Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, Detroit, MI, 04-17-08

Printer Friendly Version


U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Transit Administration

Headquarters

East Building, 5th Floor - TCR
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

April 17, 2008

Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0225

Dear [name withheld]:

This letter responds to your complaint against the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) 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 April 30, 2007, alleged that:

  1. You do not get responses to the complaints that you file with SMART
  2. You applied for ADA paratransit certification but did not receive a reply from SMART regarding your application

FTA investigated your allegations and sent an information request to SMART. We received a response that addressed and provided relevant information. Each allegation is addressed in detail below.

1. You do not get responses to the complaints that you file with SMART

You indicate that you have filed several complaints with SMART that have gone unanswered. You provided us with your complaint numbers but did not describe the issues behind the complaints. SMART provided us with responses to each complaint. SMART indicated that each time you filed a complaint and requested to be contacted, they attempted to do so, but the phone numbers you gave them were incorrect or were numbers at which they were not able to reach you.

Complaint 43324: You complained that on July 18, 2005, a bus operator refused to wait for a disabled man to sit down before continuing on the route, so the man fell on top of you. You also complained about that the operator was rude and drove recklessly. SMARTís records indicate that the bus number given was on a different route on that date so they could not investigate the incident.

Complaint 43839: You complained that on October 11, 2005, a bus operator would not accept your bus pass. SMARTís driver did not recall the incident. SMART believes that you were on a Detroit Department of Transportation (D-DOT) Woodward Avenue fixed route bus, not SMART. SMART accepts the Special Fare pass issued by D-DOT, but D-DOT will not honor the SMART Special Fare pass. D-DOT requests that all customers with a disability obtain the D-DOT special fare ID card.

Complaint 44919: You complained that on March 22, 2006, you attempted to board a bus, but the operator denied you entry, was rude to you, and drove away. The operator denies the allegation, and SMART supervisors were unable to contact you.

Complaint 47689: You claim that on July 19, 2007, you scheduled a pickup with SMART and that SMART never picked you up. SMARTís Connector service database indicates that your scheduled pick up time was 5:30 pm, and you were picked up at 5:44 pm and transported home.

SMART appears to have accurately documented, investigated, and provided responses to your complaints to the extent feasible, given their claim that they were unable to reach you by phone number. In the future, please follow-up with SMARTís Customer Service as necessary at 503-682-7790.

2. You applied for ADA paratransit certification but did not receive a reply from SMART regarding your application

You indicate that you sent in applications for ADA certification along with all of the required documentation, but you have never received a response from SMART.

SMART reports that you applied for ADA paratransit certification on April 12, 2007. A temporary unconditional ADA certification was granted on April 23, 2007, with a letter confirming certification through June 30, 2007. SMART requested a functional assessment of your travel skills. Having heard nothing from you, your temporary ADA certification expired on June 30, 2007. SMART indicates that you continue to ride the SMART and D-DOT fixed route buses and also occasionally ride the SMART Connector service.

After reviewing all of the submitted materials, the FTA Office of Civil Rights has not found SMART to be in violation of the DOT ADA regulations. 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 FTAís 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: stephanie.sharer@dot.gov. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Sincerely,


David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

cc:
Michael Patten, ADA Coordinator, SMART
Marisol Simon, FTA Region X Administrator
Dwight Sinks, FTA Region X Civil Rights Officer