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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Big Blue Bus, Santa Monica, CA, 11-20-07

November 20, 2007

Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0200

Dear [name withheld]:

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Civil Rights has received your complaint of April 25, 2007, filed against the Big Blue Bus (BBB), Santa Monica, California.  The Office of Civil Rights is responsible for ensuring 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 deficiencies are identified, they are presented to the transit provider and assistance is offered to correct them within a predetermined timeframe.
In your complaint, you allege that some BBB drivers engage in unsafe driving practices, including speeding; that drivers do not allow people with disabilities and older adults adequate time to board and alight the bus; that drivers pass by customers waiting at bus stops; and that drivers frequently fail to pull up to the curb forcing passengers to disembark in the middle of the street.

The photographs included with your complaint document incidents where drivers failed to pull up to the curb and customers had to step into the street to access the bus steps or ramp.  The photographs do not document that a customer with a disability was denied transportation in these instances.  As the photos do not carry a time/date stamp, it is also not possible to tell when they were taken.
Upon examining your complaint, we note that you include: a reference to a Santa Monica Mirror article written in 2003 quoting [name withheld]; a September 19, 2005, “Guest Commentary” from the Santa Monica Daily Press from [name withheld]; a reference to [name withheld]’s meeting with the US Department of Justice in 2005; and an April 12, 2005, meeting that you attended with a City Attorney and a mediator for the US Department of Justice on behalf of an unnamed person with a disability.  Meanwhile, your complaint was received by the Department of Justice on April 25, 2007.  Under the Department of Transportation’s regulations, a complaint should be filed within 180 days from the time of the alleged discrimination in order for the Office of Civil Rights to conduct an investigation.  In this situation, the time interval from the time of the incidents to the time you filed a complaint exceeds the 180 days.  Because the time period has been exceeded, we are taking no action on your complaint.

If [name withheld], [name withheld], or any person with a disability has been denied transportation and wishes to file a complaint with our office, we will need the following information to investigate, as indicated in Section IV of our complaint form:  “On separate sheets, please describe your complaint.  You should include specific details such as names, dates/times, route numbers and witnesses, and any other information that would assist in our investigations of your allegations.  Please also provide any other documentation that is relevant to this complaint.”

We regret being unable to assist you.  We thank you for bringing these important matters to the attention of this office, and we have entered your complaint into our internal tracking system for administrative purposes.  If you have questions or require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Clark of the ADA Team at (202) 493-0511 or at her email address:


David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

Joseph E. Austin, Director, External Civil Rights Program Division, US DOT