BFT’s goal is to provide service that is not only convenient, but also comfortable and safe for all of our riders. For the comfort and safety of all, we ask that BFT customers please abide by the following guidelines when riding our buses, Dial-A-Ride, and General Demand services. BFT Operators will be enforcing these rules of conduct. Riders may be denied service or asked to disembark the vehicle for failure to follow these rules.
The following is prohibited:
- Drug and alcohol use on BFT related vehicles, pick up points, and property
- Harassment or intimidation of customers, the public or BFT personnel at pick up points, transit centers, bus stops, or BFT property or vehicles
- Eating food on the vehicles (beverages with lids are allowed)
- Vandalism of any BFT related vehicle, shelters, bus stops, signs, or other BFT property
- Smoking or the appearance of smoking within twenty-five (25) feet of a BFT vehicle or facility
- Any type of radio or noise making device without the use of a head set
- Operating any of the coach controls
Follow these guidelines:
- Shirt and shoes must be worn while on board.
- Passengers must allow proper securing of mobility devices and wheelchairs on all vehicles.
- Rider’s behavior must not pose a risk to other riders or BFT staff.
- All riders should pay the appropriate fare upon boarding (see fares section). Drivers do not make change.
- Pets must be in pet carriers (all pets must be enclosed in a carrier that will remain secured). Pet and carrier may not exceed 25 pounds.
- Children age 5 years or under will not be transported without an accompanying caregiver over 12 years of age. (Child seats are not provided but are strongly recommended.)
- Keep children seated while on any BFT vehicle. Passengers can board the bus with a child in the stroller and then immediately remove the child from the stroller upon boarding. Accompanying adult is responsible for belting in car seats and children.
- No more than four carry-on bags are allowed on any vehicle and shall weigh no more than 10 lbs each. They must be stored at the rider’s feet or in their lap.
- Carry on items are limited by weight and number for fixed route buses and shared taxi rides; the rider must be able to board with their packages, in taxis keep belonging on their laps, on buses keep aisle clear, exit and move their own belongings.
- Riders should gather belongings and be ready to exit when the vehicle stops; keep feet, legs, and belongings out of other riders’ paths.
Items not permitted on BFT Vehicles:
- Full or empty containers of flammable or hazardous chemicals such as gasoline cans or Mace
- Vehicle batteries
- Carrying, exhibiting, displaying, or drawing any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other Persons, unless otherwise authorized by law (RCW 9.41.270)
- Open alcoholic containers
- Illegal drugs
- Weapons of any kind such as knives or swords
- Non-collapsible strollers, shopping carts, and bicycles or large items that won’t fit between seats and any article longer than the distance from the floor to the ceiling
In addition, while on a BFT bus:
- Do not stand in the stairwells or block the back door.
- Use the back door for exiting whenever possible.
- Allow passengers to disembark before you board the bus.
- Give seniors and disabled passengers the front seats (please move when needed).
- Riders are required to move for the securing of mobility devices.
- If you are using a flag stop, inform the driver when you ring the bell.
Service animals are welcome on BFT vehicles. The driver may ask only two specific questions: (1) Is the dog a service animal required because of disability? and (2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Guidelines for service animals:
- Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered. If these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or your disability prevents using these devices, you must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.
- You are responsible for the care and supervision of your service animal while onboard and may be held liable for the behavior and actions of the animal.
- Regardless of training or certification, service animals may be denied transportation if the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
Other animals are allowed on BFT vehicles with the following guidelines:
- Small animals (such as dogs under 25 pounds, reptiles, birds, cats, etc.), must be in a confined carrying container and held on your lap or at your feet.
- Non-service animal dogs over 25 pounds are not allowed on the buses.
- Animals cannot occupy a seat, block the aisle, or annoy other passengers.
- You must have complete control of your animal at all times.
If you have any questions, please call 509.735.5100.
Bicycles on BFT Vehicles
- BFT transports only single-seat, two-wheeled, non-fueled bicycles on its vehicles. The following are the allowable bike rack dimensions:
- Bicycle Capacity: 2 bicycles
- Wheelbase: Up to 44 inches
- Tire Width: Up to 2.3 inches wide
- Wheel Size: 20 to 29 inches
- Max Weight per Bicycle Position: 55 lbs
- Bicyclists are responsible for securing and removing their bicycles on and off BFT buses and at BFT facilities.
- Park bicycles at BFT transit centers & park-and-ride lots only in designated bicycle racks or lockers.
- Any number of folding bicycles are allowed inside any BFT vehicle at any time as long as they can be safely secured.
- Storing bicycles in the priority seating areas for the elderly and disabled riders on any vehicle is prohibited.
No-Show and Late Cancellation
General Policy Statement
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidance permits transit agencies to suspend ADA riders who “establish a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips” after providing a rider due process. A “pattern or practice” involves “intentional, repeated or regular actions, not isolated, accidental, or singular incidents.” The purpose of a suspension process would be to prevent chronic “no-show” occurrences, which is costly to the Agency and taxpayers, and prevents others from benefiting from these rides.
Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) records each customer’s no-shows and late cancellations and applies appropriate sanctions when customers establish a pattern or practice of no-shows. The No-Show and Late Cancellation Policy defines no-shows and late cancellations and sets rules for suspension of service to BFT’s Dial-A-Ride (DAR) riders who miss scheduled rides. BFT’s policy directs riders’ attention to their own no-show and late cancellation incidents to minimize the overall number of no-shows and late cancellations. This is important because no-shows and late cancellations affect the cost and quality of DAR service provided to all riders.'
