May a transit entity require a paratransit eligible individual who will be traveling with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to register their use of a PCA with the transit entity?
Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.125(i), a transit provider may require an individual to indicate whether he or she travels with a personal care attendant (PCA) as part of the initial eligibility process. The transit entity is also permitted to make further inquiries regarding the individual’s actual need for a PCA. When making any such inquiries, it is important to note an individual’s need for a PCA may be unrelated to the trip itself, and that the passenger may not require the assistance of a PCA while onboard the vehicle. Because of the nature of typical PCA functions, it is most likely that the services provided by a PCA would be required throughout the day at the passenger’s destination. All that is required is that the passenger establish that he or she requires a PCA, and for the PCA and the passenger to be traveling together between the same points. If the rider does not indicate the use of a PCA, then any individual accompanying him or her will be regarded simply as a companion.