MetroAccess Frequently Asked Questions

For complete information about the MetroAccess service, please consult the MetroAccess Customer Guide.

What is a shared-ride service?

A shared-ride service means that when you are picked up, you may be sharing the vehicle with other customers and you may not be the first to arrive at your destination.

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Why do I always have to share a ride with other people?

MetroAccess is a shared ride public transportation service for people who are unable to use fixed-route public transit due to disability, provided in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We strive to serve as many customers as possible, and shared rides are the only way to accomplish this. Vehicle types vary depending upon the accessibility requirements of customers who may be grouped on the same manifest because of where and when they are traveling.

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What if I need more assistance than the driver can provide?

All customers have the right to travel with a personal care assistant (PCA) and should indicate their intent to do so when making a reservation. Some people have a level of disability that necessitates their use of a PCA. Customers who cannot travel safely or comfortably without being accompanied by or met by a PCA must understand that MetroAccess drivers cannot fulfill PCA duties. Some duties that may be performed by a PCA but not by a MetroAccess driver include and are not limited to:

  • Assisting a customer in removing a jacket.
  • Repositioning a customer in a wheelchair.
  • Providing physical support for a customer to walk between the vehicle and the outermost exterior door of the pick-up or destination.
  • Assisting a customer with changing oxygen canisters.
  • Traveling with or meeting a customer who cannot be left unattended at the destination.
  • Traveling with customers who cannot be left unattended for a brief time on a MetroAccess vehicle without risk to themselves or others.
  • Assisting a customer who travels with a service animal but cannot board or disembark that animal from the vehicle without assistance.
  • Unlocking and/or opening the door to a customer's private residence.
  • Assisting a customer using a wheelchair in navigating up or down any steps or curbs to or from the MetroAccess vehicle.
  • Operating the controls of an electronically operated mobility device.

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My driver always arrives early. Can the driver leave me if I'm not ready?

If your driver arrives before the pick-up window begins, he or she is only required to wait five minutes into the pick-up window. For example, if your pick-up window is from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. and the driver arrives at 7:45 or earlier, you must present yourself for boarding by 7:50 a.m. You are not required to board the vehicle until the pick-up window begins, but you may board the vehicle early if you wish.

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How can I recognize my driver?

Drivers must be in uniform with their ID card visible. If you ever have doubt about your driver's identity, call MetroAccess at 301-562-5360 and select option 2 to speak with a dispatcher (TTY 301-588-7535).

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Can I call MetroAccess for a ride to the hospital if I need immediate medical attention?

MetroAccess is not a substitute for an ambulance. If you have an emergency, please call 911.

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I don't like vans. Can I get a taxi for every trip?

MetroAccess cannot accommodate requests for any specific vehicle type. We need the flexibility to use any MetroAccess vehicle throughout the service area and assign vehicles according to operational need, not preference.

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I have never used Metrorail or Metrobus. Who can I call for help?

Training can be provided on using specific routes, stops, and stations. For more information, please call Metro's Office of ADA Policy and Planning at 202-962-1100 or TTY 202-962-2033.

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What is InstantAccess?

InstantAccess is the MetroAccess automated telephone service that allows riders to confirm or cancel their MetroAccess trips as well as access customer account information using a keypad on any touch-tone telephone. This system is available 24-hours a day at 301-562-5360 (TTY 301-588-7535). Press option 3 to confirm or cancel a trip. Press option 6 to access customer account information. Use your MetroAccess ID number as your user name and your birth date (mm/dd/yyyy) as your password (example: July 2, 1983 would be 07021983).

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How do I know when the MetroAccess driver has arrived?

Upon arriving at your pick-up location, drivers will knock on the outermost exterior door and identify themselves as "MetroAccess". Customers are to display a valid MetroAccess ID card and pay exact fare before boarding the vehicle. At public entrances, drivers may open the first exterior door to announce their arrival; however they may not enter the building. If the entrance has a second door within the location that leads to a waiting area, drivers may open the second door to announce their arrival, but will not proceed into the waiting area. Drivers are not permitted to open doors at private locations or residences. In many cases an automated call announcing your vehicle's arrival may be placed to a phone number of your choosing; however, a call cannot be guaranteed for all trips. Please be sure to be present at the outermost exterior door and be ready to board the vehicle when your pick-up window begins.

