Department of Transportation Proposes Changes in ADA Transportation Regulation

Has your transit agency cut back assistance to paratransit riders recently?

Could you or people you know successfully use the ADA paratransit service, if there was no assistance beyond the paratransit vehicle?

Your comments are needed by July 28, 2006 – this is a new extended deadline — on important proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transportation regulations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing positive changes that are being very strongly resisted by most public transportation providers. Disability advocates’ support is crucial to the outcome. DOT is also seeking comment on other questions of importance to the disability community. Topics in this rulemaking include:

  • Should transit agencies be required to make reasonable modifications of policies, practices, and procedures in order to avoid discrimination, such as when providing ADA paratransit to individuals who need assistance beyond the vehicle to reach the facility door?

    It appears that some transit agencies have responded to this proposed change by ALREADY stopping service to paratransit riders beyond the vehicle (that is, no assistance to or from the building). If this is true where you live, submit a comment to let DOT know.

    Also tell DOT if you or people you know would be unable to use the ADA paratransit service, if this type of assistance was not available.

  • Should rail systems provide full platform access?
  • Should DOT use a Department-wide coordinated approach to interpreting disability policy questions?
  • Should transportation providers that acquire used vehicles be required to make efforts to obtain accessible vehicles?
  • Is there a problem with the exclusion of wheelchairs that transportation providers say do not meet the "common wheelchair" description?

This link will take you to draft comments from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) to help you write your comments. Please don’t send in this alert or the DREDF comments themselves. Instead, write your own comments, borrowing ideas from the DREDF draft if you wish, and adding your own experiences and concerns.

At a minimum, please submit a brief comment supporting DOT’s addition of a requirement for transit agencies to make reasonable modifications of policies, practices, and procedures.

Your comments must include the docket number 2006-OST-23985 and they are due by July 28. Comments may be submitted electronically. Instructions for submitting comments, reprinted from the DOT notice, appear below, and the DREDF draft comments follow (and are attached).

DOT’s full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be found at

From DOT’s instructions for submitting comments: You may submit comments identified by the docket number [OST- 2006-23985] by any of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal (follow the instructions for submitting comments);

(2) DOT Web Site (follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site); [NOTE: DREDF found this the easier electronic option]

(3) Fax: 1-202-493-2251;

(4) Mail: Docket Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-001.

Comments must be received by July 28, 2006. Comments received after July 28, 2006 will be considered to the extent practicable. You should include the agency name [Department of Transportation] and docket number [OST-2006-23985] or the Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this notice [RIN 2105-AD54] at the beginning of your comment. All comments received will be posted without change to including any personal information provided.