U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Transit Administration
April 11, 2001
400 Seventh St. S.W.
Dear (Name Withheld):
This letter responds to your complaint against the Toledo Ohio Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA), Toledo Area Regional Paratransit (TARPS) and potential noncompliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA) and/or the Department of Transportation (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.
In the FTA complaint investigation process, we analyze the complainant’s allegations for possible ADA deficiencies by the transit provider. If we identify what may be a violation, we first attempt to provide technical assistance to address it by assisting the transit provider to comply 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 transportation provider that may result in the termination of Federal funds. FTA also may refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice for enforcement.
Because of the limitation in resources a majority of complaint investigations are conducted by telephone and written inquiry. In a few circumstances, where time and resources permit, investigations may be complemented by other means, such as compliance reviews or other on-site action. A finding of no violation of a particular allegation should be understood to apply specifically to the facts and circumstances at issue. Such a determination is not intended to express an opinion as to the overall ADA compliance of that transit property.
We understand your allegation to be as follows:
We informed TARTA of your allegation and requested information relating to your complaint; reviewed the information presented by TARTA and you; and made a determination on your allegation based on our analysis of the compiled information in relation to the DOT ADA regulations.
The DOT ADA regulation at 49 CFR 37.131(f) states:
(f) Capacity constraints. The entity shall not limit the availability of complementary paratransit service to ADA paratransit eligible individuals by any of the following:
- (1) Restrictions on the number of trips an individual will be provided;
- (2) Waiting lists for access to the service; or
- (3) Any operational pattern or practice that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons.
- (i) Such patterns or practices include, but are not limited to, the following:
- (A) Substantial numbers of significantly untimely pickups for initial or return trips.
- (ii) Operational problems attributable to causes beyond the control of the entity (including, but not limited to, weather or traffic conditions affecting all vehicular traffic that were not anticipated at the time a trip was scheduled) shall not be a basis for determining that such a pattern or practice exists.
However, TARTA admits that it experienced denials of service that it attributed to excessive demands at specific times of the day. TARTA advised that the level of service has greatly increased for the Toledo disability community due to a budget increase of approximately 25 percent and the hiring of additional bus operators. As a result, TARTA has represented that denials have been resolved. We spoke with a number of the co-complainants, who advised that they attended the Special Transportation Coordinating Committee meetings to address their needs in an on-going manner. All of the riders who spoke said they had not experienced any denials since February 7, 2000.
Ms. Laura Swigart, TARTA’s ADA Director, has advised that since these changes she has received no further complaints from you. In a telephone conversation on March 31, 2000, with Linda Wood King, Equal Opportunity Specialist of this office, you informed her that you are now satisfied with your transportation service and have not received any trip denials.
TARTA acknowledges that prior to February 7, 2000, standby status for passengers was exercised when TARTA was unable to give the consumer an exact time for their requested trip or if they were unable to meet their request. TARTA advised that standbys were continuously contacted if there was a cancellation that would meet their need. In addition, they state that riders were offered one-way trips on occasion. While there were riders opposed to these trips, others were able to utilize them.
Based on complaints such as yours, the FTA Office of Civil Rights conducted an ADA Complimentary Paratransit compliance assessment from April 2-5, 2001. The team spent four days reviewing TARTA’s ADA Complementary Paratransit service. For any problems that are identified, FTA will work with TARTA to improve its service to persons with disabilities. Thereafter, FTA will continue to monitor, where appropriate, to ensure TARTA will continue to make good faith efforts to comply with its ADA obligations. Upon completion of the assessment, and the opportunity for TARTA to comment on the findings, the assessment report will become final and a copy may be obtained upon a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
We recognize your involvement in working with TARTA to resolve your transportation needs, and encourage you to continue to work with TARTA to assist in resolving any remaining transportation issues. If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Linda Wood King, Equal Opportunity Specialist, on our toll free FTA ADA Assistance Line at 1-888-446-4511, or at her electronic mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the FTA complaint number on any correspondence with this office. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
/signed/ Cheryl L. Hershey
ADA Group Leader
Office of Civil Rights