Who can use Dial-A-Ride and LINK Services?
Dial-A-Ride (DAR) and LINK service is for everyone! It is a general public service, which means you don’t have to be a certain age or have a disability to use the service.
What is Dial-A-Ride and LINK Service?
It is a door-to-door service that operates on a demand-response basis. “Demand-response” means it’s a non-fixed route that requires advance scheduling by the customer and is a shared ride where trips are generated by calls from customers. Typically, the vehicle will be dispatched to pick-up several customers at different pick-up points before taking them to their respective destinations and may even be interrupted en route to these destinations to pick up other customers.
Our schedulers group customers together based on time and space availability. Our goal is to meet the customers’ needs as best as possible, while still being cost-effective. Dial-A-Ride and LINK are available to the general public, there is no application or eligibility requirements. We will refer customers to use routed service first and foremost if it is available and accessible.
What is the difference between Dial-A-Ride and LINK Service?
LINK service operates as a Dial-A-Ride (DAR), the only difference is that LINK service areas may be limited to specific time-frames within a day and certain days of the week. Please work with our customer service and scheduling staff because time-frames are approximate as LINK, just like DAR, does not have regularly scheduled bus stops and pick-up times can vary depending on the number of people who may also have scheduled rides. If there are no riders scheduled, MTA does not go to the area. The following list of geographic areas are considered LINK service areas.
- Lake Limerick & Mason Lake
- Arcadia/Lynch Rd/Totten Shores & Fawn Lake
- Shorecrest/Timberlakes/Harstine Island/Pickering
Link Service and Dial-A-Ride operate under the same scheduling and no-show/cancellation rules. As such, the below information only uses the term Dial-A-Ride (DAR) in reference to both services.
Scheduling DAR Reservations
DAR & LINK will only travel within Mason County. We recommend that persons schedule their DAR reservation 48 hours in advance to assure a ride is available. Reservation requests can be made a minimum of two hours in advance and a maximum of two weeks in advance. Persons are allowed a maximum of three round-trip reservations at a time. Rides are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, and are not guaranteed. Call 360-427-5033 or 800-374-3747 to schedule your rides.
Is there a fare for DAR?
No. DAR is part of the fare-free, also known as “pre-paid”, services MTA offers within Mason County. For more information on why our in-county Routes and DAR services are offered to the community fare-free please read more by clicking here.
First Time DAR Requests
If it is your first-time requesting a DAR, a client file will need to be set-up. Please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Full name & phone number
- Home address
- Destination address, with a contact name & number if possible
- Date of birth
- Emergency contacts
- Mobility aid devices used
- If you will be accompanied by an attendant or guest
- If anyone else has permission to schedule/cancel your ride reservations
Tips for Scheduling Your DAR
- Have ready the date and time you would like to travel. If you have an appointment, be sure to provide the time to the scheduler.
- When requesting a ride, remember to schedule your return trip and specify what time you’d like to return.
- When requesting rides be sure you keep the “Pick-up Window” in mind.
- If changes need to be made to your ride request, then you or any persons authorized in your file can change or cancel a ride.
- The earlier you call and the more flexible you are, the more success we will have in fulfilling your trip request.
The scheduler will give you a “pick-up window”, which is a time-frame the bus driver may arrive at your location to pick you up. This window allows MTA to adjust schedules due to any last minute changes that may occur, or unforeseen traffic, weather or road conditions. The driver may be there at any time between the pick-up window provided, you are expected to be ready to board the bus when it arrives.
When the Bus Arrives
Being ready and waiting to get on the bus as soon as it arrives is very important and appreciated. The driver will wait a maximum of three minutes. If you have not boarded the bus by the end of the three minutes, the driver will leave and you will be considered a “no-show”. It is much easier to maintain the schedule for the day if everyone is ready to board as soon as the bus arrives at your pick-up location.
Changing Ride Times
If you need to change your ride, please use the following guidelines:
- Only the rider or person who scheduled the ride can change the appointment, unless otherwise noted in the client’s file.
- Provide at least two hour’s notice.
- Ride changes must be at least one hour different from your original request.
- We will do our best to accommodate new time, but this may not always be possible.
Cancellations and No-Shows
Cancelling your DAR reservation can be done by calling the Customer Service Center anytime. If it’s after hours, please leave a message with your name, phone number, and ride reservation details. It is really important to notify us of a cancellation as soon as possible.
When a rider needs to cancel their trip at the last minute or does not show up for a pre-scheduled trip, it denies other riders the opportunity for our service. Riders who schedule Dial-A-Ride or Deviated Fixed Route service trips and repeatedly no-show or have excessive late cancellations, may be suspended from both services. If a trip is missed, the return trip is automatically cancelled.
MTA requires that you give at least two hours, notice if you are unable to take your ride. If you need to cancel more than one trip, be sure to tell the customer service representative the dates and times you are cancelling. Remember to cancel your return trip at the same time if it’s not needed. If you cancel with less than two hours, notice you will receive a late cancellation. Two late cancellations equals one no-show.
If a rider no-shows three or more Dial-A-Ride or Deviated Fixed Route trips in a 30 day period, they may be suspended from MTA service for a minimum of one week. The second suspension will be for a two week period; a third suspension will be for a three week period, and so on. Each suspension increases by seven days within a 12-month period.
Please be respectful of your fellow riders.