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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

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA, 4-21-08

April 21, 2008

Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0278

Dear [name withheld]:

This letter responds to your complaint against the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) 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 September 11, 2007, alleged that:

On June 21 and 27, 2007, at two separate MARTA train stations, the accessible fare gates were out of order and you could not find a MARTA employee to assist you.

FTA investigated your allegation and sent an information request to MARTA.  We received a response that provided relevant information on your allegation.  Your allegation is addressed in detail below.

On June 21, 2007, you indicate that you arrived at the Avondale MARTA train station at 8:20 a.m., where the only accessible fare gate was out of order.  You could not find a station manager to assist you.  You used a MARTA telephone to request assistance, and you were told a MARTA employee would be there shortly to assist you.  After 15 minutes had passed, help had still not arrived, but you were able to flag down another MARTA employee who opened the gate for you.

On the evening of June 27, 2007, you arrived at the Civic Center station to find the accessible fare gate out of service.  You indicate that there was a sign posted instructing passengers to use the next fare gate, which was not wheelchair accessible.  You complain that there were no MARTA personnel on hand to assist, but that your friend was able to open the fare gate for you.

MARTA specified in their response that their employees have been trained to take the following actions as soon as they become aware that an accessible fare gate is out of order:

  1. Immediately call the MARTA technology help desk to request that a faregate vendor be dispatched to immediately repair the gate.
  2. Place a sign in front of the fare gate directing patrons to the nearest alternative accessible fare gate in that station.
  3. If there is no alternative accessible fare gate at that location, the fare gate is to be left in the open position until the repair is complete it.

MARTA has also identified the following steps being taken to address the issue you have raised:

  • Permanent signs will be placed on all accessible faregates instructing patrons of the location of the telephones in the rail stations that can be used to call for assistance.
  • Upon completion of MARTA’s closed circuit television system in all of the rail stations, MARTA will have the ability to see the location of the patron requesting assistance and will be able to open the fare gate remotely when personnel is unable to respond in a reasonable amount of time.

These two new procedures will be inserted into the next revision of the MARTA Station Services Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

The FTA Office of Civil Rights believes that MARTA has adequately responded to your complaint by the addition of these new procedures.  However, we will place MARTA in follow-up status to ensure that the new procedures enumerated above are put in place.  Should you have any further issues with MARTA, please bring those issues to the attention of their customer service office.  Their phone number is (404) 848-5000.

As the investigation phase of this process has been completed, we are closing your complaint as of the date of this letter.  This concludes our processing of this matter 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 Stephanie Sharer, at (202) 366-0272 or at her e-mail address:  Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.


David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., General Manager & CEO, MARTA
Denise Bell-Brown, Accessibility Coordinator, MARTA
Yvette G. Taylor, FTA Region IV Administrator
Frank Billue, FTA Region IV Civil Rights Officer