Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, CA, 2-27-01

U.S. Department
of Transportation

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

Federal Transit
Administration
February 27, 2001

Re: FTA Complaint No. 00055

Dear (Name Withheld):

This letter responds to your complaint against the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), in Oakland, California, 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 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 which 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 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 reviewed the information submitted by you and EBPC, a local ADA Complementary Paratransit provider for AC Transit and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, and made a determination based on our analysis of that information in relation to the DOT ADA regulations.

Section 37.131(b) of the DOT ADA regulation states:

The entity shall schedule and provide paratransit service to any ADA paratransit eligible at any requested time on a particular day in response to a request for service made the previous day.

Section 49 CFR part 37.131 (f)(3) states:

Any operational pattern or practice that significantly limits the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons. Such patterns or practices include, but are not limited to the following: (A) Substantial numbers of significantly untimely pickups for initial or return trips; (B) Substantial number of trip denials or missed trips;Ö

We reviewed the information provided by EBPC and we learned that you were reported as a "no show" on your initial ADA Complementary Paratransit trip on January 28, 2000. However, Intelitran, Inc., a service provider for EBPC, located and provided you a return trip. Intelitranís dispatch clerk failed to inform EBPCís reservation center that you had been transported as scheduled. She was counseled for this failure. We find EBPC policy to cancel automatically a return trip if the rider was a "no show" for the first half of the trip not acceptable. Therefore, we will address this issue with EBPC by separate letter.

Regarding your February 18, 2000, scheduled trip to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic, you stated that the driver was one hour late in picking you up and that you were required to transfer to another vehicle to complete your trip, and that your trip was too long. EBPC responded directly to these allegations and confirmed that the driver was late. EBPC, in its May 18, 2000 response, explained that this is a rare occurrence and has apologized to you for your inconvenience.

However, EBPC did not agree that the duration of your trip was excessive as your trip was 25 miles in length and was a shared ride. For example, as the chart below indicates, it will take an average of 33.2 minutes to travel a 7.7 miles. According to EBPC, the June 18, 2000, and

June 28, 2000, incidents are similar to your complaint about a January 18, 2000, trip in which you stated, that you were asked to ride in an over-crowded sedan. We understand that EBPCís sedans have bench front seats, six seatbelts and it can accommodate up to six people. ADA Complementary Paratransit and Fixed Route services are intended to be a shared ride situation. In this instance, since you refused to allow the vehicle to proceed, staff appropriately provided a cab ride for another passenger so as to accommodate you. This action was not required by the ADA and goes over and above the DOT ADA regulatory requirements.

EBPC investigated both late pick up incidents that occurred on June 24, 2000, and July 16, 2000, and as a result letters dated July 5 and July 20, 2000 respectively, were sent to you apologizing for your inconvenience and provided you two complimentary tickets each for these incidents.

Regarding your July 25, 2000 scheduled trip, EBPC is unable to ascertain the status of this trip and whether there was any error on their part as it has no record that a complaint was filed regarding this ride and driversí manifests could not be retrieved because they were in the long-term storage.

EBPCís overall 9-month on-time performance from July, 1999 through March, 2000, within a 30-minute pick up window (15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the scheduled pickup time) during this period, was 86.9 percent.

EBPC System-wide ADA Complementary Paratransit Service Performance Report

February 2000 March 2000 July 1999-March 2000
On-Time Performance 84.0% 84.2% 86.9%
Late Trips:
(15-30) 11.0% 11.9% 10.1%
(31-59 min) 3.6% 3.3% 2.6%
(60 min or more) 0.6% 0.5% 0.5%
Average Trip Length 7.8 miles 7.5 miles 7.7 miles
Average Ride Time 33.2 minutes 32.1 minutes 33.2 minutes

The ADA DOT regulation does not provide a percentage goal for transit properties to follow in the provision of timely service. It does appear, based on EBPCís responses to your complaint, that their service has been less than timely for you personally.

EBPC has initiated the following actions to improve its ADA Complementary Paratransit service to persons with disabilities, as follows:

Based on the above information and the facts, EBPC has taken appropriate action in resolving your concerns and continues to work towards improving their ADA Complementary Paratransit service.

We thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. If you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact Roger Peralta, Equal Opportunity Specialist, at our toll free FTA ADA Assistance Line, 1-888-446-4511, or at his electronic mail address: roger.peralta@dot.gov.

Sincerely,
/signed/
Cheryl L. Hershey
ADA Group Leader
Office of Civil Rights