Accessible Services

On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program

THE RIDE customers are invited to participate in an innovative, year-long pilot program with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Below you will find information on:

How it works

  • RIDE customers must sign up using the links below to indicate interest.
  • Customers must also create an Uber/Lyft account in addition to signing up for the pilot. 
  • The MBTA will verify all sign-ups for eligibility.
  • Eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via e-mail from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up.
  • Once contacted by Uber or Lyft, customers will be able to book trips via a smartphone mobile app.

How to Sign-Up

For the chance to participate in the Uber/Lyft pilot program, please sign up using the websites below. To launch the sign-up pages in a different language, please click on the associated country’s flag:

Sign up with Uber
Uber Logo
Sign up for Uber in English Sign up for Uber in Spanish Sign up for Uber in Portuguese Sign up for Uber in Traditional Chinese Sign up for Uber in Haitian Creole Sign up for Uber in Vietnamese Sign up with Uber in Russian
Sign up with Lyft
Lyft Logo
Sign up for Lyft in English Sign up for Lyft in Spanish Sign up for Lyft in Portuguese Sign up for Lyft in Traditional Chinese Sign up for Lyft in Haitian Creole Sign up for Lyft in Vietnamese Sign up for Lyft in Russian
  

 

Sign up today!

The MBTA reserves the right to limit or cancel this pilot program at any time.

Program Benefits

  • Reduced Fares
  • Lower Wait Times
  • Same-Day Booking
  • Faster Trips
  • No Need to Share Rides
  • Access to wheelchair accessible vehicles
  • Options for customers without access to smartphones

The On-Demand Paratransit Pilot Program will operate in conjunction with all existing RIDE services.

Service Comparison

Service THE RIDE Pilot Program
Fare $3.15 or $5.25 for premium trips As low as $2.00
Booking Timeframe Minimum on day in advance On demand: Instant request to dispatch
Day of Wait time
30 minutes window
As low as five minutes
in core service areas
Trip reservations By phone
Via mobile phone app or
phone call-in option (Lyft only)

FAQs

Q: What does it mean that this is a pilot program?
A: The On-Demand Paratransit Pilot is a voluntary pilot program and, as such, it will be regularly updated. Any changes will be proactively communicated to customers. The MBTA reserves the right to limit or cancel this pilot program at any time.

Q: How does it differ from existing The RIDE paratransit service?
A: The pilot is an alternative to existing The RIDE paratransit service and will not offer the same set of services as The RIDE (e.g., drivers are not required to leave their vehicles or perform services not usually provided by Uber or Lyft). Regular The RIDE paratransit service will continue to operate under its existing conditions. Pilot participation will have no impact on your RIDE eligibility.

Q: What if I have a question or concern about a trip I took?
 A: For questions about a trip or a concern with a trip, please contact Lyft or Uber directly using the information below:

Lyft

  • In the app:
    • Trip Question: Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner), then click on "Ride History" (3rd option). Click on the particular trip with the issue. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select "Get Help."
    • General Question: Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner), then click on Help (6th option). Click "Help Center" and then either select a specific topic within the FAQ or scroll down to the section titled "Need something else?" and click on "Contact Support".
     
  • On the web: Click Here

 

Uber

  • In the app:
    • Trip Question: Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner), then "Your Trips" (2nd Option). Click on the particular trip with the issue, then either select the specific issue from the list below or select "I had a different issue", then "I have a question about the MBTA pilot".
    • General Question: Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner), then "Help" (5th Option). Select any of the topics related to your issue below and then follow the instructions on the screen.
     
  • On the web: Click Here.

 

For questions about your sign-up status, eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via e-mail from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up. For questions about your eligibility or if it has been 72 hours after contacting Uber or Lyft without a reply, please contact the MBTA at ridepilots@mbta.com.

Q: Am I eligible to participate?
A: All RIDE customers are eligible to participate if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Suspension Status
    1. You are not currently suspended
     
  2. Eligibility Status
    1. You have valid eligibility during the pilot time period that does not expire and would not be renewable during the pilot time period
     
  3. Customer Contact Info and Payment
    1. You have a valid email address, phone number, and form of payment (Credit Card, Debit Card, Prepaid Card, Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet/Android Pay)
    2. Accommodations are available for customers who do not have access to smartphones
     

Q: What if I don’t have a smartphone?
A: For customers without access to smartphones, Lyft pilot customers can use a phone-in option and a limited number of Uber customers can utilize Uber-provided smartphones for use on a limited basis to book trips.

Q: If I receive a smartphone from Uber, will I have to pay any fees or charges?
A: No fees or charges are paid by customers who are utilizing their phone, but customers must return their smartphones upon request or completion of the pilot program.

