General Rider Rules
To ensure the safety and comfort of all our riders, we ask that you observe the following rules and guidelines:
- NO VIOLENCE, SERIOUSLY DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR, or ILLEGAL CONDUCT while on TAPS Vehicles. Please review this section of the Rider Rules for more information regarding this guideline.
- NO SMOKING (including vapor or electronic cigarettes) on TAPS buses.
- NO EATING or DRINKING on TAPS buses and please do not litter.
- NO PLAYING RADIOS, tape players or other audio equipment while on TAPS buses. Please use headphones at low volume.
- NO FIREARMS on any TAPS bus.
- Service animals ONLY, such as seeing-eye dogs are permitted. No pets.
- NO VANDALISM or damage to buses or shelters will be tolerated. TAPS will prosecute.
- NO GAMBLING on any TAPS bus.
Please be courteous to those riding with you:
- The seats at the front of every bus are reserved for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Please give up these seats if they are needed.
- If standing, please stay behind the yellow line at the front of the bus and hold on to hand rails. If possible, move to the rear of the bus to allow other customers to board.
- Baby strollers and grocery carts are allowed on-board, provided they are collapsed and will fit on your lap or at your feet in front of you.
- Please keep your hands and arms inside the windows of the bus at all times.
- Shopping bags and small boxes are permitted, provided they do not block the aisles.
- Riders must wear proper attire, including shoes and a shirt, on-board a TAPS bus.
Your safety is important to us. Our Rider Rules is in place to address everyday safety issues. In an emergency, our bus operators can summon police and medical assistance.
If you have a safety concern or see suspicious activity, please tell the bus operator immediately or speak with a TAPS Manager anonymously at (855) 331-6732. Emergency-exit instructions are displayed inside all TAPS buses.
TAPS Suspension Policy
No-Shows & Late Cancels
Trip reservations are made so as many riders as possible can use TAPS. Riders who are not ready at the scheduled time of their trip or don’t cancel their trip in a timely manner, waste TAPS resources that would have been made available to other riders. A documented pattern of “No-Shows” & Late Cancels may result in service suspension.
A No-Show is defined as:
- Verbal refusal or wave-by of the rider for the scheduled trip when the vehicle arrives at the pick-up location, unless due to late arrival of the vehicle or lack of operator assistance
- Failure of the rider to board the vehicle within five minutes after the operator has followed pick-up protocol
- If the pick-up address is located inside a gated community or requires special access, it is the rider’s responsibility to arrange entry for the TAPS vehicle. If a vehicle is unable to enter the pick-up area and the rider fails to meet the vehicle, the rider will be documented as a “No-Show” for the trip
A Late Cancel is defined as:
- A customer contacts TAPS and cancels the scheduled ride after 3pm the day prior to when the ride is scheduled to occur
Service Suspension for No-Shows & Late Cancels
A demonstrated pattern of No-Shows & Late Cancels (as defined above) is seriously disruptive to TAPS service. Three or more no-shows in any 30-day period will prompt a review. Based on the findings of the review, the following steps will be followed:
- First suspension occurrence will result in a 7 day suspension penalty.
- Second suspension occurrence will result in a 14 day suspension penalty.
- Third suspension occurrence will result in a 30 day suspension penalty.
The timeframe for the progressive suspension policy is on (1) calendar year beginning on January 1st of every year.
Service Suspension for Violent, Seriously Disruptive and/or Illegal Conduct
Service will immediately be suspended up to 30 days, or until an appeal hearing is held, for riders who engage in violent, seriously disruptive or illegal conduct.
This conduct could include, but is not limited to:
- Threats of physical harm to other passengers, operators or other service personnel
- Physical assault or battery of operators or other passengers
- Verbal abuse, intimidation or altercation with operators or other passengers
- Unlawful harassment of the operator and/or other passengers, including but not limited to unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical behavior having sexual or racial connotations
- Unauthorized use of, or willful damage to, vehicle equipment
- Repeatedly violating the rules posted inside of TAPS vehicles, including smoking on the vehicle, standing while the vehicle is in motion, eating or drinking on the vehicle without valid a medical reason, defacing equipment or refusing to comply with other service requirements specified in the policies included in this document
- Any other criminal conduct defined in and/or prohibited by law
Appeal of Service Suspension
Any rider whose service is suspended may appeal the decision. Once suspended, a rider will receive an official Notice of Service Suspension from TAPS by mail. This notice will explain the specific reason(s) for, and duration of, the suspension. Should the rider wish to appeal the suspension, they must complete the Suspension of Service Appeal form and return it to TAPS within 7 calendar days from the date of the written Notice of Service Suspension. If a rider does not return the completed appeals form within 7 calendar days, the right to appeal is forfeited.