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What is the MetroAccess fare?

MetroAccess fares are based on the distance and time of day that a customer travels. The MetroAccess fare will be twice the amount of what the fare would cost on the fastest comparable trip if the same trip were taken on fixed-route transit services such as Metrobus or Metrorail up to a maximum fare of $6.50.

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How is my fare calculated?

Customers will be informed of the exact fare that they are expected to pay for a trip when they book a trip online or with a MetroAccess reservations agent. The scheduling system will automatically look within 30 minutes (15 minutes before or after) of your originally requested time of travel, and provide the lowest fare possible. If booking your trip online, the system will display the lowest fare utilizing the same parameters described above.

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What payment methods will be accepted for MetroAccess fares?

The exact fare in cash is required prior to boarding. To save time and avoid inconvenience, MetroAccess customers are encouraged to prepay for trips by phone or online using a credit or debit card with MetroAccess EZ-Pay. For more information on utilizing EZ-Pay, see EZ-Pay in the Customer Guide.

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How do I know if I am grandfathered and allowed to travel outside the ADA service area?

The MetroAccess service area was changed on July 1, 2010 to provide paratransit service to locations within 3/4 mile of fixed route transit services such as Metrobus and Metrorail during the same hours that fixed route services are available.

In an effort to continue to provide the same level of service to customers who traveled outside the ADA service area and hours between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. Metro's Board of Directors adopted a grandfathering provision to allow those customers to continue to do so.

To be grandfathered, customers must have traveled outside the ADA service area and/or between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. Please check with a MetroAccess reservations agent at 301 562-5360 to verify your status. All grandfathered trips outside the service area will be charged a supplemental fare, up to a $6.50 maximum.

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What happens if I move to a new address?

Grandfathered customers can move to a new home address and remain grandfathered, but those not grandfathered cannot become grandfathered - whether they've moved or just started needing out-of-corridor service.

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How do I know if my destination is in the ADA service area?

MetroAccess provides paratransit service to locations within 3/4 mile of fixed-route transit services such as Metrobus and Metrorail during the same hours that fixed-route services are available. Please check with a MetroAccess reservations agent at 301-562-5360 to verify if your destination is in the service area.

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What less expensive alternatives are there to MetroAccess?

MetroAccess customers who are conditionally eligible, who show a valid white MetroAccess ID, along with one companion, may ride for free on Metrorail, Metrobus, and the following regional transit providers:

  • Arlington County ART
  • Arlington STAR
  • City of Fairfax CUE Bus
  • DC Circulator
  • Fairfax Connector
  • Montgomery County Ride On
  • Prince George's County TheBus

You do not need to schedule rides in advance when using these transit systems, giving you the flexibility to travel independently and spontaneously. Using these services does not affect your eligibility to use MetroAccess.

People with disabilities who are not certified MetroAccess customers and travel on Metro's fully accessible bus and rail system can take advantage of Metro's Reduced Fare program. People with disabilities who qualify for the program pay half the regular fare on Metrobus and Metrorail. For more information on this program, contact 202-962-2700 and select option 1.

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Can drivers make a stop between trips?

No, drivers cannot make stops between trips. For the safety of the drivers and customers, personal stops are not allowed. If you request to leave the vehicle before reaching your scheduled destination, your trip will end at that location.

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Can drivers help me carry my personal luggage and bags?

Drivers may carry a limited amount of packages for the customer. Packages are not to exceed 40 pounds and should be able to be transported in a single trip to the exterior door.

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If my mobility device breaks down, can the driver fix it for me?

No, drivers cannot fix mobility devices. Customers are responsible to ensure brakes, batteries, and other parts of their mobility devices are in good working condition.

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How can I find out more about traveling on Metrobus and Metrorail?

Metro has a free travel training program to teach people with disabilities how to travel independently on Metrobus and Metrorail. Training sessions are customized based on individual's needs. Anyone interested in scheduling a free system orientation should call 202-962-2780 or email traveltraining@wmata.com.

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