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star program user guide

Introduction

Service Area and Times

Reserving a Ride

Personal Care Attendants

Companions

Subscription Trips

Trip Confirmation

Canceling or Changing Scheduled Trips

"On-Time Trip" Service Definitions

Late Vehicle Calls

Operator Wait Time

No-Show Policy

Fares

Child Seat Policy

Wheelchair Safety

Seat Belts for Safety

Refusing Service

Severe Weather Procedures

Vehicles

STAR User Card

Comments or Concerns

Showing Appreciation

STAR Riding Guidelines

Glossary

STAR General Information Phone Numbers

 View the complete STAR User Guide


STAR logo

Introduction

The Capital District Transportation Authority is committed to providing mobility services for everyone in the Capital Region. We are proud to offer a variety of solutions, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, for those who need assistance or special accommodations. In addition to our fixed route service, CDTA offers STAR (Special Transit Available by Request), a paratransit service that provides origin to destination transportation, on an advance reservation basis, for people with disabilities who are not able to ride a regular fixed-route bus. STAR is available in areas where CDTA's regular route service is provided.


To familiarize riders with our STAR service, CDTA offers a monthly orientation. The orientation begins with a trip on a CDTA paratransit vehicle to the CDTA offices in Albany.

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Service Area and Times

CDTA STAR service is a shared ride, meaning we may pick up other customers during your ride. STAR provides origin to destination service, running within three quarters of a mile of a CDTA fixed route on the same days and times. For example, if a CDTA bus operates Monday- Friday from 6AM - 7PM, along a specific route, STAR is available within three quarters of a mile on either side of that route during those same hours. Since STAR is a complementary service, we are not able to accommodate trip requests with origins and/or destinations beyond our current route boundaries and/or beyond the service times of the corresponding fixed route. If your trip extends beyond CDTA’s service corridor, you must arrange for transportation for that component of your trip.

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Reserving a Ride

Reservations are required for all STAR trips. Trip requests must be made no later than 5PM the day before your planned trip. Reservations may be made up to 14 days in advance during the reservation hours of 9AM to 7PM daily, 7 days a a week including holidays.

Please consider the following guidelines:
For your convenience, reservations can be made in one of three ways:

  • By Telephone - Call STAR at 518-482-2022 and choose menu option 3. (TDD 518-482-9024), daily from 9AM to 7PM.
  • By Fax – Fax the trip request to 518-437-8391 during the reservation hours, Monday through Friday only.
  • By E-Mail – E-mail the trip request to starreservations@cdta.org.

When making a reservation, please provide the following information so we can assist you:

  • Pick up location: “Where are you starting out?” (“Which door?”etc)
  • Destination: “Where are you going?” (“Which door?”etc)
  • The amount of time needed to get from the drop-off location to the destination: “How much time do you need to get from the drop-off point to your destination?” Note: Trip reservations sent by fax or e-mail are officially confirmed only after a STAR reservationist calls you to confirm.
  • Identity mobility aid: “Do you use a mobility aid?” “What type of device is it?”
  • PCA or companion: “Will a PCA or companion be riding with you?”
  • If a companion is riding: “Is the companion a child? Is the child under the age of 12? Is the child under the age of 4?
  • Return trip: “Will you be returning?” If ‘yes’, be sure that information required above is applied to the return trip. Special instructions: “Are there any special instructions that we should give the driver? (i.e. If assistance is needed from the door it must be confirmed at time of reservation.)
  • All contact numbers related to this trip: cell phone, home and/or office number.

STAR will commit to providing you with a pick-up time within one hour before or one hour after your initial pick-up time request, as allowed by the ADA. While making telephone STAR trip reservations, STAR reservationists will attempt to arrange for a pick-up time as close as possible to the one requested. Please make sure your reservationist has accurate information about time constraints, such as when a class or your workday begins or ends.

In the event that STAR is fully-booked at the requested pick-up time, reservationists will then attempt to arrange an alternate pick-up time within one hour before or one hour after the initially-requested pick-up time.

The return trip (for round trips) or subsequent trips in a multi-destination trip should be requested at the same time the first pick-up is planned. Please anticipate the latest possible time for the return trip pick-up, keeping in mind the allowable 25-minute STAR pick-up time frame, (scheduled time plus 25 minutes).

