Temporary Service Modifications Due to COVID-19
Last update: August 19, 2021
Face Coverings Now Required on Wheelchair Vans
MODE members are now required to wear non-medical face coverings at all times, when riding in wheelchair vans. Non-medical face coverings include fabric masks, bandanas, scarves, neck gaiters, etc. Members who have trouble breathing, or are unable to remove a face covering without assistance, are not required to wear one.
When wearing a face covering:
- Do make sure you can breathe through it.
- Do wear it whenever going out in public or riding in the wheelchair van.
- Do make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
- Do wash after each use.
- Do not use surgical masks or other personal protective equipment intended for healthcare workers.
When riding in the wheelchair van:
- Do have your face covering on before boarding the vehicle.
- Do make sure to keep it on for the entire ride.
Remember: Face coverings are not a substitute for staying home, practicing physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
For more information and tips about face coverings, read the City of Santa Monica’s comprehensive FAQ.
Blue: The Transit Store
Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 5pm
Every Other Friday: 12pm - 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed
MODE Call Center
Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Note: MODE members with a negative account balance must pay their balance in full at Blue: The Transit Store with cash or check, no later than Monday, April 5.
Service Hours & Program Changes
The following MODE program changes will be implemented until further notice, to protect the safety and well-being of our operators and customers:
- Weekday service will be available Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Saturday service will be available from 8:30am to 3:30pm; Sunday service is discontinued until further notice.
- Members booking medical trips will receive priority service.
- Door-through-door service is unavailable until further notice.
- Members booking trips on Lyft must call between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm.
- Members booking trips for a wheelchair van must reserve rides one to six (6) days prior to the date of travel. All reservations are booked on a first-call, first-served basis.
- Wheelchair members must contact the MODE Call Center (310-458-6633) to reserve a ride between two (2) and six (6) days prior to the date of travel. All reservations are booked on a first-call, first-served basis, regardless of trip purpose.
Resources for Food & Other Essentials
For resources related to food and groceries, transportation, and other essential needs, please visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus-seniors, or call the City of Santa Monica's COVID-19 hotline at: 310-458-8400.
Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and support as we implement measures to keep MODE service running, while also preventing the further spread of COVID-19.
Mobility On Demand Every Day Program
Big Blue Bus and WISE & Healthy Aging have partnered with Lyft to introduce Mobility On Demand Every Day (MODE), the City of Santa Monica's shared-ride service for older adults and persons with disabilities.
The MODE program provides members with greater options for freedom and mobility, by offering curb-to-curb, on-demand transportation, convenient payments, and much more.
For more information about the program, download the MODE brochure below.
Any City of Santa Monica resident who is:
- At least 65-years-old, or
- At least 18-years-old with a disability
Eligible participants must register with WISE & Healthy Aging prior to using MODE; see How to Register for more details.
Please note: If you are 18-64 years old, you must provide proof of disability. The following will be accepted as proof of disability:
- TAP Card for Persons with Disabilities (LACTOA Card); or
- Access Services ID Card; or
- Medicare Card (not Medi-Cal); or
- Proof of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits (present benefit/ verification letter).
MODE members receive a total of thirty (30) one-way trips per month, including Lyft Shared and wheelchair van rides.
Hours of Operation
Registered members can take trips on MODE during the following hours (Sunday service is discontinued until further notice):
Monday - Friday:
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:30am - 3:30pm
MODE does not operate on New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve.
MODE offers two (2) fare types for a one-way ride, in either a Lyft or wheelchair vehicle:
- Low-Income Fare: $0.75
Click here to learn how to qualify for the Low-Income fare.
- Regular Fare: $1.50
Members may travel with one (1) companion or one (1) Personal Care Attendant, at no additional cost.
Note: MODE members are limited to thirty (30) one-way trips per month, for wheelchair van and/or Lyft rides. Failure to comply with these rules may result in termination from the program.
How to Pay Your Fare
Credit, Debit & Prepaid Cards
Payments can be made through your Lyft account, with either a credit, debit, or prepaid card; your card will automatically be charged either $0.75 (Low-Income fare) or $1.50 (Regular fare) after each eligible ride.
