Transportation is important to all of us. It is how we get to work, shop, dine, see family and friends, and have fun in our communities.
Many people with developmental disabilities use public transportation, or private ride services like taxis. But others depend on rides from family and friends to get around. These options make people less independent and more dependent on other’s schedules. These options limit where, when, and how people get where they want to go.
It is important for those with developmental disabilities and those that support them to know of Minnesota’s transportation options that can help increase community access.
This Arc Guide will share various transportation options available to people with developmental disabilities in Minnesota and how to access them.
In the seven-county metropolitan area, the Metropolitan Council operates public transportation. Scattered throughout the rest of the state are smaller public transportation options, including Rochester Public Transit, St. Cloud Metro Bus, Duluth Transit Authority, and STRIDE Services. Please contact your city or county for public transportation options in your area.
Dakota County Transportation Resources
Dakota County has created a transportation resource guide for its residents. Please review the guide here. They also have a travel training program for anyone interested in learning how to use county public transportation and residents can learn more about that program here.
Services operated by Metropolitan Council
Metro Transit Buses and Light Rail
Metro Transit operates the metro’s busing and light rail system. Metro Transit offers free how-to-ride presentations by one of their Customer Advocates. They can train potential riders on how to read bus schedules, identify routes, and utilize buses. Access Metro Transit’s “How to ride the bus” video here or contact one of the Customer Advocates here. To plan your trip, purchase bus passes, and to access other rider resources go to the Metro Transit website.
Metro Transit’s shared-ride paratransit service is called Metro Mobility. This service is available for those who are eligible based on their disability and who cannot ride fixed-route transit. Applicants must complete a two-part paper application for certification. Certifications can either be temporary based on disability status or permanent. Renewals are required, however, and often coincide with state-issued ID renewals. Please review service and eligibility details by reading the Metro Mobility Service Guide or visiting the Metro Mobility website.
This option is Metro Transit’s dial-a-ride service. This service is open to the public in the seven-county metro where regular route transit is not available. Each trip includes a fare and each county operates Transit Link services differently. Please read the Transit Link User Guide and review your county’s Transit Link service here.
Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) or Ride-sharing
These include services offered by companies such as Lyft and Uber. Both have limited accessible transportation options and operate via mobile apps.
The Lyft app allows passengers with accessibility needs to enable Access Mode. In certain markets, when Access Mode is enabled, passengers may request a vehicle that is specially outfitted to accommodate wheelchairs. In markets where those vehicles are not available, information regarding local services will be sent directly to the passenger via text message when the ride is requested.
Lyft offers an access mode feature on their mobile app that will dispatch accessible vehicles when available. Find out more here.
Uber has various accessibility-related services available to riders and drivers. To learn more about Uber’s accessibility options, click here.
Mobility 4 All
This is a new service in Minnesota that operates like other ridesharing companies, but is specifically for people with disabilities. This means that all vehicles are accessible and each driver is trained to support passengers with disabilities. The program is in a pilot phase with NewTrax, a local non-profit transportation provider. Learn more about the program and the pilot here.
Increasingly, taxicab companies are offering accessible vans. In Minneapolis, there are 5 taxicab companies that offer accessible vans in their fleets. These companies include Airport Taxi, Yellow Taxi, Minneapple Taxi, and La Mexicana Taxi Cab. Please contact those providers for more info. If you live elsewhere in the metro, please ask your taxicab company if they offer accessible vans.
Some people with developmental disabilities obtain their driver’s license and own and/or operate a vehicle for personal use. For those that want to learn how to drive, a driving assessment can be conducted through Courage-Kenny. The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living also offers similar services through their Independent Living Skills Program.
Minnesota Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
This is a medical transportation service offered by MTM, Inc., for those on Medical Assistance in the 10 county metro area. For more information, call 866-467-1724.