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Pueblo Transit ADA Compliance Review - January 25, 2008

Location: Pueblo, CO  
Date of Final Review: January 25, 2008

Pueblo Transit  Transmittal Letter

January 25, 2008

Ms. Brenda Broyles
Pueblo Transit Superintendent
350 South Grand Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81003

Re: ADA Compliance Review of Pueblo Transit Fixed Route Service Lift Maintenance and Reliability

Dear Ms. Broyles:

Thank you for your response to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) letter and preliminary report of findings of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) compliance review of Pueblo Transit’s fixed route service lift maintenance and reliability initiated on June 18, 2007. Enclosed is the Final Report that incorporates Pueblo Transit’s official response by attachment. As of the date of this letter the Final Report became a public document and is subject to dissemination under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974 and will be made available on our website here.

Enclosed with this letter is a progress table listing FTA’s understanding of the corrective actions either planned or taken by Pueblo Transit in response to the preliminary findings contained in the draft report. If you feel that our summarization of corrective actions is inconsistent with your response, please inform us in writing as soon as possible.

  • Based on our understanding of each of Pueblo Transit’s responses to the findings, we have:
  • Identified whether the response adequately addresses the finding
  • Requested any needed documentation of results and outcomes
  • Requested, when appropriate, that Pueblo Transit clarify specific corrective actions in response to the finding

Please use the enclosed table as the format to report progress to FTA on the corrective actions that Pueblo Transit has completed or intends to implement as a result of our findings. Please identify each response by item number. The requested documentation, along with updates on the status of implementation of proposed corrective actions, should be provided in quarterly reports to FTA. Each report should include the planned and actual completion date of the corrective action, the current status and contact person information for each corrective action, and specific reporting requests cited in this letter and on the enclosed table. We request the first report by February 15, 2008, and should include data for the months of October through December 2007, and any actions completed prior to that date that have not already been addressed.

Additional reports addressing the remaining open findings will be due by April 15, 2008, July 15, 2008, October 15, 2008, and the fifteenth day following each calendar quarter thereafter until FTA releases Pueblo Transit from this reporting requirement. FTA will attempt to respond to each quarterly report that it receives from Pueblo Transit, but please note that quarterly reports are due from Pueblo Transit regardless of whether FTA has responded to the previous report.

We recognize the progress that you have made in responding to the findings of the review as presented in your November 26, 2007, e-mail response. In addition to these efforts, we request that your first progress report more fully respond to several findings. Some of the findings that require clarification are included below in addition to several particularly significant findings and responses. All findings are addressed in the progress table as well.

6. Finding: Bus operator training in the operation of accessibility equipment, assisting riders with disabilities, and sensitivity to the needs of people with disabilities appears to be good. All bus operators interviewed knew the policies and procedures for serving riders with disabilities and indicated that the training they received adequately prepared them for the job. Positive comments on bus operators were provided by riders and agency staff contacted as part of the review. Notably, however, Pueblo Transit’s operator training does not include riders with disabilities or disability agency staff persons who could explain the needs of people with disabilities based on personal experience.

Pueblo Transit’s Response: Pueblo Transit does not agree. Pueblo Transit has historically included not only riders with disabilities but also disability agency staff persons to train staff and Customer Service Representatives. This includes areas such as sensitivity training and training to handle one-on-one interactions with visually impaired riders. In the last year the travel trainer for the visually impaired at the State of Colorado Vocational Rehabilitation office in Pueblo, Garrett Mumma, and two of his visually impaired clients, participated in a training session with Pueblo Transit staff and Customer Service Representatives, where they presented ways to interact with visually impaired riders at the Transit Center and while on route. We will continue to include community agencies staff and the City’s ADA committee members to assist in our training efforts.

