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Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b)(2), a complementary paratransit entity may negotiate pickup times with an ADA paratransit eligible individual, up to one hour before or after the individual’s desired departure time. Any deviation from this one-hour window would exceed the bounds of comparability. This means that in the event an individual accepts and takes a trip negotiated to begin more than one hour before or after his or her desired departure time, the transit operator must still record a denial based on its inability to provide the trip within the timeframe specified under DOT ADA regulations.
Yes. Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.121 require paratransit fares to be comparable to the fare for a trip between the same points on the regular fixed route transit system. “Comparable” is defined in DOT ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c) as not more than twice the fare that would be charged to an individual paying full fare for a trip of similar length, at a similar time of day, on the entity’s fixed route system, exclusive of discounts.
Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b), paratransit service must be provided to eligible individuals on a next-day response time. While transit systems are permitted to use real-time scheduling, it is not required. Where same-day service is provided, it is often a premium service. Because paratransit is a shared ride, allowing riders to change their drop-off locations on the same day to make intermediate stops could lead to late pickups or drop-offs for other riders.
Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c)(3), a personal care attendant (PCA) may not be charged a fare for complementary paratransit service. Under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.123(f)(1)(ii), a companion (i.e., friend or family member) does not count as a PCA unless the companion is actually acting in the capacity of PCA. PCAs may be charged a fare on fixed route. While some transit systems go beyond the minimum requirements of the ADA and allow PCAs to ride for free, there is no requirement that they do so.
Encountering cigarette smoke, service animals, and other potential allergens is a function of going out in public. Adoption of a no smoking policy at bus stops is a local issue and is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); however, you may contact your local transit authority to discuss such a concern. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), public transit providers are required to allow trained service animals to accompany riders on vehicles.
Accessibility requirements for fare vending machines are established by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB or “Access Board”), the Federal agency responsible for developing minimum guidelines for accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines were updated by the Access Board in 2004, and incorporated into Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations as the enforceable standard for transportation in November 2006; specific requirements may therefore differ slightly, depending upon when the fare machine was made and installed. The current standards are found in Section 707 of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, which can be found at https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/ada-standards. In particular, Section 707 discusses fare machine requirements such as clear floor space, operable parts, privacy, and speech-enablement.
Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3, “service animal” is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” DOT ADA regulation 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d) requires transit entities to permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. Appendix D to Section 37.167 contains further important information on service animals. It is important to note that while the U.S. Department of Justice has amended the definition of “service animal” for purposes of its ADA regulations under Titles II and III of the ADA, for state and local governments and places that are open to the public, the definition under DOT ADA regulations for transportation has not changed. Therefore, members of the public may find that some service animals may no longer be considered service animals once they leave a transportation system.
The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights ensures the non-discriminatory use of federal funds through oversight of grantee implementation of required civil rights regulations and policy. Compliance reviews are conducted to ensure conformity under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More information about each of the four programs administered by FTA’s Office of Civil Rights, as well as links to corresponding statutes and regulations, may be found by visiting the following website and selecting individual program links.
The following website contains links to finalized Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Review Reports, Letters of Finding, and links related to collaboration between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), paratransit functions as a “safety net” for persons whose disabilities prevent them from using the regular fixed route system (bus or rail). It is not intended to meet all of the transportation needs of all persons with disabilities, all of the time. As such, the level of service provided is required to be comparable to that available on the fixed route system; the hours and days of operation must be the same, and service must be provided to origins and destinations within three-fourths of a mile of a bus route (or between points within a three-fourths of a mile radius of different rail stations). There is no obligation to provide service to points beyond the service area, or during times of day or on days of the week when the comparable bus route or rail line is not operating. Of course, nothing in the ADA prohibits a transit system from operating service above and beyond the minimum ADA requirements. It is also important to note that while the term "paratransit" is often used to mean any kind of demand-responsive transportation service, it has a specific meaning under the ADA. The ADA paratransit eligibility criteria and service requirements apply only to paratransit operated as a complement to a fixed route system operated by a public entity; there are separate provisions covering demand-responsive service provided for the general public.