These FAQs do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These FAQs are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. FTA recipients and subrecipients should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for applicable requirements.
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.
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.
No. The DOT ADA regulations cover transportation provided by both public and private entities, whether or not they are primarily engaged in the provision of transportation service.
For example, if a hotel wants to provide shuttle service to its guests along a fixed route serving local attractions, because hotels are not primarily engaged in transportation, the vehicles used may not need to be accessible as long as equivalent service is provided for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
Yes. It’s important to remember, though, that all ADA paratransit service criteria apply:
Service area (at least ¾-mile on either side of a fixed route)
Response time (next-day, with advance reservation and real-time scheduling permitted)
Fares (not more than twice the regular fixed-route fare for a comparable trip)
No restrictions on trip purpose
Hours and days of service (at least the same as fixed route)
No capacity constraints
For fixed route service, vehicles must be accessible.
A private entity that purchases or leases new, used, or remanufactured vehicles for use, or in contemplation of use, in fixed route or demand responsive service under contract or other arrangement or relationship with a public entity must acquire accessible vehicles in all situations in which the public entity itself would be required to do so (49 CFR 37.23(b)).
If a transit agency contracts with a ridesourcing entity to provide demand-responsive service, and the ridesourcing entity acquires a fleet of vans to provide that service, the vans must be accessible to wheelchair users unless the system, when viewed in its entirety, meets the standard for equivalent service
Yes. The ADA applies regardless of whether there is federal funding involved. The applicable requirements may depend upon the nature of the project and the service that will result, such as fixed route, general public demand responsive, or ADA paratransit. A transit operator entering an arrangement with a ridesourcing entity to provide fixed-route service using only local funds would be required to ensure that any vehicle used on the system is accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users, and ensure that paratransit is provided as a complement to such routes.
If the term "non-ADA transportation" is being used to refer to transportation services that are not ADA complementary paratransit, such services would be covered by the requirements for fixed-route or demand-responsive service for the general public, not by the ADA complementary paratransit service criteria.
It should be noted that the term "non-ADA transportation" is a misnomer; all modes of transportation, other than by aircraft, are covered by DOT ADA regulations.
The requirements for public entities would apply.
The public entity remains responsible for ensuring that the service provided is in compliance with DOT ADA regulations. This can be accomplished by ensuring that the private entity has sufficient accessible vehicles in its own fleet to provide equivalent service; by contracting with a separate entity to provide equivalent service, or by employing accessible vehicles from its own fleet.
If real-time service is provided to eligible ADA paratransit passengers, it must be provided to all eligible ADA paratransit riders, including wheelchair users. This can be accomplished by ensuring that the ridesourcing entity has sufficient accessible vehicles available to provide equivalent service; by contracting with a separate entity to provide accessible vehicles; or most easily by simply incorporating your own accessible paratransit vehicles into the service to be provided by the ridesourcing entity.
Such service would most likely be regarded as demand-responsive service to the general public. The service, though not necessarily the ridesourcing vehicles themselves, would have to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. For the service to be considered accessible, some vehicles, whether provided by the ridesourcing entity, the transit agency, or another contractor, must be accessible to passengers who use wheelchairs, such that the service to passengers with disabilities is equivalent to that provided to passengers without disabilities.
A transit system partnering with a ridesourcing entity to provide service to and from a commuter rail station, for example, could dispatch accessible vehicles from its own paratransit fleet via the ridesourcing entity’s smartphone app to accommodate wheelchair users.
The level of service provided to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, must be equivalent to that provided to people without disabilities. The service characteristics for determining whether the service is equivalent are:
Geographic area of service
Hours and days of service
Restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose
Availability of information and reservations capability
Any constraints on capacity or service availability
A transit system partnering with a ridesourcing entity to provide demand-responsive service to a new service area would have to ensure not only that accessible vehicles were available, but that any person requiring an accessible vehicle would not be charged more than a typical ridesource user for a similar trip and would not have to wait longer for service.
In general, the public entity that enters into the partnership with the ridesourcing entity would be responsible for ensuring that equivalent service is provided. In an instance where the fare structure for the provider of accessible vehicles differs from (is greater than) that used by the ridesourcing entity, the transit operator must offset those costs to ensure that they are not borne by the passenger.