We Keep You Mobile
Try Our Care-a-Van Service
CARTA Care-A-Van service is available to residents and visitors in CARTA’s service area who due to injury, illness or functional incapacity of a temporary or permanent nature, are unable to use CARTA’s fixed route transit vehicles. Visitors to our city will need documentation that they are ADA paratransit eligible in the jurisdiction in which they reside. CARTA will provide service to a visitor for a minimal of 21 days during a 365-day period. Care-A-Van service requires an application and may require a physician’s statement on request to verify eligibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Care-A-Van operates daily with special schedules on holidays. In order to accommodate as many riders as possible, advance notice is requested for scheduling Care-A-Van trips. Reservations are accepted on a next-day basis. However, Care-A-Van makes every effort to accommodate “on-demand” trips.
Hours of Operation
- Monday through Friday -4:40 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
- Saturday – 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
- Sunday – 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Holiday schedules are observed on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Care-A-Van does not operate on Easter or Christmas Day.
- One Way: $2.50
- Round Trip: $5.00
Eligibilitiy Under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Applicants for CARTA’s Care-A-Van paratransit service meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) qualifications must qualify in one of three categories for service eligibility.
Because applicant is unable to board, ride or disembark from an accessible fixed route bus. Cannot use fixed route bus service because of impairment(s).
Because applicant is able to use an accessible fixed route bus, but accessible vehicles are not available.
Because applicant is unable to travel to a bus stop because of impairment(s).
If you are approved as an ADA Eligible rider, you will be sent a certification card as documentation. Individuals considered to be ADA Eligible can use this identification in other cities to receive paratransit service. This does not entitle you to free transportation. Fares are charged for each trip. For additional information or for further clarification, please call CARTA Care-A-Van at 423-698-9038.
Scheduling a Trip
Once you have received notification of eligibility for Care-A-Van service, contact the Care-A-Van office to schedule your trips. In order to accommodate as many riders as possible, advance notice is requested for scheduling Care-A-Van trips. Reservations are accepted on a next day basis. However, Care-A-Van will make every effort to accommodate “on-demand” trips. Trips may be scheduled up to two weeks in advance.
Reservations may be made during the regular Care-A-Van office hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Reservations on Sundays and holidays may be made by calling the Care-A-Van office and leaving a message for the receptionist. The receptionist will return your call after 8 a.m. the following service day.
- Telephone: 423-698-9038
- Fax: 423-698-8555
Relay Service 711
The State of Tennessee provides a free, state-wide assisted relay service at 711 so people who use text telephone (TTY) or other assisted device are able to have phone conversations with people who do not have TTY numbers.
This confidential service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the United States. There is no charge to either person in the conversation. Since operators who answer use voice and TTY, dialing 711 works whether or not the person placing the call is using a TTY.
Outside of the state, Tennessee residents may call the following numbers:
The CARTA Care-A-Van Client Policy has been developed with the guidance of the CARTA Care-A-Van Advisory Commission for Accessible Transportation. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us provide more efficient transportation by familiarizing yourself with and following these policies. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions to make our service more accessible, please contact our office.
Clients must have a completed, approved and current ADA Eligibility Application on file at the Care-A-Van office.
One way trips are $2.50 each, $5.00 each for round trips, payable at the time of service. There is no charge for children under six (6) years of age or an approved Personal Care Attendant (escorts). All children under four (4) years of age traveling with a client must be in a client provided child restraint seat. The fee for children under six (6) and under sixteen (16) years of age is $0.50 each way. All additional adult non-escort passengers are required to pay the appropriate fee when transportation is rendered.
Payment Policy: All clients are expected to pay their fares at the time of transportation, unless billing arrangements have been made through the Care-A-Van office. Payment should be received no later than thirty (30) days after receiving your bill. If payment has not been received after thirty (30) days, client scheduling privileges may be temporarily suspended until the payment is received.
Clients may schedule rides up to two (2) weeks in advance. A minimum of 24 hours advance notice is requested for scheduling trips. Care-A-Van will make every effort to accommodate “on demand” same day trips. Care-A-Van should never be used for emergency trips. In case of an emergency call 911 immediately. Clients are requested to be ready for pick up fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled pick up time and/or fifteen (15) minutes after the scheduled pick up time. Due to Care-A-Van bus schedules, drivers are only permitted to wait for five (5) minutes after the scheduled arrival time, before leaving the pickup location. However, you should contact the dispatcher if you’re experiencing delays to see if a different arrangement can be made. Clients may not alter a scheduled destination after pick up unless previously cleared with the dispatcher. Stops between pick up and drop off locations are not permitted unless previously scheduled with the dispatcher.
