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) of Toledo, Ohio, 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 identity 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 section 37.165(f) states:
Where necessary or upon request, the entity’s personnel shall assist individual with disabilities with the use of securement systems, ramps and lifts. If it is necessary for the personnel to leave their seat to provide this assistance, they shall do so.
The DOT ADA regulation at 49 CFR section 37.173 states:
Each operator of a public or private entity which operates a fixed route or demand responsive system shall ensure that personnel are trained to proficiency, as appropriate to their duties, so that they operate vehicles and equipment safely and properly assist and treat individuals with disabilities who use the service in a respectful and courteous way, with appropriate attention to the difference among individuals with disabilities.
We understand that you advise that the driver took more than one half an hour to secure your scooter and your associate’s wheelchair on your initial trip, while on your return trip the same day, the driver failed to properly secure your scooter, only securing it at one point, and as a result your scooter moved about the bus while you were en route.
In a memo dated July 6, 2000, ADA Director, Laura Swigart advises that sensitivity/diversity training was provided March 21, 2000, to all fixed route and paratransit operators. Prior to this, the last full training was in November 1994. Between 1994 and 2000, various operational bulletins were sent to operators regarding ADA requirements and instructions, i.e., Use of Lift-Equipped Buses on Non-Lift-Equipped Routes, Wheelchair Tie Downs, and Dealing with Individuals with Disabilities. All new operators received training during pre-employment classes.
Section 37.173 requires that "personnel are trained to proficiency." To quote the appendix:
"While there is no specific requirement for recurrent or refresher training, there is an obligation to ensure that, at any given time, the employees are trained to proficiency. An employee who has forgotten what he was told in past training sessions, so that he or she does not know what needs to be done to serve individuals with disabilities, does not meet the standard of being trained to proficiency."
After a lengthy gap on providing training, we acknowledge that TARTA recently completed training given in March 2000, and encourage more frequent hands on training for the operator. Having the proper policies, procedures and training in place does not guarantee that drivers will always properly implement them. As a result of your complaint and our investigation, TARTA’s transportation department investigated the incident that you described. We understand that the operator was reprimanded to ensure that this type of behavior does not reoccur.
Enclosed please find a copy of the Securement Information Bulletin issued by this Office. (See enclosed bulletin.)
We encourage you to work with TARTA to assist in resolving your transportation issues. Based on TARTA's response to your concerns, we will take no further action on your individual complaint and will consider your complaint resolved.
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