Cash, Checks, & Card Payments
Wheelchair and door-through-door members must pay for eligible rides in advance by cash, check, or credit card at Blue: The Transit Store only; see Passenger Accessibility for more details.
Trips taken within the Santa Monica city limits during hours of operation, as well as select shopping destinations on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice (99 Cents Only Store, Whole Foods, Smart & Final, Ralph's, Rite Aid, and Ross Dress for Less), qualify for MODE. Access to the following medical facilities will also be permitted at all times during hours of operation:
- UCLA Medical Center
- Kaiser Medical Centers in West Los Angeles and Culver City/Marina del Rey
- The West Los Angeles V.A. Medical Center
However, members are encouraged to schedule these trips between 10:00am and 3:00pm, to ease the challenge of traveling in the wheelchair van during rush hour.
Get Started With MODE
To be eligible for the MODE program, you must register at a MODE orientation session. For details on upcoming sessions, please contact WISE & Healthy Aging at 310.394.9871.
Monthly orientation sessions will be held at the Ken Edwards Center (1527 4th St., Santa Monica, CA, 90401); caregivers and relatives are encouraged to attend. For more information, please call WISE & Healthy Aging at 310.394.9871.
Please be sure to bring the following to the MODE orientation session:
- Valid government issued picture ID: State ID or driver's license, or passport.
- Proof of Santa Monica residency: Address on valid ID, gas or electric bill dated within three (3) months, or letter from the Housing Authority verifying assistance dated within one (1) year.
- Intended form of payment: Credit, debit, or prepaid card is preferred. Please bring check or cash ($5 minimum) to pre-pay for rides on the wheelchair van.
- Your fully charged iPhone or Android smartphone device if you have one.
- Completed MODE application (below).
Download | English
Follow the steps below to request a ride using Lyft's app or website:
Using the Lyft App
Using A Computer or Mobile Browser
- If you are using a smartphone:
- Download the Lyft app
- Complete a one-time verification of your smartphone device
- If you are using a computer or mobile browser:
- Visit Lyft's website here
- Verify your mobile phone number and identity
- Enter your payment information (credit, debit, or prepaid card)
- Enter you destination location.
- Under the Economy tab, choose Shared, then tap Select Shared.
- Confirm the number of passengers for the Shared ride, by tapping 'Just me' (if traveling alone), or 'Me and a friend' (if traveling with a companion or personal care attendant).
- Confirm your pickup location, or manually enter a pickup address, then tap Request Shared. Lyft will immediately begin searching for nearby drivers
- Identify yourself when your Lyft driver arrives, then enter the vehicle and buckle up.
- While in route to your destination, you may be paired with a new passenger(s). Your route and estimated arrival time will update in real-time, as other passengers are scheduled for pickup.
- Enjoy your ride!
Download our MODE Quick Guide for detailed instructions on how to use Lyft on a smartphone, computer, or mobile browser.
Please note: Members without a smartphone, computer, or credit, debit, or prepaid card, can phone the MODE Call Center (310.458.6633) to schedule a pickup.
4. Rules for Riding
Ensuring the safety and well-being of MODE members is the top priority for Big Blue Bus. The Customer Code of Conduct outlines expected behavior for anyone using Big Blue Bus services and the Mobility On-Demand Every Day (MODE) Program, and serves as a respectful reminder to treat fellow members and MODE staff with consideration, patience, respect, and civility for the mutual safety and enjoyment of the program.
Wheelchair and door-through-door members may phone the MODE Call Center (310.458.6633) to schedule same day pickup in a wheelchair van, or make a reservation in advance.* Reservations must be made one to seven days prior to the date of travel. All reservations are booked on a first-call, first-served basis, regardless of trip purpose.
*Please note: Saturday and Sunday trips are available by reservation only, and must be reserved at least two days in advance.
Payments for wheelchair or door-through-door trips must be made in advance by cash, check, or credit card ($5.00 minimum deposit) at:
Blue: The Transit Store
1444 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401
Checks must be delivered in-person and made payable to: Big Blue Bus
Wheelchair & Other Mobility Aids
The term "wheelchair" means, a mobility aid belonging to any class of three (3) or more wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.
