April 17, 2008
Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0221
Dear [name withheld]:
This letter responds to your complaint against Access Services, Inc., (ASI) alleging discrimination on the basis of disability. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights compliance and monitoring, which includes ensuring that providers of public transportation properly implement Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Department of Transportation's (DOT) implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38.
In the FTA complaint investigation process, we analyze allegations for possible ADA deficiencies by the transit provider. If FTA identifies what may be a violation, we first attempt to provide technical assistance to assist the public transit provider in complying with the ADA. If FTA cannot resolve apparent violations of the ADA or the DOT ADA regulations by voluntary means, formal enforcement proceedings may be initiated against the public transit provider which may result in the termination of Federal funds. FTA also may refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice for enforcement.
Each response is developed based on the specific facts and circumstances at issue. A determination resulting from a review of these facts is not intended to express an opinion as to the overall ADA compliance of that transit provider.
Specifically, your complaint of January 14, 2007, alleged that you were wrongfully denied paratransit services.
FTA investigated your allegation and sent an information request to ASI. We received a response that addressed and provided relevant information on your allegation. ASI informed us that your appeal was completed in January 2007 and that you were granted unrestricted use of ASI paratransit services.
You also expressed concern regarding the method by which ASI evaluates their paratransit applicants. The following is an excerpt from ASI’s response to your concern:
At the initial evaluation all customers are tested the same. This will include both physical and cognitive tasks. ASI has found through discussion with the community that there was a concern that many persons with cognitive impairments may not be readily forthcoming with that information. By doing some testing it allows the evaluator to determine if there is a possibility of an undisclosed disability that may lead to eligibility being granted. While other members of the community may complain that they are asked what appear to be simple questions or tasks, an explanation that we are attempting to protect the civil rights of others is usually accepted. Individuals participate in each of the established skills until such a time as unrestricted eligibility is granted, if unrestricted eligibility is not granted an applicant will complete the entire eligibility process.
ASI’s description of their functional assessment is typical of many assessments given across the country to paratransit applicants under the ADA. Although some applicants may find the process strange, it enables the transit entity to accurately determine an applicant’s ability to navigate the fixed route system.
This concludes our processing of this matter and no further action will be taken. If new information comes to your attention, please contact us. If you have any questions regarding our determination, please contact Stephanie Sharer, at (202) 366-0272 or at her e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.
David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights
Shelly Verrinder, Executive Director, Access Services
W. Joe King, Jr., Director Contract Services, Access Services
Leslie T. Rogers, FTA Region IX Administrator
Derrin Jourdan, FTA Region IX Civil Rights Officer