No Further Reporting Required: Section 4.2.1 of the review report did acknowledge that Pueblo Transit has involved riders with disabilities and agency staff in the training of customer service representatives. Our review team’s notes indicate, though, that riders with disabilities and agency staff were not involved in the training of bus operators. The involvement of riders with disabilities in training may be essential to ensure that some operators are cognizant of and sensitive to the varied needs of people with disabilities. It is strongly recommended that riders with disabilities and/or disability agency staff be involved in future bus operator training. However, since the DOT ADA regulations do not explicitly require such involvement, no further reporting will be required pursuant to this finding.

7. Finding: Pueblo Transit operates a relatively old fixed route fleet. The average age of buses at the time of the on-site review was 12 years. The current capital replacement plan calls for only one replacement vehicle per year through FY 2008. In-service lift failures appear to be increasing in recent years. A total of 21 in-service lift failures were recorded in 2005. There were 33 failures recorded in 2006 and 13 failures recorded in the first 5 months of 2007 (annual projection of 31 failures). While the number of in-service failures is not excessive, particularly given the age of some of the vehicles, the aging fleet appears to be contributing to the recent increase in lift failures.

Pueblo Transit’s Response: Pueblo Transit does not agree. The finding does not consider the financial constraints of the City of Pueblo or the FTA capital allocations within Colorado. Pueblo Transit submits a revised capital replacement plan to the local MPO and the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies (CASTA) on a yearly basis. Pueblo Transit has been requesting an average of six (6) buses per year for the purpose of replacement, and through the FTA allocation to CASTA from 5309 funds have only been able to purchase one bus, and occasionally none, due to the allocation being distributed between several transit agencies in Colorado. The City of Pueblo, as the grantee, has made a yearly commitment to match at 20% every request that has been submitted to FTA for federal funding for the purpose of replacing vehicles.

Request for Clarification: FTA recognizes the fact the Pueblo Transit does not have full control over its funding situation. The finding and recommendation only suggest that Pueblo Transit should include more than one replacement vehicle per year in its internal capital replacement plans. Please clarify whether Pueblo Transit will continue to plan internally for one replacement vehicle. Alternatively, if Pueblo plans to increase the number of replacement vehicles in the annual capital replacement plan, please explain those changes.

15. Finding: The lifts on the 2006 Millennium buses have loading-edge barriers that may not be high enough to keep a power wheelchair from rolling off the outer edge of the lift platform. Section 49 CFR 38.23(b)(5) requires that “The loading-edge barrier (outer barrier) which functions as a loading ramp when the lift is at ground level, shall be sufficient when raised or closed, or a supplementary system shall be provided, to prevent a power wheelchair or mobility aid from defeating it.” The loading-edge barriers on the 2006 Millennium buses appear to violate the regulatory requirements.

Pueblo Transit’s Response: Pueblo Transit does not agree. Pueblo Transit has contacted the Ricon Corporation and they have submitted a letter [attached] stating that the Mirage Model F9T lift outer barrier can prevent a power wheelchair from rolling off the platform (see attached letter and lift specs.).

Request for Clarification: The letter from the Ricon Corporation, which was forwarded with Pueblo Transit’s response, includes the statement that the outer barrier on the lift in question “has a vertical height of 6 inches to prevent a wheelchair from riding over the barrier.” The letter does not mention any testing or engineering calculations that were performed during the design and testing of the lift to ensure that the height of the outer barrier will prevent powered wheelchairs from riding over it. We continue to have a concern that a wheelchair with standard or large rear wheels could easily roll over the outer barrier if the rider is boarding or alighting the vehicle facing inward (with the larger rear wheels facing out). Based on information from a medical supply company which we contacted, the standard diameter of the rear wheels of manual wheelchairs is 20 to 24 inches. This would place the mid-point of the wheel at 10 to 12 inches, well above the top of the outer barrier. It would seem that if the rear wheels were that high above the top of the barrier, they could roll over the barrier. 

