Pacific Stroke Association


Getting Started Summary Guide for Using Public Paratransit in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties

Following a stroke, the loss of independence can be one of the most life-altering effects that a survivor must overcome. A key contributor to the loss of independence is the inability to drive after a stroke. Being able to participate in life’s normal activities is essential to healing after a stroke.  The ability to independently attend rehabilitation classes, support groups, go to a doctor appointment, get a haircut, go shopping or meet friends for lunch contributes significantly to recovery.

The Pacific Stroke Association (PSA) understands the importance of independence to stroke survivors and their caregivers.  Door-to-exterior door, affordable transportation helps to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation process after stroke.

In exploring transportation options for PSA’s stroke community in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, we learned that many disabled riders who cannot drive use reasonably-priced public paratransit for door-to-exterior door service during the same hours and days of the week that bus and light rail trains operate. Paratransit services can be used for any purpose.  Pick up and drop off locations are determined by the rider’s proximity to existing bus and transportation lines.  Refer to the service provider coverage maps on their websites for details.  The public paratransit providers in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are listed below:


Santa Clara:

San Mateo:

The paratransit driver will come to the outermost exterior door and escort the rider to the vehicle and vice versa for drop off.  In certain instances of convenience, the driver will accompany the rider into the lobby and ensure that a responsible party receives the rider. the driver’s schedule allots up to 5 minutes for pick up or drop off


  • Disabled riders must qualify for paratransit ridership based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Eligibility is defined by ADA standards and must first be established prior to scheduling a ride.
  • In Santa Clara County, a simple application form must be completed that asks for basic information about a rider’s primary disability or limiting condition and whether the rider uses any mobility aids or specialized equipment.  The application forms can be obtained through the general contact information provided above.  After submitting the application form, a subsequent short follow-up telephone interview is conducted to determine presumptive eligibility.  Normally, formal eligibility is granted within 21 days and a Paratransit Identification Card is issued soon after.
  • In San Mateo County, SamTrans uses an in-person evaluation process.  Evaluation appointments can be scheduled by calling (650) 366-4856.
  • A rider needs only to apply for eligibility in one county.  The paratransit eligibility is transferrable to adjacent counties.  Intercounty eligibility must be requested and when granted runs concurrently with eligibility in the rider’s home county.
  • Both paratransit providers, VTA Access and SamTrans, offer classes and/or individual training to riders on how to best use their services.  For details call the general information numbers listed at the top of this guide.

Scheduling a Ride:

  • VTA Access Paratransit rides in Santa Clara County can be scheduled by telephone daily between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  From locations in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills call (800) 894-9908.  The number to call for all other Santa Clara County locations is (408) 321-2300.  Reservations for rides can be made one to three days in advance.
  • SamTrans Redi-Wheels/RediCoast rides in San Mateo County can be scheduled up to seven days in advance by calling the number shown on the rider’s Paratransit Identification Card.  Reservations can be made daily between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.    For more information and to apply for your ridership card contact Redi-Wheels (650-508-6241)
  • A frequent rider with regularly scheduled destinations can opt into a subscription program available in both counties, whereby rides are scheduled automatically.

Inter-County Transfers:

Because paratransit providers serve only individual counties, destinations in adjacent counties require a transfer between providers.  For example, Redi-Wheels is the authority for trips destined for San Mateo County and East Bay Paratransit Consortium manages service for Alameda County destinations.

Logistically, a rider originating in Santa Clara County, but destined for San Mateo County, takes VTA Access Paratransit to a predetermined transfer location on the border of the two counties where the transfer is made.

The transfer point for VTA Access Paratransit and Redi-Wheels is located outside the lobby door of the Stanford University Hospital at 300 Pasteur Drive in Palo Alto.

Redi-Wheels also serves Santa Clara County north of Embarcadero Road with notable stops in Palo Alto:  Veterans Administration Medical Center, Stanford Medical Center and the REACH Program in Palo Alto.


  • VTA Access Paratransit:  $4 one-way or $8 per round trip regardless of destination within service area (same-day reservations cost $16 per leg)
  • SamTrans Redi-Wheels/RediCoast:  $4.25 one-way or $8.50 per round trip regardless of destination within service area
  • Inter-County Trips:  Each leg incurs a fee  (for example, round trip Santa Clara County to San Mateo County would require an $8 payment to VTA Access Paratransit and $8.50 to Redi-Wheels).

*Note 1:  A personal care attendant can accompany the rider for no extra charge.

*Note 2:  Fare subsidies are available for qualifying low income riders.  Call the paratransit provider for details.

Hope this information is helpful. For feedback and input, write to

Acknowledgement: The foregoing information about paratransit transportation has been compiled with the help of Wen Eng, Duncan McNamara & Victoria Thoits.