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Personal Care Attendants

Some STAR customers require someone, other than a companion, who can provide personal assistance. These Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) may accompany customers on trips, as long as the PCA takes exactly the same trip as the customer, boarding and alighting at the same place and time. Drivers will wait for PCAs under the same policy as they would wait for a customer. PCAs are not charged a fare. PCA accompaniment must be confirmed when making a trip reservation.

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Companions

STAR customers may bring other “companions,” using the same PCA guidelines as above, with two exceptions: A request for two or more companions is subject to space availability. Companions over 6 years of age are charged the same fare as the customer. As part of each trip request, a STAR customer must inform the reservation agent if he or she plans to bring along one or more companions.

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Subscription Trips

Subscription trips are pre-arranged rides, scheduled for the same times and days, and traveling between the same origins and destinations. Once the subscription trip has been arranged, passengers do not need to schedule each ride.

  • STAR provides subscription service for trips to work, work training, education, specialized medical care or other regular travel needs.
  • Subscription rides may be put on hold for a specific period of time. Please notify STAR if additional time is needed.
  • Customers are responsible for canceling any subscription trips they are not taking. For example, if you take a day off from work, you must remember to cancel that day’s trips.

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Trip Confirmation

Scheduled trip pick-up times will be confirmed at the time a reservation request is made over the phone. We will call back only in the following situations:

  • In the unlikely event when a scheduled trip request time has been changed outside the originally confirmed scheduled trip pickup time frame.
  • To confirm a reservation request that was received via fax or e-mail.

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Canceling or Changing Scheduled Trips

STAR reservationists work with you to get you where you want to go. Please help us provide the best service for everyone by informing us, in advance, of trip changes or cancellations. Change a trip, please call STAR at 518-482-2022 and immediately choose menu option 2. We are unable to change a next day trip if you call after 5:00PM the day before.

To cancel a trip, please contact the office at least 2 hours before the confirmed scheduled pick-up time.

  • More than 2 hours before pick-up: You may use the automated phone system to cancel your trips. At that time, you will be provided with a cancellation confirmation number.
  • Less than 2 hours before pick-up: You must speak with a STAR reservationist directly to get a cancellation confirmation number. You may not use the automated phone system in this instance. A trip cancelled within 2 hours of the confirmed scheduled pick-up time is considered a Late Cancel.

Late cancellations can jeopardize STAR rider status:

  • Three Late Cancels equal one No-Show.
  • Customers who are not at the location at the time of the scheduled confirmed pick-up will be charged with a No-Show for that trip.
  • Cancellations made at the door for an “on-time” pick-up will be considered a Late Cancel.
  • Cancellations made at the door on a “late” pick-up (see definition), will not be considered a violation.

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“On-Time Trip” Service Definitions

STAR makes every effort to arrive as close to the confirmed scheduled pick-up time as possible. Due to the nature of our service, arrival times may vary by as much as 25 minutes. You may be picked up within 25 minutes of your scheduled confirmed pick-up time. The trip is considered “on-time” if the vehicle arrives within 25 minutes of the confirmed scheduled pick-up time. The trip is considered “late” if the vehicle arrives after 25-minutes of the confirmed scheduled pick-up time.

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Late Vehicle Calls

If the vehicle is “late,” see "On-Time Trip Service Definition" for definition, you may call the STAR dispatch line to request an estimated time of arrival (ETA). Please do not call if it is still within the 25-minute time frame.

Dispatchers are available to respond to calls during regular operating hours: weekdays from 4:00AM to 12:00 midnight and Saturdays/Sundays from 5:00AM to 11:00PM.

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Operator Wait Time

Operators will wait five (5) minutes after arriving (within the 25-minute confirmed scheduled pick-up time frame) before leaving without a customer who does not show. If the STAR vehicle arrives early, the 5-minute wait period will begin at the beginning of the confirmed scheduled pick-up time frame. If the STAR vehicle arrives late, after the confirmed scheduled pick-up time frame, the driver will still wait five (5) minutes past his or her arrival time.

