Accessible Services

Boarding Procedures for Wheeled Mobility Device Users

All MBTA buses are equipped with a ramp or lift to enable customers with wheeled mobility devices, or who have limited mobility, to board. When boarding a MBTA bus, we encourage you to use the following boarding procedure:

Boarding Procedure for Low Floor Buses

Customer in a wheeled mobility device waiting for the bus.
  • Remain at the bus stop until the bus arrives.  
Customer in a wheeled mobility device gesturing to the Bus Operator.
  • If you are able, gesture to the Operator as the bus approaches the stop. This will help to ensure that the Operator sees you and knows that you intend to board the bus.
Destination sign on the side of a low-floor bus.
  • Note the destination of the bus by reading the destination sign (located above the front windshield of the bus or on the side of the bus nearest you) or listen to the stop announcement equipment when the doors of the bus open.  
Bus Operator preboarding a customer in a wheeled mobility device.
  • It is the MBTA's policy for the Bus Operator to pre-board customers who use a wheeled mobility device before other customers to ensure them access to the securement area.
Bus Operator preparing securement area on low-floor bus.
  • Once the Operator has confirmed that you want to board the bus, he/she will prepare the securement area by flipping up the priority seats and extending the securement straps.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device away from front doors of low-floor bus so ramp can deploy properly.
  • After the securement area is prepared, the Operator will lower the front of the bus (by pushing a button while seated) so the ramp can deploy properly. 
Ramp deploying on a low-floor bus.
  • The Operator will then deploy the ramp by pushing a button in the front of the bus. If the ramp fails to deploy, the Bus Operator will get out of their seat to deploy the ramp manually.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device boarding a low-floor bus using the ramp.
  • Once the ramp is completely deployed, wheel onto the ramp to board the bus.  If you need assistance, let the operator know.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device using a CharlieCard to pay the fare.
  • Pay your fare by tapping your CharlieCard on the card target. You may also pay your fare by inserting cash, change, or a CharlieTicket into the appropriate slots on the farebox. If you need assistance in paying your fare, simply ask the Bus Operator to assist you.  Click here to learn more about paying your fare using the farebox.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device in securement area on a low-floor bus.
  • Make your way to a securement area located near the front of the bus. There are two securement areas on each bus (one on the passenger's side, and one on the driver's side). In order for your wheeled mobility device to be secured properly, you will need to position your wheeled mobility device so that you are facing the front of the bus.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device being secured in securement area.
  • It is the MBTA's policy for the Bus Operator to attach 4 securement straps (for wheelchairs) or 3 securement straps (for scooters) to the frame of your wheeled mobility device. Securement straps should never be attached to any movable or removable parts of your wheeled mobility device. This is done to ensure that your wheeled mobility device is secure while the bus is in motion.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device being secured using fabric Q-straints.
  • Operators may use fabric Q-straints to help secure your wheeled mobility device.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device placing their brakes in the locked position.
  • Make sure that your brakes are in the "locked" position or that the motor of your wheeled mobility device is turned off
Three wheeled scooter.
  • If you use a 3-wheeled scooter, the Operator will ask you if you would like to transfer to a standard seat after your scooter is secured. Even when properly secured, scooters may not be stable and may present a safety concern. You are not required to transfer from your scooter; it is your personal choice.
Bus Operator asking customer in a wheeled mobility device if they would like to use the lap/shoulder belt.
  • The Bus Operator will ask if you would like to use the lap or shoulder belt. However, the lap or shoulder belt is optional and you do not have to use it if you do not want to.
Bus Operator asking a customer in a wheeled mobility device for their destination.
  • The bus operator will then ask you for your destination so that they can find an appropriate place to deploy the ramp at your stop. Providing the Operator with your destination is optional.

Boarding Procedure for High Floor Buses

When boarding a high floor bus, you will need to board the bus using the rear doors.  Please use the following procedure when boarding a high floor bus:

Customer in a wheeled mobility device waiting for the bus.
  • Remain at the bus stop until the bus arrives.  
Customer in a wheeled mobility device gesturing to Bus Operator.
  • If you are able, gesture to the Operator as the bus approaches the stop.  This will help to ensure that the Operator sees you and knows that you intend to board the bus.
Destination sign on the side of a low-floor bus.
  • Note the destination of the bus by reading the destination sign (located above the front windshield of the bus or on the side of the bus nearest you) or listen to the stop announcement equipment when the doors of the bus open to ensure that you are boarding the right bus.  
Bus Operator preboarding a Customer in a wheeled mobility device.
  • It is the MBTA's policy for the Bus Operator to pre-board customers who use a wheeled mobility device before other customers to ensure them access to the securement area.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device at rear of high-floor bus.
  • Once the Bus Operator has confirmed that you wish to board the bus, proceed to the rear door of the bus. Make sure that you are away from the entrance of the rear doors so that the lift can deploy appropriately.
Securement area on high-floor bus with securement straps extended.
  • While you are moving toward the rear doors, the Operator will prepare the securement area by flipping up the priority seats and extending the securement straps.
Lift deployed on a high-floor bus.
  • After the securement area is prepared, the Operator will then lower the lift.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device on a lift of a high-floor bus.
  • Once the lift has deployed successfully, move all the way onto the lift (facing forward or backward).  Once you are on the lift, make sure that your brakes are in the "locked" position or that the motor of your wheeled mobility device is turned off. Keep your arms close to your body when the lift is in motion.  If you need assistance boarding the lift, let the operator know.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device in securement area on high-floor bus.
  • When the lift reaches the floor level of the bus, wheel onto the bus and into one of the two securement areas located near the rear (on the driver's side of the bus). 
Customer in a wheeled mobility device facing foward in securement area on high-floor bus.
  • Position your wheeled mobility device in the securement area so that you are facing the front of the bus.
Bus Operator attaching securement straps to wheeled mobility device.
  • It is the MBTA's policy for the Bus Operator to attach 4 securement straps (for wheelchairs) or at least 3 securement straps (for scooters) to the rear frame of your wheeled mobility device. Securement straps should never be attached to any movable or removable parts of your wheeled mobility device. This is done to ensure that your wheeled mobility device is secure while the bus is in motion.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device being secured using fabric Q-straints.
  • Operators may use fabric Q-straints to help secure your wheeled mobility device.
Three wheeled scooter.
  • If you use a 3-wheeled scooter, the Operator may ask you if you would like to transfer to a standard seat after your scooter is secured. Even when properly secured, scooters may not be stable and may present a safety concern. You are not required to transfer from your scooter; it is your personal choice.
Bus Operator asking customer in a wheeled mobility device if they would like to use the lap/shoulder belt.
  • The Bus Operator will ask if you would like to use the lap or shoulder belt. However, the lap or shoulder belt is optional and you do not have to use it if you do not want to.
Customer in a wheeled mobility device placing their brakes in the locked position.
  • Make sure that your brakes are in the "locked" position or that the motor of your wheeled mobility device is turned off
Bus Operator assisting customer in a wheeled mobility device with paying the fare.
  • The bus operator will need to assist you in paying your fare. Simply present the bus operator with your CharlieCard. You may also pay your fare using cash or a CharlieTicket. The bus operator will return your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to you once the fare has been deducted.
Bus Operator asking a customer in a wheeled mobility device for their destination.
  • The bus operator will then ask you for your destination so that they can find an appropriate place to deploy the lift at your stop. Providing the Operator with your destination is optional.
Back to "The Customer Experience on MBTA Bus" page