Paratransit vehicles are specialized transportation vehicles designed to provide transit services for those with disabilities. Unlike other handicapped-accessible vehicles, paratransit vehicles provide transportation primarily to the disabled and handicapped, and they do not typically transport those without mobility problems. Many public and private transportation companies maintain separate paratransit fleets that service disabled customers.
Having a wheelchair ramp or lift and internal accommodations for the disabled are the only real requirements for a paratransit vehicle. While any type of handicapped-accessible vehicle can be used by a paratransit provider, most companies use minibuses in these applications. Minibuses are well suited to paratransit applications because they provide significantly more room than a van or taxi but do not have the large size and cost of a full-size transit bus.
Different paratransit companies provide different levels of service to their patrons. Most existing public transportation companies who provide a separate paratransit service maintain individual routes and fleets of vehicles for those with disabilities. Such routes typically have more stops than regular bus routes, particularly in areas where getting around is easier for the disabled. Some public transportation companies and most private companies provide much more direct paratransit service. These types of services pick patrons up directly at their homes and transport them straight to their destinations.