September 6, 2006
Re: Complaint against Sunset Empire Transportation District Dial-A-Ride
Dear [name withheld]:
This letter is in response to your alleged discrimination by Sunset Empire Transportation District (SETD) under 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.
According to Ann Richardson of Congressman David Wu’s office, you would like SETD’s Dial A Ride service to provide [name withheld] with direct service to and from his dialysis treatment, including assisting him between the vehicle and your home and the dialysis center.
In our original letter from Administrator Jennifer Dorn to Congressman Wu on October 19, 2005, we stated that the FTA Office of Civil Rights would follow-up with SETD regarding these concerns. I apologize for our delay in this response, and for the return earlier this year of your letter addressed to Administrator Dorn (she is no longer the Administrator of FTA).
In our follow-up with SETD, we learned that our original understanding of the service provided to you was incorrect. This is not ADA complementary paratransit, as we had originally understood, but a general Dial-A-Ride service, open to anyone, requiring a reservation at least 48 hours in advance. SETD is required to provide ADA complementary paratransit, which is next-day origin-to-destination service that is comparable to fixed route transportation for any trip starting and ending within three-fourths of a mile of the fixed route. However, SETD has informed us that you have not applied for this service. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of the application, which would be mailed to:
Sunset Empire Transportation
465 NE Skipanon
Warrenton, OR 97146
The current Dial-A-Ride service used by [name withheld] is a demand-responsive service open to the general public. In this instance the requirement for the Dial-A-Ride service is that equivalent service be provided. The service is advertised as curb-to-curb, and service beyond that would not be required.
From your complaint it appears that SETD has been willing to accommodate [name withheld] by assisting him between the vehicle and the door. However, according to Ms. Richardson, [name withheld] has fallen twice while being assisted, pulling down the SETD driver who was assisting him. Based on these occurrences, SETD has declined further service to [name withheld] without assurances that this would not happen in the future. Given that SETD has made an individual evaluation based on [name withheld]’s specific circumstances, FTA is not in the position to question SETD’s refusal to transport him, absent his use of a wheelchair or accompaniment by a personal care attendant.
You have the right to file a motion for reconsideration to Michael Winter, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Federal Transit Administration, at the address above within thirty (30) days from the date of this letter. If you have any questions regarding this determination, please contact me at 202-366-0805, or at my electronic 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
Ann Richardson, Congressman David Wu’s Office
Cindy Howe, SETD Executive Director
Rick Krotchalis, FTA Region X Administrator
Herman Payton, FTA Region X Civil Rights Officer