When TAPS receives an appeal, it shall be forwarded to the TAPS General Manager. Also forwarded will be any written information TAPS possesses on the events leading to the suspension. Riders may send their appeals to TAPS complaints by mail, or in person. Appeals should be directed to:
6104 Texoma Parkway
Sherman, TX 75090
Appeal letters may also be presented in person to staff at:
2001 Skyline Drive, Suite A115
Sherman, TX 75092
The General Manager or Designee will contact the Service Restriction Review Committee regarding the written appeal that has been received. Service Restriction Review Committee is made up at least three persons not employeed by TAPS or an operating subcontractor and is an unpaid volunteer. The General Manager will supply the appeal letter and other items supplied by the client to support their appeal to the Review Committee. The Review Committee will also be given all internal documentation related to the service restriction. The Review Committee will have 14 calendar days to review all information related to the service restriction and respond to the General Manager or Designee in writing of their determination regarding the service restriction. The General Manager will then notify the client in writing the outcome of the appeal. The Service Restriction will either be sustained meaning that the service restriction stands or that the service restriction is overturned meaning no restriction will take place. Should the service restriction be sustained, then the letter will inform the client of the start date of the restriction.
TAPS Animal Policy
ADA Regulations Part 37—Transportation Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Sec. 37.3 Definitions:
- “Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”
Pets are prohibited on all TAPS vehicles and transportation facilities.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are expressly precluded from qualifying as service animals under the ADA. These animals do not have special training to assist the person’s disability like service animals.
However, TAPS understands that animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals. In order for an emotional support animal to ride along, current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a licensed mental health professional stating:
- that the passenger has a mental health-related disability listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV)
- that having the animal accompany the passenger is necessary to the passenger’s mental health or treatment
- that the individual providing the assessment of the passenger is a licensed mental health professional and the passenger is under his or her professional care
- the date and type of the mental health professional’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.
Service Animals are welcome on all TAPS buses and vans. The driver may ask to confirm that your animal is a service animal and require proof of current vaccinations.
Service and Emotional Support Animal Owner Responsibilities
The rider is responsible for the care and supervision of their service animal on board. We require riders to follow these guidelines:
- Your animal must remain under your control and behave appropriately.
- Your animal must be clean, free from offensive odors and free of fleas/ticks
- Birds, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and cats must be kept in an enclosed carrier/container.
- Your animal must remain at your feet or on your lap. It may not sit on a vehicle seat.
- The animal must not be aggressive toward people or other animals.
- You are responsible for any damage or soiling caused by the animal.
System Response to Non-Compliance
A TAPS operator or employee may exclude or remove any service or emotional support animal if the service animal displays disruptive, vicious, or aggressive behavior or constitutes a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
In the alternative, a TAPS operator ¬may¬ require any disabled patron who does not comply with this policy to disembark the paratransit vehicle or leave a transportation facility, and TAPS shall transport the patron and their service animal to their destination separately.
Service or emotional support animals that are disruptive, threatening or intimidating will be handled in a case-by-case discipline process.
TAPS Mobility Device Policy
TAPS vehicles are lift-equipped and will accommodate mobility devices, such as wheel-chairs, scooters, and walkers, provided the devices fit within the ADA specified boarding envelope. Larger devices may not qualify due to lift capacity and interior vehicle configuration.
- All drivers are trained to operate the lift and are required to secure you after boarding.
- Riders are required to use seat belts.
- All wheelchairs must be secured.
- Boarding while standing on the lift is allowed when requested by a rider.
- TAPS can request that a rider transfer from a mobility device into a vehicle seat, but the passenger has the final decision as to whether a transfer is appropriate given the passenger’s particular disability.
- TAPS is not responsible for any damage to mobility devices that occurs on TAPS vehicles.
TAPS reserves the right to refuse service to any client who will not allow their mobility device to be secured within the TAPS vehicle.
Texoma Area Paratransit System provides demand response service with a curb to curb policy as well a no back policy, however, TAPS will make reasonable modifications of its policy upon request from individuals that would otherwise be unable to use the service. Reasonable modifications will be denied based on the following.
The request will:
- Fundamentally alter the nature of the entity’s transit service
- Create a direct threat to the health or safety of others
- Without the requested modification, the individual with a disability is able to fully use the transit agency’s services, program, or activities for their intended purpose
- Granting the request would cause an undue financial or administrative burden
If there are any questions regarding this policy, please contact Shellie Cherry at 903-357-4014.
Updated on December 11, 2020