Washington County Mini Bus

Washington County Mini Bus, transportation service for Washington County Iowa. 

WASHINGTON COUNTY MINI BUS RIDER'S GUIDE

Welcome to Washington County Mini Bus, a transportation service jointly funded by, Washington, Washington County, the State of Iowa and Federal Departments of Transportation through East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG).

Washington County Mini Bus Vision: To provide service in a friendly, efficient, affordable manner within regulations.

Washington County Mini Bus Mission Statement: Washington County Mini Bus is available to provide safe, dependable, transportation for all persons county wide.

THE MINI BUS STAFF

The Mini Bus staff is here to serve you and is committed to:

  • Taking your request for service
  • Seeking to accommodate your needs for transportation    
    The Mini Bus staff is one of our greatest assets. We have a core of committed, dedicated staff who are ready to serve you.

SERVICE SCHEDULES AND FARES

The details of services are available at the Washington County Mini Bus office and on our website http://washingtoncountyminibus.squarespace.com. The Mini bus reserves the right to change these details. Any major changes will be open to public comment and published.

Our operations maybe limited due to availability of vehicles, drivers, program guidelines and a budget which is only partially funded by rider's fees and is subsidized from County, City, State and Federal funds which are subject to change.

During severe weather conditions, transportation services may need to be canceled. Cancellations will be announced on local media including the local radio station.

Payment is expected when boarding the vehicle unless prior arrangements have been approved with the Mini Bus office. Punch tickets may be purchased from the driver or at the office. The cost for a ticket is $25.00 which allows for ten rides at $2.50 a trip within any city in Washington County.

REGULAR SERVICE HOURS:

MONDAY - FRIDAY: 7:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

THURSDAY EVENINGS: 5:00 P.M. - 9 P.M. by advance appointment and availability

SATURDAY: CLOSED

SUNDAY: 8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. by advance appointment and availability

HOLIDAYS/CLOSED - New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

During severe weather conditions, transportation services may need to be canceled. Cancellations will be announced on local media, including the local radio station (Radio-KCII, Television- KCRG).

Payment is expected when boarding the vehicle unless prior arrangements have been approved with the Mini Bus office. Punch tickets may be purchased from the driver or at the office. The cost for a ticket is $25.00 which allows for ten rides at $2.50 a trip with in any city in Washington County.

how to request a ride

Call (319)653-2853                                                                                                                                                                        Call 1-800-735-2942 (Hearing impaired - Iowa Relay)

This phone is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

When making reservations with the Washington County Mini Bus if you need to be transported out of town, we will need at least 24 hour notice, to accommodate the ride.

Mini Bus may provide same-day service on a space available basis only.

In order to serve you and others, you are asked to give the reservation operator the following information when requesting to travel.         

  • Riders Name
  •  Exact pick-up address.
  • Exact drop-off address.
  • Time to be picked up and dropped off.
  • Date of trip
  • Whether an attendant will be accompanying the rider (attendant may ride free)
  • Whether a mobility device will be used and type of device.
  • Whether a service animal will be used.

  The rider should also have pen and paper to write down the operator's name, date(s) or trip(s) and trip times. It would be helpful for the rider to confirm this information prior to hanging up.

Due to the number of trips requested, the Mini Bus may not be able to provide you with a ride for the exact time requested. The Mini Bus will always attempt to schedule rides as effectively as possible. We will make every effort to accommodate you. Negotiating times allows for us to provide rides to more individuals who need transportation. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Usually, the heaviest demand is from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

When scheduling a ride, you should be aware of the fact that the ride may take as long as 60 minutes and there will likely be others sharing the vehicle with you.

The reservation operator will give you a pick-up time. This means that you need to be ready to be picked up with in a window of ten minutes. This means that you need to be ready to be picked up from the beginning of that time period to the end of that time period. The driver cannot wait for more than five minutes so they can serve others and stay on schedule. Every minute a driver waits delays the service for everyone else, so please be ready.

how to cancel a ride

Call (319)653-2853

It is important to cancel your ride early. Others may not be able to get a ride if you have a late cancel.

