Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, Detroit, MI, 12-28-07

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U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Transit Administration

Headquarters

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

December 28, 2007

Re: FTA Complaint Number 07-0185

Dear [name withheld]:

This is in response to your complaint against the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), alleging discrimination based on 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 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38.

In your complaint, you stated that SMART unfairly placed restrictions on your ADA complementary paratransit service. We spoke on the phone in August and September, and discussed that while you have been granted only conditional eligibility, the conditions under which you will be served are broad. Specifically, a trip is eligible for ADA complementary paratransit service whenever the destination is not served by a SMART fixed route bus. Your eligibility letter reflected the finding in your functional assessment that you are able to walk to and from the street, but cannot independently cross the street. For example, trips to or from your home will be eligible, because your street is not one served by SMART fixed route service.

In our conversation I asked if any trips that you requested had been denied, and you stated that none had. I asked you to contact me if at any time you were denied a trip that you felt was eligible for ADA complementary paratransit because you did not have the functional ability to make that trip on the fixed route. I have not heard from you since.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that SMART has repeatedly provided you information on travel training offered by Visually Handicapped Services or Michigan Commission for the Blind. While not mandatory, this free training could greatly increase your independence and mobility by allowing you to utilize the fixed route service for some trips. In your letter to me of August 29, 2007, you specifically stated that you “have no training and have never ridden a fixed route bus. At this time I have no clue and have never been show[n] how to ride a fixed route bus.” As this letter suggests that you might appreciate such training, please consider the resources that SMART has extended to you.

Because I have not heard from you further, it is my understanding that you have had no problems in utilizing SMART’s ADA complementary paratransit service. For this reason, we are closing your complaint as of the date of this letter, and no further action will be taken. If you have problems in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (202) 366-0805 or at my e mail address: david.knight@dot.gov. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Sincerely,


David W. Knight
ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

cc:
Vicki Selva, Regional Representative, U.S. Senator Carl Levin
Marisol Simon, FTA Region V Administrator
Dwight Sinks, FTA Region V Civil Rights Officer