November 16, 2009
Re: FTA Complaint Number 08-0036
Dear [name withheld]:
This letter responds to your complaint against Miami-Dade County Transit (MDT) 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 are in compliance with 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. Each response to a particular complaint 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.
In your complaint, you state that the buses used for MDT’s Route 301 Dade-Monroe Express, which runs between Florida City and Marathon, do not have priority seating for passengers with disabilities. You have low vision and have had difficulty finding an open seat.
Under 49 CFR §38.27(a) of the DOT ADA regulations, buses must “contain sign(s) which indicate that seats in the front of the vehicle are priority seats for persons with disabilities, and that other passengers should make such seats available to those who wish to use them. At least one set of forward-facing seats shall be so designated.”
In response to your complaint, we contacted MDT for more information on the buses that serve Route 301 (vehicles numbered 5550, 5551, and 5552). MDT submitted photographs that show the vehicles have priority seating and signage. According to MDT, each bus has four priority seats: two seats immediately behind the bus operator seat and two near the front door. The signs adjacent to the seats ask passengers to vacate the seats for people with disabilities upon request of the operator. Another sign is being installed on the vehicles to emphasize that customers with disabilities and the elderly have “priority” in the seating area.
Based on the above, we are closing your complaint as of the date of this letter. If you have difficulty finding an open seat in the priority area in the future, you may wish to inform the vehicle operator. The DOT ADA regulations at 49 CFR §37.167(j) require transit personnel to ask nondisabled and nonelderly persons to move from the priority area if an individual with a disability needs the seat. We would also encourage you to contact MDT and give the transit agency an opportunity to resolve the situation prior to filing a complaint with our office. If you find that MDT’s complaint process is unresponsive, you may wish to file another complaint with this office.
If you have any questions, please contact me or Dawn Sweet of my staff at (202) 366-0529 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any further correspondence should reference FTA Complaint No. 08-0036. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention and we trust this letter is helpful.
John R. Day
Acting ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights
FTA Region 4