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A county wants to use ride-sourcing as part of its Guaranteed Ride Home Program, but the ride-sourcing companies lack accessible vehicles. The county considers a more expensive taxi company with accessible vans. Can the county charge passengers more?Answer: No. Riders requiring accessible vehicles cannot be charged a higher fare. The cost of providing accessible vehicles must be borne by the county’s Guaranteed Ride Home Program.
According to FTA’s Guidance, the Value of Passenger Time May be Adjusted for Regional Differences. Can you Please Explain Further How This Number May Be Adjusted?Answer: The standard value of passenger time in the HMCE tool is pre-set at $15.58 per hour. Consistent with FEMA and DOT guidance, this represents one half of the average national wage, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The value allows the HMCE tool to evaluate the benefits of avoided service outages or alternative services, as well as the cost of outages associated with project implementation.Applicants have three options for this value: Use the standard value in the tool of $15.58 per hour, reflecting 50 percent of the national average wage rate. Adjust the value to account for regional differences, using regional wage information reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on an analysis of the September 2013 BLS report “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation &mdash September 2013”, Historical Listings through September 2013, and National Compensation Survey data from 2010-2011 for applicable Census regions and combined statistical areas (CSAs, i.e. adjacent metropolitan areas), comparing regional average wage values to the regional average private industry wages resulted in the following adjustments: Regional: New England (CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT): $18.38 per hour Mid-Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA): $17.59 per hour South-Atlantic (MD, DC, DE, VA, NC, etc.): $14.38 per hour Combined Statistical Areas Boston-Worcester-Manchester (RI, MA, NH) CSA: $18.80 per hour New York-Newark-Bridgeport Mid-Atlantic (NY-NJ-CT) CSA: $19.40 per hour Philadelphia-Camden-Vineyard (PA-NJ-DE-MD) CSA: $17.86 per hour Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia (DC-MD-VA-WV) CSA: $18.25 per hour Adjust the value to account for regional differences as follows: Calculate one half of the average household income for the applicant’s service area, or for all public transportation users in the applicant’s service area, divided by the average household size for the population used. Regardless of the approach selected, the same value must be used in all proposals submitted by a single applicant. If an applicant intends to use the third option, additional backup documentation is required, including copies of the applicable census tables, the calculations used, and a brief statement of why one of the other two options is not accurate or sufficient for the analysis. Other alternative approaches are not recommended.
An automaker wants to implement a fixed-route transportation system in a local community using vans that will have no established stops, but will be hailed through a smartphone app. Do any of the vans have to be accessible?Answer: It depends upon the size of the vans. For vehicles with a capacity of more than 16, including the driver, the vehicles must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair users (49 CFR 37.101(b)) For vehicles with a capacity of 16 or fewer, including the driver, the vehicles must be accessible unless the fixed route system, when viewed in its entirety, provides equivalent service to persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users (49 CFR 37.101(c)) The interaction between the passenger and the service via the app does not make an otherwise fixed route service demand responsive.
Answer: For all eligible force account and operating expenses, FTA will pay both straight and overtime labor costs.
Answer: Given the unique eligibility criteria for the Category 1, 2, or 3 grants, FTA will only permit budget revisions that meet the below criteria with prior FTA approval. Budget revisions will only be permitted to shift funds from an existing Category 2 Activity Line Item (ALI) when a cost-savings is realized to another existing Category 2 ALI, should there be a cost-overrun or need for additional funds. Grantees will be required to submit documentation demonstrating the cost savings and cost over-run involved in the budget revision. If the grantee experiences a cost-savings or determines it no longer needs the funds obligated in other ALIs in its Category 1, 2, and 3 grant, then the excess funds will be deobligated. Funds that are deobligated from the grant may be available for future obligation by the grantee, should the grantee have additional eligible recovery costs that cannot be funded by its pro-rated allocation or its insurance proceeds.
Answer: Yes. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.165(f), transit entity personnel must assist individuals with disabilities with the use of ramps, lifts, and securement systems. If it is necessary for the personnel to leave their seats to provide this assistance, they must do so, even if the entity’s drivers traditionally do not leave their seats (e.g., because of labor-management agreements or company rules). On a vehicle which uses a ramp for entry, the driver may have to assist in pushing a manual wheelchair up the ramp, particularly if the ramp slope is relatively steep. In sum, transit entity personnel must ensure that a passenger with a disability is able to take advantage of the accessibility and safety features on vehicles.
Answer: No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require public transportation entities to install bench seating at bus stops or at transportation facilities. However, transit systems may find it beneficial to provide seating, as it may enable use of the fixed-route system by persons whose disabilities prevent them from standing for extended periods of time, and who might otherwise be dependent upon paratransit service.
Answer: FTA will develop case studies to include on the FTA EJ webpage. In the meantime, FHWA has several cases for review here. FTA also encourages you to sign up with GovDelivery on the FTA EJ page to receive email notifications when new materials become available.
Answer: Yes. However, apportioned resiliency funds cannot be used for design costs of projects unless the grantee has documented the availability of funding for the entire project, including construction.Additionally, a grantee may not incur capital expenses for local priority resiliency projects until a project has received formal FTA approval granting pre-award authority for the project.