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No-Show Policy

No-Shows are disruptive to everyone who uses the STAR system. You must be ready to go from the start of the 25-minute confirmed scheduled pick up time frame. If the vehicle arrives within the confirmed scheduled pick- up time frame, waits the required 5 minutes and the customer does not appear, the customer will be considered a No-Show.

If the vehicle arrives after the 25-minute time frame, waits 5 minutes, and the customer does not appear, or cancels at the door, the customer will NOT be charged with a No-Show.

In the event of a No-Show at the customer’s home, CDTA is not obligated to dispatch another vehicle to serve that trip. If the customer calls STAR to inform the reservationist that they are “stranded” away from home, and STAR brought them to that location, STAR will make every effort to dispatch a vehicle to bring that customer home, with the understanding that it will be on a first availability basis to pick-up that customer.

If a customer decides to take only part of a scheduled trip that has multiple destinations, he or she must cancel all other parts of the trip or it will be considered a No-Show.

If a No-Show occurs as part of the first part of a round-trip, or the first part of a multi-destination trip, the remaining trips of the customer’s itinerary will not be automatically cancelled. It is the customer’s responsibility to inform STAR if they will be taking the remaining trips. Thus, even if the customer will not be taking these remaining trip(s), additional No-Shows will be charged to the customer unless they cancel the trips.

Please be aware of the following guidelines:
If a customer has been a No-Show for 10% of his or her rides within (30) thirty days, a written notice will be sent.

The notice will indicate:
That if within the next four months if a customer has been a No-Show again for 10% of his or her rides within (30) thirty consecutive days, the customer’s STAR service may be suspended for a period of one week. Prior to suspension, the customer will receive written notice that STAR service will be suspended beginning on a specified date. The customer will also receive a copy of the appeals process. STAR will continue to provide paratransit service until the appeal has been decided. During this period, the customer will be required to pay a full fare for each No-Show. Written appeals are to be submitted within sixty (60) days of the written decision. If requested, an in-person hearing will be scheduled. Anyone can assist a customer in the appeal process.

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Fares

The fare for each one-way trip is currently $2.50. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) ride free of charge. Companions are charged the same fare as a STAR
customer. Fares must be paid at the time of boarding for each trip. STAR Debit system is the only prepaid fare allowed. See below for more information.

Fares may be paid in one of three ways:

  • Cash with correct amount (drivers carry no change)
  • Dollar bills
  • Coins

STAR Tickets

STAR Tickets are available:

  • Online at www.cdta.org under Fares. Purchase Fares now.
  • CDTA’s Treasury department. Call (518) 437-8346 for more information.
  • Capital Region Price Chopper and Hannaford stores at customer service. Please call the store closest to you for availability.

STAR Debit System
STAR customers who participate in the STAR Debit system will be charged $50.00 in advance to set up an account and will receive a monthly statement. A minimum balance of $25.00 is required at all times. Call 518-437-6841 for information.

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Child Seat Policy

Children under the age of four must be secured in a specially-designed FMVSS approved car seat, provided by CDTA. It is the bus operator’s responsibility to ensure that each child is properly secured. Please indicate you will need a child car seat when you make your reservation. Children over the age of four will be restrained in the bus seat* using the on-board safety lap belt.

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Wheelchair Safety

Wheelchair Securement

  • All wheelchairs must be transported in a forward facing position.
  • All wheelchairs will be secured at 4 (four) points.
  • A seat belt is required for all wheelchairs users.

 

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Seat Belts for Safety

All STAR passengers, including those using wheelchairs, are required to wear seat belts.

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Refusing Service

CDTA reserves the right to refuse service to any passenger who is a direct threat or a significant risk to the health or safety of others.

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Severe Weather Procedures

In case of an accumulation of snow or ice, CDTA will follow these procedures:
If weather conditions and/or snow/ice accumulations do not allow for the STAR vehicle lift to be safely deployed, the driver will not attempt a pickup. In this event, the driver is instructed to notify dispatch representatives, who will in turn, notify the passenger that the trip cannot be provided from that location. A supervisor will determine if STAR can accommodate the trip requested from another nearby location.

