicant, or a representative of their choice, shall have the opportunity to be heard and present information and arguments in support of his/her position to the Appeals Subcommittee of the Metro Area Mayors’ Committee for People with Disabilities. The City of Fargo's Health Officer, an M.D., will advise the Committee as necessary.
d. A written determination of the decision on the appeal, including the reasons for such decision, shall be forwarded to the applicant within 30 days of the completion of the appeals process. If a decision is not made within 30 days, the applicant will be determined temporarily eligible until such time as the decision regarding the appeal is made by the Committee.