Procedures, Wait Time, & Pick-up Window
DAR schedules pick up and return trips separately. If a rider is a no-show for one trip for the day, all other same-day scheduled trips remain as scheduled. Federal ADA paratransit regulation does not allow service providers to cancel trips without notification from riders or their representatives. Failure to take or cancel remaining scheduled trips will result in additional no-shows.
When DAR reservations are made, the rider will be given a 30-minute pick-up window. The driver can wait no more than five minutes after arriving at the pick-up location. The DAR vehicle will leave if the rider is not ready on time, and the rider will be recorded as a no-show.
DAR will not strand riders who have been transported to their destinations. If a rider is not ready at the time of their scheduled return trip, a vehicle will be sent as soon as possible upon notification that the rider is ready; however, no pick-up window will be guaranteed.
A no-show is a trip that is not taken and has not been canceled prior to the scheduled pick-up time. If a rider is not ready within five minutes of the vehicle’s arrival, as long as the driver arrives within the pick-up window, the rider will be charged with a no-show. A no-show occurs when:
- There has been no call by the rider (or the rider’s representative) to cancel the scheduled trip time, AND
- The vehicle arrives at the scheduled location within the 30-minute window, AND
- The driver cannot reasonably see the customer approaching the vehicle after waiting five minutes, AND
- The BFT Dispatch office is contacted to verify that the driver is at the correct location.
A no-show may also be charged when:
- The driver arrives and the rider cancels his/her ride at that time
FTA permits transit agencies to count late cancellations as no-shows for trips canceled less than one hour prior to the scheduled pick-up time.
No-shows for reasons that are beyond the rider’s control will not be counted. Examples of excused no-shows may include, but are not limited to:
- Family emergency
- Illness that prevents the rider from calling to cancel
- Personal Care Attendant (PCA) or another party who didn’t arrive on time to assist the rider
- Rider was inside calling to check the ride status and was on hold for an extended time
- Rider’s appointment ran long and did not provide opportunity to cancel in a timely manner
- Rider’s mobility aid failed
- Appointment canceled or delayed for reasons that are not the rider’s fault
- Natural disasters (e.g., flood, earthquake, etc.)
- BFT error; staff did not note the cancellation request or rider just realized that staff scheduled the trip inconsistently with the rider’s request
- Vehicle arrival past the scheduled pick-up window.
Repeated failures to take scheduled trips, regardless of the reason, are subject to review.
Trips can be canceled daily until 9:30 p.m. with the BFT Dispatch office, or a message can be left at any time on the dispatch line if a representative is not available.
No-shows and/or late cancellations are not excused when the trip is not canceled at least one hour prior to the scheduled pick-up time and is missed for one of the following reasons:
- Rider didn’t want to travel today
- Rider changed their mind about using the ride reserved
- Rider didn’t know that he/she had a ride scheduled or was supposed to call to cancel
- Rider got another ride
- Rider told someone else that he/she was not planning to travel (driver, facility, etc.) or someone else booked the ride for him/her
- Rider does not want to ride with a specific driver or rider, or on a specific vehicle.
Pattern & Practice of Excessive No-Shows
To establish whether a rider has established a “pattern or practice” of missing scheduled trips, BFT must consider the rider’s frequency of use of the paratransit service. Three no-shows in 30 days for a rider who uses the service daily to commute to and from work as well as for other purposes, for example, is very different from three no-shows by a customer who schedules only five trips per month. BFT will not use “no-shows beyond a rider’s control” as a basis for determining a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips.
No-Show Point System
If a rider incurs a no-show, the rider will be notified by letter sent to the mailing address on file. The letter will notify the rider how many no-shows have occurred in the last 30 days. If the rider feels the no-show should be excused, they should contact DAR at the reservations phone number as soon as possible.
DAR tracks trip status for every trip booked. Penalty points are assigned as follows:
- No-Show or Cancel at Door = 2 points
- Late Cancellation = 1 point
DAR identifies riders who have met the following criteria within a 30-day period:
- No-shows/Late Cancellations at 10% or more of their scheduled trips
- Six or more no-show or late cancellation penalty points
Riders incurring the penalty assessment, as defined above, are subject to suspension for a reasonable period of time. Repeated violations of this policy will cause the length of suspensions to increase. The following suspension periods shall apply to violations of this policy that occur within a 30-day period.
||Minimum % of Trips
In any 30-day continuous period, if a rider who has scheduled trips exhibits a pattern or practice of no-shows and/or late cancellations for at least 10% of those trips, and has six or more no-show and/or late cancellation penalty points, the rider will receive a written Notice of Suspension, citing which trips were no-shows and/or late cancellations and the proposed date of suspended service.
No-shows or late cancellations that occur due to circumstances beyond the control of the customer, as reported to DAR, will not be considered a violation.
Appealing a No-Show Penalty/Suspension
You have the right to appeal the notice of no-show or suspension. Appeals must be sent in writing to the ADA Eligibility Coordinator at 1000 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352 within 14 days of the notice date.
Please provide your response in writing, including a copy of the notice submitted to you. The appeal should state the reason you believe the no-show/late cancellation notice or suspension is invalid.
Upon receipt of the request for appeal, the ADA Eligibility Coordinator will determine whether the no-show/late cancellation penalty or suspension should be withdrawn. The coordinator’s investigation and decision will consider:
- The rider’s trends and patterns
- Medical emergencies or situations outside the rider’s or caregiver’s control.
If you are not satisfied with the ADA Eligibility Coordinator’s investigation or decision, you may request a meeting with BFT’s Assistant Director of Transit Operations or their designee to review your concerns. A suspension will not occur until all appeal remedies that you have requested have been exhausted.