Please follow up with the Ricon Corporation and ask if they have test results or engineering calculations that indicate that the barrier is high enough to prevent the rear wheels of wheelchairs from rolling over it. Please also ask Ricon to provide those results and calculations if they exist and include that information in Pueblo’s next quarterly report. In particular, FTA would be interested to know if any tests or engineering calculations considered that riders may be boarding or alighting vehicles with the rear wheels facing out (facing the barrier). It would be helpful if Ricon indicated the size of the rear wheels used in the tests/calculations and the amount of force required to roll the wheels over the barrier. 

Given the apparent disagreement between FTA and Ricon, it may be more expedient for Ricon to also contact our office directly or for FTA, Pueblo Transit, and Ricon to meet to discuss this issue. Please note, however, that any discussion between FTA and Ricon will not excuse Pueblo’s obligation to continue to report on this finding in future reports.

16. Finding: The inner plate that functions as bridge plate on the 2006 Millennium bus lift does not have side barriers to prevent wheelchairs from rolling off the sides of the bridge plate when entering or exiting the vehicle. Section 49 CFR 38.23(b)(5) requires that “lift platforms be equipped with barriers to prevent any of the wheels of a wheelchair or mobility aid from rolling off the platform during its operation.” The inner plate, when used as a bridge plate for the lift platform, is an extension of the lift platform. Consequently, there should be barriers to prevent wheelchairs from rolling off the bridge plate sides when entering and exiting the vehicle.

Pueblo Transit’s Response: Pueblo Transit agrees. Pueblo Transit has contacted the Ricon Corporation and Millenium Transit Services of Roswell, N.M. and have worked together to ensure riders’ safety by exploring options for providing side barriers on the inner plate of the 2006 Millenium lifts. We are receiving two sets of “barriers” to be installed on these buses to prevent wheels from rolling directly into the stairwell gap from the vehicle floor.

Additional Reporting: Please provide an update in the next Quarterly Progress Report on the status of installing the side barriers. If possible, please provide a photograph of the new barriers, similar to the photograph in the compliance review report.

17. Finding: The lack of barriers on the vehicle floor of the 2006 Millennium buses creates a safety risk for passengers who use the lifts to alight from the vehicles. Independent of the lack of barrier on the inner plate, there is also a risk that wheelchairs will fall into the gap between the structure of the vehicle and the lift as the wheelchairs attempt to move onto the lift. Currently, there is no barrier that would prevent a wheel from going from the vehicle floor into the gap when the wheelchair is attempting to load onto the lift from the vehicle.

Pueblo Transit’s Response: Pueblo Transit agrees. Pueblo Transit has contacted the Ricon Corporation and Millenium Transit Services, the bus manufacturer, to work together in ensuring riders’ safety by exploring options for providing side barriers on the inner plate of the 2006 Millenium lifts. It is anticipated barriers will be provided and installed before year-end.

Additional Reporting: Please provide an update in the next Quarterly Progress Report on the status of installing the side barriers. If possible, please provide a photograph of the new barriers, similar to the photograph in the compliance review report.

We recognize the efforts that Pueblo Transit has already taken to correct the deficiencies identified in the draft report, and we anticipate your continued endeavors to take further corrective actions as noted in this letter. We also appreciate the cooperation and assistance that you and your staff have provided us during this review. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact me or Mr. Jonathan Klein, Equal Opportunity Specialist, at (202) 366‑0809 or at his e-mail address: jonathan.klein@dot.gov. Please also address all future quarterly reports and other correspondence with this office to his attention, along with an electronic copy to his electronic mail address.

It would also be very helpful to us if you would provide a copy of all correspondence to this office to the FTA Region VIII Civil Rights Officer by e-mail at rebecca.tanrath@dot.gov or by standard mail at the following address:

Ms. Rebecca Tanrath
Civil Rights Officer, Region VIII
Federal Transit Administration 
12300 West Dakota Ave., Suite 310
Lakewood, CO 80228-2583

Thank you.

Sincerely,

David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

Enclosures
cc: Terry Rosapep, FTA Region VIII Administrator
Rebecca Tanrath, FTA Region VIII Civil Rights Officer
Debi Duggan, FTA Region VIII Transportation Program Specialist

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