Mobility Services FAQ


Are Mainstream customers guaranteed service?

Mainstream trips are guaranteed only if they are ADA trip eligible. All other trips (non-ADA) are served on a space-available basis.


What is an ADA-eligible trip?

A trip is ADA-eligible when the pickup and destination is within three-quarters (3/4) of a mile of a COTA fixed-route bus line during the specific hours of operation for the fixed-route bus line.


Will the driver wait if the customer is late?

The driver will wait five (5) minutes upon arrival at the confirmed pickup address.


Will the driver wait if no one is at the pickup address?

  • Mainstream is a shared-ride service; the vehicle is assigned to serve the needs of other customers.
  • If the passenger is not at the destination address, the driver will notify dispatch that the customer can not be found. Dispatch will try to contact the customer to verify the pickup address.
  • If the customer cannot be contacted by Dispatch, the customer will be charged with a no-show after five (5) minutes.

What happens when the passenger is not at the scheduled pickup location?

  • The driver will go to the door or first point of reception.
  • The driver will contact the Mainstream dispatcher prior to leaving without a scheduled passenger.
  • The Mainstream dispatcher will call the passenger at the number provided by the passenger for trip confirmation.
  • Customers not at the pickup location within five (5) minutes of the driver's arrival time (within the thirty (30) minute window) will be assessed a no-show violation.

What happens if the service is late?

  • On-time service is an important system requirement, but delays may occur for a variety of reasons (such as traffic accidents, bad weather, customer emergencies, vehicle failures, etc.)
  • If the vehicle is later than the thirty (30) minute window after the scheduled time, call 272-3007 or 272-3030 (TTY).
  • If the scheduled vehicle cannot complete the trip, the customer will be offered service on a replacement vehicle.

Can the driver assist customers?

  • Mainstream drivers may provide assistance to the door if needed and provide quality transportation to the destination. Operators must remain within the line-of-sign of the vehicle at all times. Please do not ask the driver to provide other types of assistance.
  • Drivers can assist customers with three (3) items totally forty (40) pounds in weight.

Will the driver take a wheelchair or mobility device up the steps to a residence?

  • Drivers can take passengers up or down a maximum of one (1) step. A step is defined as a platform where both the passenger and the assisting driver can stand before encountering another step.
  • Drivers will not carry passengers up or down steps under any circumstance.
  • Drivers will not move electric-powered wheelchairs or scooters up or down steps.
  • If a customer requires assistance to or from the door, or up or down one step, it must be safe for both the driver and the customer.
  • Customers who require additional assistance should apply for authorization to travel with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA).

How is it determined if a customer's home or other pickup location is accessible for Mainstream service?

  • The safety of COTA's customers and operators is the most important consideration.
  • Wheelchair ramps that are too steep or damaged are often unsafe.
  • Drivers are instructed to assist customers up and down one (1) stair or on ramps only when it is safe to do so.
  • Customers are responsible for keeping ramps, sidewalks and driveways at your home address free of ice, snow, toys and other obstructions.

How does Mainstream ensure safety?

  • Mainstream operators are professionals who have successfully completed training, including safe vehicle operation and providing transit services to people with disabilities.
  • Operating policies place the health and safety of all passengers ahead of any other concerns.
  • Mainstream has an excellent safety record; however, if there is an accident there are three ways to get off the bus: front door, rear door, window
  • Drivers are equipped with a two-way radio to call for any necessary assistance.
Customers who believe that a safety problem exists should contact COTA Customer Service at 228-1776.

What if the customer represents a health or safety threat?

  • If a driver determines that a passenger may threaten the health and safety of other passengers, the driver may deny service.
  • Prior to denying service, the driver will contact the dispatcher. The dispatcher will then contact a supervisor to coordinate a response.
  • If a customer is en route and denied service to complete the trip, a supervisor will remove the passenger and transport that customer to their destination.
  • The driver denying service will provide a comprehensive report detailing the incident for the service provider and to COTA.


For more information, call COTA Mobility Services Department at 614-275-5828 or email paratransit@cota.com.