The phone is staffed with employees Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.  There is a voice mail system after hours and holidays when Mini bus is closed that allows you to leave a message.

STRANDED RIDERS

If you have a ride scheduled with the Mini Bus and your driver does not arrive within 20 minutes of your scheduled pick-up time, you should call (319)653-2853 to find out when to expect the driver. Since this service is a shared-ride service, other riders or circumstances outside the driver's control, can sometimes delay the driver. We will attempt to communicate to you if we are running behind schedule.

POLICIES

The Washington County Mini Bus has adopted a set of policies. It is recognized that there will always be exception to any of these rules.

You will be kept informed of all changes in our operations and policies. To ensure that we can meet your transportation needs efficiently you will need to advise us of any changes in your transportation needs as soon as possible.

Fares: Riders must pay when boarding the vehicle (unless prior arrangements have been made with the Transit Manager).

Seat Belts: Riders utilizing mobility devices are required to us a lap belt when loading or unloading from the vehicle. All riders are required to use a seat belt when riding in a Mini Bus vehicle unless medical authorization is provided. The rider must understand that Washington County Mini Bus is not responsible for their safety in case of an accident when not wearing a seat belt.

Required Assistant at the Drop Off Location: In those cases where the rider requires someone to meet them and that rider can not be left unattended the rider or care provider arranging the ride will need to let the scheduler know at the time the rider is being scheduled. If there is no one to meet him/her at the drop off location the following actions will take place:

The rider may be taken back to their original pick-up location if the driver's schedule permits. The rider may have to remain on the vehicle and the driver will continue with the route schedule until able to return to the drop-off location (if there is someone there to meet them) or the rider's original pick-up location. If there is a care provider or agency, they will be contacted to notify them of the inability to deliver that individual to the requested drop off location. In addition, Mini Bus will discuss what action is able to be done at the time to resolve the issue and to prevent this type of incident in the future.

Mobility Devices/Common Wheelchair: Wheelchairs and scooters must have working brakes and no leaking batteries. For safety reasons riders with scooters are advised to transfer to a seat in the vehicle. The maximum lift platform requirements are 30 inches wide by 48 inches in length. Over sized or overweight mobility devices may not be accommodated on some of the Mini Bus lifts based on manufacture's specifications.

Lift Operation: Wheelchairs and similar mobility devices should have properly working brake systems, which will be engaged during transit. For safety reasons, it is requested that electric-powered devices be backed onto lifts and that power be turned off during transport.

Lifts are available to all riders who request it.

Medication and other medical needs: Riders who require medication or oxygen at regular interval should be advised that their travel time could be up to 60 minutes and on occasion longer. Drivers cannot administer medical assistance or assist in administration of medication. Anyone using oxygen must be accompanied by an attendant, unless their tank is mounted to the chair securely. All Medical equipment, such as a respirator or portable oxygen tank, must be properly secured during transit.

Special Assistance:  A qualified assistant must accompany any rider needing special assistance with a mobility device or medication/medical needs.

Personal Care Attendants and Companions:  Personal care attendants (PCAs) can travel with disabled riders free of charge. Companions are also permitted as availability allows, each companion pays the same as the rider does. Please let the scheduler know if you will be traveling with a personal care attendant or companion.

Service Animals: Guide dogs and other service animals must remain under control of their owner while traveling.

Food & Drink: Open food and drink containers are not allowed on the vehicles.

Additional Fee:  there will be an additional $15.00/hour charge for any trip that would require the need fora driver coming in before regular business hours or working after regular business hours. In order to ensure that you do not encounter this charge, please try to make all out of town appointments in the morning and early afternoon. This will help us make sure that the riders and drivers are all back within regular business hours. Your cooperation on this will be greatly appreciated.

Carry-On Package Procedure: This policy is meant to reasonably limit the time and weight of carry-on items to prevent injury or unreasonable delay and provide a safe environment for all Mini Bus passengers.

