Metropolitan Transportation Authority--New York City, NY, 2-28-01

U.S. Department
of Transportation

    400 Seventh St. S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20590

Federal Transit
February 28, 2001

Re: FTA Complaint No. 99039

Dear (Name Withheld):

This letter responds to your complaint against MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) of Brooklyn, New York and potential noncompliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the 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.

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 the 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, the majority 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 NYCT of your allegation and requested information relating to your complaint; reviewed the information presented by NYCT 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:

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.

NYCT provided us your 7-month trip history from December 1998 through June 1999 and found that of the 17 ADA Complementary Paratransit trips you requested, you were placed in a "no show" category 9 times (you were not there when they arrived in a timely fashion), 3 were late cancellations, and five were pick ups after the scheduled pick up time. NYCT instituted a policy requiring ADA Complementary Paratransit riders to be ready to travel within 5 minutes before and to wait 25 minutes after the scheduled pick up time. Of these five, only one time, was outside of the pick up window. Please note that the documentation gathered does not support a finding of a violation of the DOT ADA regulation 37.131 (f).

NYCT also established a procedure so that if the vehicle has not arrived within the 30-minute window, the rider can: (1) call the Command Center for the status of their ride; and, (2) if the vehicle is not expected to arrived within 45 minutes of the pickup time, the customer is authorized reimbursement for taxi or car service expenses.

This service offered by NYCT should be viewed as an additional service and does not in any way diminish their obligation to timeliness in their Dial A Ride system. However, we wish to make you aware of this procedure for your future use. This system requires you to call and get an authorization number and after obtaining a receipt from the driver mail it in for reimbursement. We understand in speaking with your daughter recently that you at times have difficulty obtaining receipts from the taxi drivers. While this is not an ADA issue, it is the responsibility of NYCT to ensure responsible performance of their contractor, in this instance the taxi service, and we suggest you address this concern with them directly.

NYCT advised in their response that they decided to drop the assessment of points against your record. In addition, NYCT also has authorized you a personal care attendant, who travels free while accompanying you on your trips and who may call the NYCT Command Center regarding the status of your trips. You expressed interest in subscription service to attend Church regularly and we encourage you to pursue this by making application to NYCT. If available, this service would assist in resolving your transportation concerns.

Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention. If you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact Mr. Peralta, at our toll free FTA ADA Assistance Line, 1-888-446-4511, or at his electronic mail address:


Cheryl L. Hershey
ADA Group Leader
Office of Civil Rights