Answer: Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(b), the minimum requirement for fixed route stop announcements by a transit provider is that stops be announced (by personnel or a recording system) at least at transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location. Further, the transit personnel must announce any stop upon request of an individual with a disability. For the text of 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(b) and its corresponding section in Appendix D, please visit this link.
Answer: No, applicants are not required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate multiple alternatives for protecting a given asset, although this may be a useful step in selecting and identifying proposed projects for this competition. As a part of the evaluation criterion “Protection of Most Vulnerable and Essential Infrastructure”, applicants should explain how and why a particular alternative was identified for this competition. This evaluation may use FTA’s HMCE tool, or may utilize a similar hazard-mitigation focused BCA process.
Answer: Yes. If these services offer shared rides and are open to the general public, these services would be considered public transportation and generally would be eligible. Services that do not meet the definition of public transportation may be eligible as ADA paratransit, as a job access and reverse commute project, or as an alternative to public transportation. A transit agency may contract for eligible micro-transit services; however, the law generally does not permit private firms to be eligible to receive FTA funds as a direct recipient or subrecipient. As with car sharing, a recipient may provide for the integration of transit services with micro-transit through the design and construction of an eligible capital project. For example, information about these services can be integrated into electronic signage that stream data to applications as part of an infrastructure project in order to provide the consumer with more transportation options.
Are paratransit providers required to solicit participation by the public and persons with disabilities in the initial development and continued provision of paratransit services?Answer: Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.137, an entity developing a paratransit plan must ensure public participation through outreach, consultation with individuals with disabilities, opportunity for public comment on the plan, and at least one public hearing. Additionally, Section 37.137(c) requires an “ongoing mechanism for the participation of individuals with disabilities in the continued development and assessment of services to persons with disabilities.” Many transit providers choose to establish an advisory committee as part of their process to fulfill the requirements under Section 37.137. To learn more about the specific requirements under this regulation, you may want to consult the full text of the regulation.
Answer: Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.129(a), complementary paratransit service for ADA paratransit eligible individuals must be “origin-to-destination” service. The goal behind use of this particular language, rather than characterizing the service as “curb-to-curb” or “door-to-door,” is to emphasize the obligation of transit providers to ensure that eligible passengers are able to travel from their point of origin to their point of destination. The particular factors involved will determine whether curb-to-curb or door-to-door service will be better for that individual or the location. During the local paratransit planning process, a transit provider may establish either door-to-door or curb-to-curb service as the basic mode of paratransit service. However, a paratransit policy must not be inflexible to the extent that service will not be provided beyond the curb under any circumstance. Paratransit providers must provide enhanced service on a case-by-case basis where necessary to meet the origin-to-destination requirement; some individuals or locations may require service that goes beyond curb-to-curb service. It should be recognized that transit providers are not required to accommodate individual passengers’ needs which would fundamentally alter the nature of the service or create an undue burden. Transit providers’ obligations do not extend to the provision of personal services, such as requiring a driver to go beyond a doorway into a building to assist a passenger or requiring a driver to lose visual contact with their vehicle. For further information, please see the following DOT guidance document.
Answer: Are partial awards possible under this program or is it all or nothing?
Answer: Applicants may provide a scalable option within their submission. FTA may award an amount that is less than the amount requested, provided that it will fund a project of independent utility.
Are private companies like ridesourcing companies exempt from DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements?Answer: No. There is no categorical exemption of private companies from the controlled substance and alcohol testing requirement. Recipients of Urbanized Area (§ 5307), Capital Investment Grant (§ 5309) and Rural Area (§ 5311) funds must conduct drug and alcohol testing of all employees or contractors performing safety sensitive functions. Ride-sourcing companies are subject to the testing requirement to the extent they are a contractor of a recipient and perform a safety sensitive function. However, ride-sourcing companies may qualify for the taxicab exception.
Answer: Yes. The Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations apply to both public and private operators of transportation service to the general public. If the private entity is providing service under a contract or other arrangement with a public entity, the private entity “stands in the shoes” of the public entity under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.23 and is subject to the requirements applicable to the public entity. While a public entity may hire contractors, it may not “contract away” its ADA responsibilities. For further detail regarding the “stand in the shoes” requirement, please consult the regulation, which is available here.
Answer: No. Private shuttle services, which include corporate, regional and local shuttles that make limited stops to pick up specified riders, are not considered public transportation and are not eligible for FTA funding.
Are public transit agencies operating a fixed route system required to provide complementary paratransit services?Answer: Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.121(a), “each public entity operating a fixed route system shall provide paratransit or other special service to individuals with disabilities that is comparable to the level of service provided to individuals without disabilities who use the fixed route system.” The regulation does not specify how this paratransit service is to be provided—whether by vehicles from its own fleet, by vehicles from a subrecipient, or by vehicles from a for-profit third-party contractor. The regulation only requires complementary paratransit services to be provided, leaving the details to the local planning process. The fixed route operator, however, is ultimately responsible for ensuring a contractor meets all applicable ADA requirements as explained in Section 37.23. You may view the cited regulation here.