Appropriate phone numbers related to your trips. If the lift can be safely deployed, but the sidewalk or driveway to or from the STAR vehicle is not sufficiently clear of snow or ice to allow for safe passage, the driver will notify dispatch of this condition. Dispatch will then attempt to notify the passenger of the condition and postpone pickup until conditions improve. We will only pick up the passenger when the sidewalk or driveway is sufficiently clear of snow or ice.


If the pathway at your residence is impassable, you must notify STAR to cancel the scheduled pick-up. When the ride is canceled due to the inclement weather, you will not be charged for that cancellation. STAR will not leave you stranded if a residence is impassable. STAR will make every effort to get you home.

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Vehicles

CDTA, at its discretion, may use a taxi or bus to serve a STAR trip.

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STAR User Card

All ADA paratransit certified individuals may get a STAR User Card. It is recommended but not required. If you plan to travel outside the CDTA service area, a STAR User Card allows you to schedule paratransit trips with transit agencies throughout the United States.

  • A STAR User Card allows customers to ride the fixed route at a reduced fare all day long, 7 days a week.
  • The reduced fare is $.75 for each rider, half of the regular $1.50 fare.
  • Reduced Fare Day Passes are available for purchase only on CDTA regular route buses with a Reduced Fare ID card. They are valid for unlimited rides on the day of purchase until the end of transit service on that day.
  • Reduced Fare Monthly passes are available. A person must have a Reduced Fare ID card to purchase a monthly swiper.

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Comments or Concerns

We want to hear from you. Call 518-482-8822 with any comments or concerns relating to your trips, drivers, or Flexible Services personnel. We will respond within 10 working days.

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Showing Appreciation

Drivers are not allowed to accept tips, but they appreciate your praise. If you would like to commend a driver for the service provided, call CDTA’s Customer Service representatives at 518-482-8822.

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STAR Riding Guidelines

Remember any requests for escorting you to/from a door must be made at time of reservation.

Operators cannot leave the bus unattended or out of eyesight to help you into and out of buildings, ring door bells, open doors of your home, carry packages to/from an entrance or into a dwelling.

To avoid delays, which jeopardize the timeliness of the entire STAR operation, we ask that customers be at their pick-up locations and ready to board at the confirmed scheduled pick-up time.

Operators will wait five minutes for customers after the arrival time before continuing on.

All customers, including those who use wheelchairs, MUST wear SEATBELTS.

All customers must remain seated while the STAR vehicle is moving.

Customers may bring onboard only those packages or luggage that they are able to manage themselves on that particular trip.

STAR provides shared-ride, origin to destination transportation. The STAR driver will help customers on and off the vehicle and offer extra assistance to and from the entrance. Drivers cannot escort customers in and out of buildings.

Animals and small pets in containers that customers can manage themselves on that particular trip are allowed.

Smoking is prohibited onboard all STAR buses.

Radios and excessive noise are prohibited.

The bus operator cannot make change, accept reservations, or modify pick-up times.

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Glossary

Reservationist/Call Taker
The direct person taking reservation requests and confirming trip information.

Dispatcher/Supervisor
The person that you would speak with for same day service inquiries.

Fixed Route
Bus service operating along prescribed routes and according to fixed schedules. Examples of CDTA fixed routes are: #355, #1, #6, #100, and #13.

Companion
Any person traveling with you to and from the same location at the same time as the certified customer.

Personal Care Attendant
Someone designated to help ADA eligible customers meet their personal needs. They must travel to and from the same location at the same time as the certified customer.

Paratransit
Comparable transportation for individuals who, because of a physical, mental or visual impairment, cannot use or access an accessible fixed-route system.

Service Animal
The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. The handler must have control of the service animal at all times.

Subscription Service
Service for customers who require repetitive trips over an extended period of time.

ADA
Americans with Disabilities Act. This act was signed into law in 1990, making it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities regarding employment, public services, public accommodations and telecommunications.

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Telephone Numbers

Information, Trip Requests & Confirmations

(518) 482-2022

Applications/Certification

(518) 482-2022

Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD)

(518) 482-9024

STAR Coupons

(518) 437-8346

STAR Debit Information

(518) 437-6875

Comments & Suggestions

(518) 482-8822

CDTA General Information

(518) 437-8300

To schedule a trip, or for more information, please call the Call Center at (518) 482-2022.

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