Any item that is too large to see around and/or too awkward for one person to carry through the vehicle doorway without continued readjustments will not be transported. Mini Bus will transport only what the passenger (along with their companions or attendant) can carry on the vehicle in one trip with a maximum of ten plastic grocery bags to a total weight of twenty-five pounds. Items transported on Mini Bus will be the sole responsibility of the rider.

Riders will have to take the responsibility of having the packages that are not allowed on a Mini Bus vehicle delivered to their home by other means.

RIDER CONDUCT

Please remember that your conduct affects the safety of others.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the safety and comfort of the riders on the Washington County Mini Bus. This policy applies to all services.

The Mini bus is concerned about the safety and comfort of its riders and drivers. For this reason, violent, illegal or seriously disruptive conduct is not allowed in the vehicle. this includes the behavior of service animals and pets, as well as the riders. Section 37.125 and 37.5 of the Federal Register, Title 22 Park IV, Department of Transportation, 49 CRF allows para-transit service to be refused or provided conditionally for a customer who engages in violent, illegal or seriously disruptive conduct or behavior.

THESE BEHAVIORS MAY RESULT IN THE IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF RIDING PRIVILEGES.

Service may not be refused to an individual with disabilities solely because the individuals' disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior (sounds or actions) that may offend annoy or inconvenience the Mini Bus driver or other riders.

Riding privileges may also be suspended due to missed rides.

MISSED RIDES POLICY:

Purpose: To educate riders and reduce costs for missed rides

Procedure: The rider must notify the Mini Bus office to cancel their ride at least one hour before their pick-up time. Anytime the rider does not notify dispatch at least one hour prior to their pick-up time, the trip will be considered a missed ride. If the rider feels that the missed ride was out of the rider's control, they must call the office and give an explanation before their next scheduled ride. Mini Bus staff will determine if the ride is an excused or unexcused missed ride at this time.

Riders who have a pattern of missed trips adversely impact everyone. If these scheduled rides were canceled in a timely manner, they could be utilized by other riders. Consequently, to protect the interests of all riders a policy was developed to penalize riders who consistently abuse the system by not using the rides they have scheduled.

A rider may accrue no more than three no-shows during any single calendar month.

* 3rd No-Show in single calendar month. A warning letter will be initiated after the rider's third no-show to alert the rider and/or the care provider that a fourth no-show constitutes a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips and that another no-show could result in the loss of service.
*4th No-Show in calendar month. Penalty Assessed. If a rider has four (4) no-shows in any single calendar month, a penalty shall be imposed which will be a suspension of service for one week. The rider and/or care provider will receive a notice by mail advising him/her that their service will be suspended effective the first month, which begins more than 30 calendar days after the notice, is mailed. For example, if the notice of suspension is mailed on February 20, the suspension will begin on April 1st. During the 30-day period, the rider may appeal the suspension.
* Per FTA guidelines, Washington County Mini Bus cannot collect fare from a rider in order to excuse a No Show. However, if you wish to pay a penalty for the cost of each missed ride in order to avoid suspension, you can contact the Washington County Mini Bus office for more information.

APPEAL PROCESS

A rider who has been notified that their Mini Bus services will be suspended may appeal the decision.

The rider must provide a written request to appeal the decision within one week. This should be mailed to Washington County Mini Bus, 1010 West 5th St., Washington, IA 52353. If the decision by the Washington County Mini Bus administration is unacceptable, you may continue to the Washington County Mini Bus Board of Directors.

The Mini Bus Board of Directors will hear the appeal. The rider and/or others representing the rider may come before the Mini Bus Board to present written and oral information. All relevant Mini Bus records and personnel will be made available to the rider and his/her representative(s). A rider who requires the records in an alternative format may request them either in the appeals letter, by telephone or other electronic means.

After receiving and reviewing all information related to the suspension, the Mini Bus Board of Directors shall be empowered to take such action, s it believes to be appropriate in the case. The decision of the Mini Bus board of Directors will be final.