Seat Belt & Wheelchair Securement Policy
MODE requires all passengers to wear seatbelts, including passengers in wheelchairs/scooters, at all times during the ride. Drivers may assist passengers to secure the lap belts to ensure the customer's safety. Drivers will secure all wheelchairs/scooters in the proper wheelchair position on the vehicle. If a passenger refuses to wear a seatbelt or secure their wheelchair/scooter, they may be denied service.
Most MODE vehicles are designed to accommodate wheelchairs up to 30 inches by 48 inches. However, we will transport larger mobility devices, if they can be safely accommodated on our vehicles. A wheelchair must be able to maneuver and fit properly into the wheelchair position on the vehicle and be secured. Wheelchairs that cause legitimate safety concerns, such as an oversized wheelchair that does not fit properly into the wheelchair position, or interferes with the safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency, will not be accommodated.
Lyft App Training
Need hands-on training on how to use the Lyft app? For information on upcoming training opportunities, contact the MODE Call Center at 310-458-MODE (6633).
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Lyft?
Lyft is an on-demand ride service that matches you with a nearby driver who will pick you up and take you to your destination. Rides are requested using the Lyft mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones, or online with a Lyft account.
- Can I use my existing Lyft account on MODE?
Yes. Please provide the email address and phone number associated with your existing Lyft account where indicated on the MODE application (enclosed); a discount code will be applied to your Lyft account within five (5) business days of your completed registration for MODE.
- I have a credit card, debit, or prepaid card, but do not have access to a smartphone. Can I still request a ride on Lyft?
Yes. Members unable to use the Lyft mobile app can instead request rides online. Simply visit ride.lyft.com on your computer or mobile browser to request a ride. Please note that you must have a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages to request rides online.
- I do not have access to a smartphone or credit, debit, or prepaid card. Can I still request a ride on Lyft?
Yes. Members without a computer or smartphone must phone the MODE Call Center to schedule a pickup, and may pay for rides in advance by check, cash, or credit card ($5.00 minimum).
Please make deposits in-person at Blue: The Transit Store (1444 4th St., Santa Monica CA, 90401).
- Can others request Lyft rides for me?
Yes. Caregivers and relatives with access to your Lyft account can request rides for you online, by visiting ride.lyft.com. Please note that you must have a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages in order for them to request your ride online.
- Can I use my Lyft account to go somewhere else?
Yes, but you will be charged regular Lyft rates if you travel outside of the times and places specified in the MODE program. If you have any questions about a specific trip and if it is eligible for a Regular ($1.50) or Low-Income ($0.75) fare, please call WISE & Healthy Aging at 310.394.9871.
- Can I request a MODE ride on standard Lyft or Lyft XL?
Not right now. Only rides taken on Lyft Shared qualify for the MODE program. When using the Lyft app or website, be sure to select Shared when requesting a ride. You will be charged full fare for trips taken on any other ride type.
- How many rides can I take per month on MODE?
MODE members are limited to thirty (30) one-way trips per month, for wheelchair van and/or Lyft rides. Failure to comply with these rules may result in termination from the program.
- How do I receive Low-Income fares on MODE?
To receive the Low-Income fare, members must meet the following income requirements:
$36,550 or less
$41,800 or less
$47,000 or less
$52,200 or less
$56,400 or less
$60,600 or less
Eligible MODE members must also provide proof of income (e.g. CalFresh, EBT Card, Federal Tax Return (page 1), Medi-Cal Card, Proof of Lifeline, Recent Pay Stub, SNAP, W-2). It may take up to thirty (30) days to receive the Low-Income fare, following verification of low-income status.
Members may submit proof of income in three (3) convenient ways:
Members may submit proof of income via email to: email@example.com.
- By Mail
Members may submit proof of income by mail to:
Attn: MODE Program Manager
1660 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Members may submit proof of income in-person during MODE office hours:
Where: Ken Edwards Center
1527 4th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
When: Every Friday | 10am – 12pm
For more frequently asked questions, download the MODE FAQ below.
Download | English
Download | Spanish
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact WISE & Healthy Aging at 310.394.9871.