Q: How much will I need to pay for a trip on the pilot?
A: For all eligible trips, customers pay the first $2 of a trip and the MBTA will cover up the remainder of the fare up to $15. Customers cover anything additional. You will be shown the total amount you owe at time of request. For example,  

  • A $6 trip will cost customers $2 and the MBTA will pay $4
  • A $15 trip will cost customers $2 and the MBTA will pay $13
  • A $16 trip will cost customers $3 and the MBTA will pay $13

For UberPOOL specifically, customers pay the first $1 per trip and the MBTA will cover the remainder of the fare up to $15. Customers will cover anything additional.

A few other pointers on fares/payment for trips:  

  • If you have an issue with your fare/payment on a trip, please reach out to Uber/Lyft directly (the MBTA does not have the ability to change trip fares)
  • Tips for Lyft are not eligible for the subsidy
  • If you update your destination after requesting your trip, subsidized pricing may no longer be applied to your trip

 

Q: How will I get my new trips every month?
A: For Lyft customers, trips will be automatically applied to your account. For Uber customers, you will need to go to the menu in the top left corner, navigate to “Flat Fares” and activate your trips at the beginning of every month. Note that for Uber trips, the Flat Fare menu will ask you to “purchase” your trips, but the cost to activate trips will be $0. Customers only pay for trips taken.

Q: What is "surge pricing" with Uber or "prime time" with Lyft?
A: Surge pricing for Uber is when fares temporarily increase to encourage more drivers to get on the road and head to areas of the city where demand for rides is high. Click here to learn more. Uber uses upfront pricing which will take surge pricing into account if demand is high. Click here to learn more. Lyft uses Prime Time to encourage drivers to drive in areas and at times with higher-than-normal demand. In these cases, passengers may pay an additional percentage on top of the original ride's price. Click here to learn more.  

Q: What Service Area does the pilot cover?
A: Both Uber and Lyft currently cover the entire RIDE service area except that both companies currently exclude pick-ups at Logan Airport. Trips must start and end in the service area to be eligible for the subsidy.

Q: What are the Service Hours of the pilot?
A: Both companies will operate the same hours as The RIDE – generally from 5am-1am, 7 days a week.

Q: What if I need a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)?
A: Both companies provide access to WAVs via their app.

Q: Will my participation in the pilot impact my RIDE eligibility?
A: Pilot participation will have no impact on your RIDE eligibility.

Q: If I decide to no longer participate in the pilot after signing up, can I opt-out?
A: You can stop using the pilot at any time. Please contact Uber or Lyft directly using the links below to confirm you would no longer like to be eligible for the pilot. You can reapply to the pilot at any time by re-completing the sign-up process for either Uber or Lyft.

Q: Why do I need to sign up for the pilot and then also create an account with Uber or Lyft and download their app?
A: Signing up for the pilot expresses your interest in joining the pilot. To use the pilot, you must have an account with either company and have downloaded their app.

Q: What if I signed up, but have not yet heard back from about how to take a trip?
A: Eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via e-mail from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up.

Q: How do I know if my app is providing me subsidized trips?
A: The answer to this question depends on if you are using Lyft or Uber

For Lyft

  1. A banner will exist across the top of your app that reads "You have $13 off x rides" or "You have credits available"
  2. Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner), then click on Promos (5th option), then make sure that the Lyft and MBTA Partnership promo is listed there 

 

For Uber

  1. Click on menu bar in the top left corner, then click on Flat Fares, and you can either obtain your trips here or see how many trips you have left.
  2. Click on the bar at the top that says "Where to?", enter your destination, and the words “Flat fare applied” will be listed on the app. Note that there is no longer a “Popular” tab that you need to scroll to in order to request through this program.

Help/Questions/Comments

For questions about your app, trip, or other pilot questions, please contact Lyft/Uber directly:

Lyft

  • In the app:
    • Trip Question: Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner), then click on "Ride History" (3rd option).  Click on the particular trip with the issue.  Scroll all the way to the bottom and select "Get Help."
    • General Question:  Click on the profile button (icon with a face in the top left corner), then click on Help (6th option).  Click "Help Center" and then either select a specific topic within the FAQ or scroll down to the section titled "Need something else?" and click on "Contact Support."
     
  • On the web: Click Here  

Uber

  • In the app:
    • Trip Question: Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner), then "Your Trips" (2nd Option).  Click on the particular trip with the issue, then either select the specific issue from the list below or select  "I had a different issue", then "I have a question about the MBTA pilot". 
    • General Question: Click on the menu button (icon with three lines in the top left corner), then "Help" (5th Option).  Select any of the topics related to your issue below and then follow the instructions on the screen.
     
  • On the web: Click here

For questions about your sign-up status, eligible customers will receive further instructions and access to the program via e-mail from Uber or Lyft within 1-2 weeks of sign-up. For questions about your eligibility or if it has been 72 hours after contacting Uber or Lyft without a reply, please contact the MBTA at ridepilots@mbta.com.