Care-A-Van service is a “door-to-door” service but will provide ADA required “origin to destination” services upon request to any rider as needed. Care-A-Van drivers will assist clients aboard the vehicle. Drivers may only assist clients in and out of wheelchairs to the extent which allows them to transfer to a van seat. Drivers are not allowed to enter a client’s residence. Vehicles will not enter any area (i.e. narrow driveway less than 16 ft. wide, steel hills or slopes greater than 8.33% or 1” of fall to 12” of length – lifts can only be deployed on flat surfaces), without turn around space, no unpaved or rough or soft surfaces, low overhands (less than 10’ + top clearance, etc.) where in the drivers and/or safety supervisors opinion that unsafe conditions exist for the client, driver, or damage that may occur to the vehicle or personal property. The drivers are not allowed to enter any area where they have to back the vehicle into or out of a client’s pick up or drop off location. If your pick up or drop off location is affected by this policy, Care-A-Van will work with you to arrange an alternative pick up or drop off location. Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request.
Clients must provide their own wheelchairs and/or mobility devices. Each mobility device must be secured in the vehicle with a four (4) point, tie-down and suggested lap/shoulder restraint belt system. All Care-A-Van clients are asked to wear a seat belt while aboard the vehicle. Clients are only allowed to stand at their own risks.
Clients are responsible for providing safe & negotiable exterior surfaces for wheelchairs and ambulatory clients. Clients who use wheelchairs are responsible for providing safe, sturdy (built according to regulations – 1” of fall to 12” of length), and non-skid surface ramps.
Family members or friends must assist clients if no ramp is available. Drivers are not allowed to lift a wheelchair due to risk of injury to the client and/or driver.
If a client needs to cancel a ride, he/she must do so by calling the dispatcher at the Care-A-Van office at least one hour before the van is scheduled to arrive. If the driver arrives to the pickup location before the client calls, the client will be subject to a “NO SHOW.” There is no payment penalty for a NO-SHOW. In order for all clients to get to their appointments on-time it is extremely important to cancel unwanted rides. All phone calls are recorded. Please note the time, date, and person you spoke with if you call to cancel a ride.
If a client requires a Personal Care Attendant (escort), the client is responsible for providing such escort. The escort may ride at no charge, but the escort must be picked up at the client’s location and dropped off at the same destination as the client. Drivers are not permitted to carry packages or groceries. Clients are only allowed those packages which they or their escorts can carry. All packages must be secured on the vehicle. Clients needing assistance with groceries MUST have an escort to ride with and assist them. Travel luggage is permitted.
Clients who are on the “call back” schedule are expected to be at the arranged pick up location, unless different arrangements have been made.
A trained service animal (dog or mini-horse) will be allowed to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of any client as needed. Any other service animal must be approved by the ADA Coordinator.
No smoking or eating is allowed on the vehicles at any time. No abusive physical or verbal behavior toward the drivers or other passengers will be tolerated. Such occurrences may result in an offending client being removed from the vehicle and suspended from riding. For the health of the clients and welfare of fellow passengers, good hygiene is required at all times.
Care-A-Van is a public transit service. Due to heavy volume of clients wishing to ride, it may be necessary to combine your trip along with several other client trips. We will make every effort to accommodate your trip in the timeliest, safe, adnd efficient manner possible without subjecting any client to an extended travel time or waiting period.
We ask your patience and for you to be aware that our vehicles are subject to the same traffic conditions and road hazards which cause traffic delays and detours for private vehicles, and may delay our schedules beyond our control.
The CARTA Care-A-Van Advisory Commission for Accessible Transportation consists of individuals who represent consumers, advocates and agencies in the community. The Advisory Commission works in an advisory and cooperative capacity with CARTA and consumers.
The Commission meets monthly to advise, innovate and effect changes for the on going transit benefits of the disabled populace of the greater Chattanooga Area and serve as an appeals board for CARTA as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Commission’s perpetual objective is to improve the quality of life and independence for people with disabilities through accessible transportation. Clients have the right to appeal within sixty (60) days after the eligibility process to CARTA’s Executive Director, Lisa Maragnano, 1617 Wilcox Boulevard, Chattanooga, TN 37406 or call at 423-629-1411. The appeal decisions are made in conjunction with CARTA Advisory Commission Board Members. During the complaint and appeal process, Care-a-van will provide transportation, if doing so does not present a direct threat to the health or safety of others. CARTA will give the complainant the opportunity to be heard and present arguments.
All are welcome to attend Commission meetings. Contact the Care-A-Van office for more information.
Download a PDF Care-A-Van application:
Fill out the online Care-a-Van Rider’s ADA application
CARTA has a Travel Trainer on staff. For further information please contact this person here or call 423-629-1411 and ask for the Travel Trainer.
If you are denied transportation and wish to appeal the decision, you must do so within 60 days from the date of denial. All appeals should be sent to: Lisa Maragnano, Executive Director, 1617 Wilcox Blvd. Chattanooga, TN 37406.