TITLE VI

Washington County Mini Bus does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, disability, religion, color, sex or national origin. Services are open to the general public, including persons with disabilities, as required by the American with Disability Act (ADA). For more information on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 call the US Commission Civil Rights at (202) 376-7700 or TTY (202)376-8116.
To request additional information on Washington County Mini Bus's non-discrimination obligations or to file a Title VI complaint, please submit your request or complaint in writing to the Mini Bus Transit Manager at 1010 W 5th St. Washington, Iowa 52353, email-washminibus@gmail.com by phone 319-652-2853.

Please direct any questions, comments or complaints to the Transit Manager at the Mini Bus office: Phone #: 319-653-2853. Email: washminibus@iowatelecom.net

WASHINGTON COUNTY MINI BUS SCHOOL POLICY

Washington County Mini Bus is pleased to be of service in assisting you with your transportation needs foryour child. Our policies have been established with your child's well-being in mind. We appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that these policies are followed. We plan on having scheduled rides established, but due to circumstances beyond our control i.e. other riders changing schedules and locations, sometimes these rides need to be altered. Due to the fact that any delay waiting for a child will cause delays in all scheduled rides, your child needs to be ready and watching for the bus; we are only able to wait a couple of minutes when the bus arrives at the location. This could be early or a little after your scheduled pickup time. We try to ensure that buses run on time, but we need everyone's cooperation to make this happen.

We will need informational paperwork completed with signatures before the child will be able to be scheduled.

NOTIFYING ABOUT CHANGE OF PICKUP OR DROP OFF

If there are any changes in your child's ride, the Mini Bus needs to be notified of the change as early as possible but no later than one hour before their pick up time. Rides are set and running for the day by 7 a.m. and changes affect all other riders. Four the safety of your child the person making the change will be required to give us the child's ID number, their name and the exact location of the new address.

WAITING ON CHILDREN

When children are late getting on the bus, it makes that bus late for the rest of the riders. This in turn makes everyone late to their destination. If you don't call in and cancel the ride you will be charged a "NO SHOW"(cost of a ride). If your child misses the bus we will not be able to return to pick up your child until all other rides are completed and we have a free bus to come get them. It may be after 9:00 a.m. before we are able to complete this ride. This same rule will be in effect for rides after school. We won't be able to come back until we have a free bus.

MINI BUS' RESPONSIBILITY ENDS WHEN THE CHILD GETS OFF THE BUS

You or your child's caregiver must be watching for the bus. It is your responsibility and not the Mini Bus to make sure someone is home when dropping off your child. We will wait and watch the child get into the home, if the driver can see the door from their position. The driver will not be allowed to leave the bus for any reason, with other children aboard.

BEHAVIOR ON THE BUS

We cannot tolerate unruly behavior or foul language on the bus. The first incident, the child's parent will be called for a warning. The second incident, the child will not be allowed to ride the bus. The Transit Manager will make the decision on how long the child will be suspended from riding.

SEAT BELTS
Our policy is that all children will use their seat belts. We would appreciate it, if your child could buckle and unbuckle his/her own seat belt before riding the bus. We will only be responsible for your child being buckled in before we start the ride.

PAYMENT
The current cost is $2.50 each way withing the towns of Washington, Kalona, Riverside, Ainsworth and Wellman. The cost of transportation will change for rides outside of the city limits. You may call the office and ask what the amount would be for transportation outside of the city limits. Rides need to be paid in advance unless other arrangements have been made with the Mini Bus office. We do require prepayment of $50.00 to begin transportation. If an account falls into debt, the child's transportation will be discontinued until payment is received. You may call the office at 319-653-2853 any time to ask for the balance of your account. If an account has not had any activity for six months it will be closed. If a payment is given to the driver, PLEASE PUT THE PAYMENT IN A SEALED ENVELOPE WITH THE CHILD'S NAME ON THE FRONT.

Please direct any questions, comments or complaints to the Transit Manager at the Mini Bus office.