What is Paratransit Service?
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), CATS offers paratransit services to individuals who, because of a disability (physical, cognitive or visual), cannot access fixed routes buses. The ADA defines eligibility for complementary Paratransit service in 49 CFR Section 37.123 of the federal regulations. CATS Paratransit is a pre-scheduled, shared-ride, origin to destination service.
Schedule My Trip
Riders must be certified to ride CATS Paratransit service. Call 704.336.2637 to schedule your trip.
What is the Paratransit Service Area?
The Paratransit service operates under the ADA law, which guarantees all trips within the system's service area. The Paratransit service area is defined as the area up to ¾ of a mile on either side of an existing fixed or local bus route. Service is available on the same days and times that the fixed-route in the area are operating.
You can be approved for Paratransit service even if your residence in not with-in the service area. Under such circumstances you would be required to be picked up and dropped off at a location that is with-in ¾'s of a mile of the service area.
When CATS makes service level changes to the fixed route bus service, there can be potential impacts to the ADA ¾ mile service area for Paratransit riders. When these changes occur, they may affect your ability to receive our services from your residence or to a desired drop off location.
How is eligibility determined?
If you have a disability that prevents you from using a fixed route bus, some or all trips, may be eligible for Paratransit service.
Eligibility is determined by three factors:
- Your ability to get to and from the bus stop
- Your ability to board and exit the bus
- Your cognitive ability to navigate the fixed route bus system
Operational issues that are not used to determine STS eligibility include:
- Distance to and from a bus stop
- Lack of bus service in area
- Overcrowded buses
Completing your Application
Individuals interested in applying for CATS Paratransit can receive an application via mail, fax, or completed online. To receive an application via mail or fax, contact Paratransit at 704.336.2637 and select option 3 or visit ADA Ride.
and follow the instructions to complete your application online. On your application, you will need to describe your disability and how it impacts your ability to use CATS fixed route service. Make sure that ALL questions have been answered and that the professional verification section has been by your Health care provider. If your application is not complete, it will be returned to you. After you have completed your application, you can mail your application to:
CATS Paratransit Services
901 North Davidson Street
Charlotte NC 28206
You can also fax the completed application to: 704.336.5119.
Once Paratransit receives your application, you may be contacted to schedule an appointment for an in-person interview and possibly a functional assessment.
Once your interview and assessment are complete, you will be considered either:
- Eligible to ride
- Eligible with conditions
- Ineligible to ride
Those considered as eligible to ride Paratransit service will be sent a letter of determination stating their certification and their eligibility to use CATS Paratransit service.
Applicants determined to be ineligible or eligible with conditions may appeal their evaluation. An independent panel has been established to hear appeals and does include a person with a disability.
Depending on the nature of your disability, you may be required to be certified by a functional assessment professional that you are unable to use CATS fixed routes buses. CATS staff will let you know if this assessment will be required. The new ADA regulations require that CATS transport those with disabilities who:
- Are unable to board, ride or get off an accessible bus without the assistance of someone, other than the operator of the lift or other boarding device
- Are able to board, ride and get off an accessible bus, but require transportation during a time when such a bus is not being used on a route
- Have a specific impairment-related condition that prevents them from traveling to or from a bus stop
Visitors (Non-Residents of Charlotte)
CATS Paratransit in accordance with ADA regulations will provide paratransit service to any Charlotte visitor that has been certified as ADA paratransit eligible in the jurisdiction in which they reside or documentation of residence and disability, if the disability is not apparent. Visitor status allows the use of CATS Paratransit for up to 21 days within any 365-day period.
This information can be faxed to (704) 336-5119 or emailed to
If you have any questions, please contact the Paratransit eligibility and certification office at 704.336.5055.