December 28, 2006
Re: FTA Complaint Number 06-0153
Dear [name withheld]:
This letter responds to your complaint against the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) alleging violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and/or the Department of Transportation's (DOT) implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38. 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 the ADA, the DOT ADA regulations, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
In the FTA complaint investigation process, we analyze the complainant's 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 action.
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 property.
Specifically, your complaint of January 6, 2006, alleged that:
DART’S paratransit service has capacity constraints in the form of trip denials.
FTA investigated your allegations and sent a data request to DART. We received a response from DART that addressed and provided relevant information on your allegation, addressed in detail below.
The DOT ADA regulations at 49 CFR §37.131(f)(3) prohibit any operational pattern or practice that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons, including substantial numbers of significantly untimely pickups for initial or return trips, substantial numbers of trip denials or missed trips, and substantial numbers of trips with excessive trip lengths.
In your complaint dated January 6, 2006, at 3:45 pm that day you contacted a live agent to arrange paratransit service for January 8, 2006. Accordingly, you were informed by a scheduler that there was “no trip available,” resulting in a trip denial. You were further informed that since the summer of 2005, DART, allegedly had been denying trips to its disabled consumers. Also on that day, you made another attempt to schedule service via the IVR and, once again, informed that there was no trip available. Hence, this resulted in another trip denial.
Mr. Gary Thomas, in his response to FTA, acknowledged that on at least two occasions, you attempted to schedule paratransit service and were denied. First, on January 6, 2006, you contacted the Paratransit Department to schedule service through a live agent requesting a 9:15 am pick-up on January 8, 2006. However, the agent was unable to identify service within one hour before or after your requested travel time. The second attempt, also on January 6, 2006, was made at approximately 3:52 pm utilizing service via the automated system, Express Booking. At that time, you requested a 9:45 am pick-up to a different location on January 8, 2006. Similarly, the Express Booking system was unable to identify service within one hour before or after your requested travel time. No explanation was provided explaining the reason for this particular capacity constraint.
Documentation from DART further shows that during a six-month period covering October 2005 to April 2006 you requested 179 trips. DART was able to identify service that met ADA service criteria for 175 of these requested trips. DART also provided system-wide data on the number of paratransit trip requests approved, denied and total, by month, for the defined six-month period. Lastly, DART enlisted the services of Trapeze, a consulting company, to review the current implemented system and make recommendations for improvements. Over a period of several months, system parameter changes were phased in and revenue hours were increased effective, October 31, 2005, and again on December 12, 2005. Due to these measures, DART has been able to accommodate every request for paratransit service during the six-month period of May through October 2006.
After reviewing all of the submitted materials, the FTA Office of Civil Rights is satisfied with DART’s efforts to address trip denials. This concludes our processing and investigation as of the date of this letter and no further action will be taken.
If new information comes to your attention, please contact us. While FTA’s decision in your case is administratively final, it does not prevent you from pursuing this matter privately in the appropriate court. If you have any questions regarding our determination, please contact Donna R. Walton, Ed.D., at (202) 366-4018 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
Gary C. Thomas, DART President/Executive Director
Robert C. Patrick, FTA Region VI Administrator
William Jones, FTA Region VI Civil Rights Officer