The RIDE Policies
Temporary Changes to The RIDE
Updated January 11, 2022
All riders and drivers are required to wear face coverings while on MBTA vehicles, including people who are fully vaccinated.
The RIDE is not a medical transport, and we cannot provide service to customers with an active COVID diagnosis. The RIDE is small-vehicle public transit, and it is not possible to safely distance riders with COVID from others, including the driver. If you are or have been ill with COVID, you must make transportation arrangements other than The RIDE until you have been medically cleared.
If The RIDE transports you to a COVID testing site and you are confirmed to be COVID positive, we cannot transport you home after the positive test.
As part of the continuing effort to protect the health and safety of customers and MBTA employees, and to preserve the continuity of essential travel services, the following service changes have been made in consultation with The Riders’ Transportation Access Group (R-TAG), the Boston Center for Independent Living, and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.
- Consistent with the MBTA’s decision to remove capacity restrictions from vehicles, ridesharing was reintroduced in May 2021.
- The RIDE Eligibility Center (TREC) is closed for in-person appointments until further notice. All interactions with TREC, including ADA visitor requests, will be conducted during business hours over the phone.
- Booking windows have been adjusted. As of May 29, 2021, RIDE customers must book trips one to five days in advance.
The RIDE customers can book trips to travel to and from their vaccination, booster, and testing appointments.
We recommend that customers book two trips on The RIDE for each appointment—one for the drop off at the appointment site, and one for the return trip. Drivers cannot wait after dropping off customers for appointments.
Booking with flexibility: The RIDE Flex* with Uber and Lyft enables customers to book trips within minutes of needing them.
*The RIDE Flex is a pilot program available to all eligible RIDE customers. It includes options to:
- Request a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV)
- Order trips with or without a smartphone
- Sign up and be approved within two business days (including switching providers)
For in-person vaccination and testing sites:
- To be dropped off, schedule your trip based on your appointment time. Leave some extra time in case of delays.
- For your return trip, please allow extra time as the site may require you remain there for observation after your vaccination.
For drive-through vaccination and testing sites:
Please note that The RIDE vehicles will not stay at the site during your vaccination or test.
- Confirm with the site in advance that you can be vaccinated if you are not in a vehicle.
- Since customers cannot stay in the vehicle, follow the same booking tips as you would for an in-person site.
All Massachusetts vaccine sites offer:
- Accessible entrances
- Waiting areas with seating available before and after vaccine appointments
- Staff available for mobility assistance and direction
- Accessible pick-up and drop-off areas
- Wheelchairs provided on-site
In-Home Vaccination and Booster Programs
In-home vaccination programs offered by the state may be available to people unable to leave their homes.
Riders can also check with their local board of health or council on aging, as some municipalities are operating local homebound vaccination programs as well.
All MassHealth members are eligible for transportation to and from vaccine sites. If you are a member who normally has access to transportation, you may ask your doctor to submit a vaccine transportation request on your behalf.
Call the MassHealth Customer Service Center at 800-841-2900.
RideMatch assists users in finding public and private transportation options in their communities.
Traveling with Guests
Let The RIDE know if you’ll be traveling with anyone else, including a service animal, when you book your trip. Guests must travel with you, to and from the same destination.
Keep in mind that your guests’ fares will be deducted from your RIDE account when you board.
You can always bring a PCA with you on your trip. There’s no charge for PCAs on The RIDE.
- You are guaranteed space for one guest other than a PCA, and you may have additional guests ride with you if space is available. RIDE fares apply per person.
- Children must ride in a customer-provided car seat that is appropriate for their age and weight. School transportation is not provided for children in grades K-12.
Traveling with Service Animals
Only service animals, as defined by the ADA, will be transported.
- Service animals must ride tethered, leashed, or harnessed at their owner’s feet, not on the seat. Carriers are not allowed.
- Owners must have control over their service animals at all times.
- Other animals—including pets, comfort animals or therapy animals—are not allowed. Transportation will not be provided to those who do not follow this policy at time of pick-up.
Please remember that The RIDE is a shared space, and respect your fellow passengers, drivers, and transportation equipment. Follow these rider rules:
- Wear a seatbelt—this applies to all riders, including wheelchair and scooter users.
- Use headphones with personal audio devices.
- Note that personal hygiene and perfumes can be objectionable to other passengers or cause allergic reactions.
- Ask the driver to adjust the radio, including turning it on/off, changing the station, and turning the volume up or down.
- Stand while the vehicle is moving.
- Eat or drink, unless you need to for medical or dietary reasons. Let the driver know if this is the case.
- Have loud conversations on your cellphone.
- Expect drivers to carry multiple packages in more than one trip.
- Smoke, including e-cigarettes.
- Tip your driver or give other gratuities.
Inappropriate or illegal behavior will not be tolerated, and may result in service suspension, police investigation, or other consequences.
Please limit bulky, heavy items whenever possible. Your driver must be able to carry them in one trip while safely assisting you.
Transportation will not be provided to customers who do not follow this policy at the time of pick-up.
Late Cancelation/No-Show Policy
Any trip canceled less than one hour before the scheduled pick-up time is a late cancelation violation. Changing the time of your trip is not considered a late cancelation, but please provide advance notice of changes to minimize disruptions in service.
If you are not at the pick-up location within five minutes of the driver’s arrival and the driver is unable to contact you, it is a no-show violation.
If you are delayed, call TRAC as soon as possible at 844-427-7433 to request a new pick-up time. This will result in a charge at the premium non-ADA fare rate. TRAC will do its best to incorporate your modified trip request into the day’s schedule.
You may be issued a violation for excessive late cancelations or no-shows if:
- You book eight or more trips in a month and cancel late or do not show for at least 20% of them, OR
- You cancel late or fail to show for eight or more trips in a month
You won’t be penalized for no-shows or cancelations that happen for reasons beyond your control. This includes, but is not limited to, trips missed due to operator error.
If you violate this policy, The RIDE will send you a written notice that includes a list of every late cancellation or no-show trip. After repeat violations, the notice may also include suspension start and end dates.
The consequences for violations in the same 12-month rolling period are:
- One time: Written warning
- Two times: One-week suspension
- Three times: Two-week suspension
- Four or more times: Four-week suspension
If you are suspended after two violations, any future scheduled trips will be canceled, including subscription service trips.
Visit our support page to learn how to appeal a warning or suspension.
Keeping Rider Information Up to Date
Riders’ personal information must be kept up to date. There are several ways to update information for The RIDE depending on the type of change needed:
Contact The RIDE Access Center (TRAC) at 844-427-7433 with changes to your information, including phone numbers, addresses, email, and emergency contacts.
The RIDE is a public transportation service. The MBTA may change or update policies and still be ADA-compliant. Visit the ADA’s website or call 888-446-4511 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (TTY) for more information.