September 11, 2007
Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0256
Dear [name withheld]:
This letter responds to a complaint filed on your behalf, by [name withheld], against Spokane Transit Authority 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.
Specifically, your June 2007 complaint alleged that Spokane Transit modified the boundaries of its ADA paratransit service area. This change put your home outside the service area and made you ineligible to receive transportation to or from that location. [Name withheld] noted the effect this change has had on your independence as you transition into college.
Under the DOT ADA regulations, transit agencies are not required to provide complementary paratransit service to places located more than three-fourths of a mile from their regular fixed route bus lines. The regulations at 49 CFR § 37.131 state in part:
The [transit agency] shall provide complementary paratransit service to origins and destinations within corridors with a width of three-fourths of a mile on each side of each fixed route. The corridor shall include an area with a three-fourths of a mile radius at the ends of each fixed route.
Spokane Transit has determined that your house is outside this service corridor. This fact, and a detailed explanation of the reason why service is not required to be extended to you, was explained in a letter from Spokane Transit. Although a transit agency may elect to extend its service area beyond the ADA requirements to include areas up to 1½ miles on either side of the fixed bus route, FTA cannot require such a decision. Decisions to extend, eliminate, or modify routes, hours, etc., are made at the local level and FTA is prohibited by the Federal Transit Laws, as codified under 49 U.S.C. § 5324(c) “Prohibitions Against Regulating Operations and Charges,” from becoming involved in local decisions regarding transit operations unless there is a discriminatory practice. After reviewing the correspondence you submitted, the FTA Office of Civil Rights has not found Spokane Transit’s actions to be discriminatory or in violation of 49 CFR § 37.131.
This concludes our processing of this matter and no further action will be taken. We regret being unable to assist you further. While FTA’s decision in your case is administratively final, it does not prevent you from pursuing this matter at the local level or privately in the appropriate court. If you have any questions regarding our determination, please contact Monica McCallum in our Seattle office at (206) 220-4462 or at her e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention; I am sorry we could not be of more assistance.
David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights
Richard F. Krochalis, FTA Region X Administrator
Monica McCallum, FTA Region X Civil Rights Officer