WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with New Century Travel, Inc. under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has filed a complaint and a proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. The proposed decree, which is subject to the approval of the Court, enforces the ADA’s requirement that over-the-road discount bus service be accessible for persons with disabilities. New Century provides low-cost, fixed route service to major cities along the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.
This is the first decree secured between the Department and a low cost, fixed route carrier. Among other things, the decree provides that persons who use wheelchairs can schedule rides on buses equipped with wheelchair lifts with 48 hours advance notice to New Century.
"This settlement opens the roads to individuals with mobility disabilities who now will be able to take advantage of low-cost travel opportunities and to make arrangements for accessible transportation with less difficulty," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "It ensures that New Century welcomes individuals with disabilities on an equal basis with all other riders."
The consent decree further provides that New Century will modify its web site to enable persons with disabilities to reserve a seat on an accessible over-the-road bus and to receive confirmation of their arrangements in writing in a timely manner. It also requires New Century to post notices on its web site, in stations and in pick-up locations indicating that it is obligated to provide accessible transportation to persons with disabilities, and to train relevant employees about the requirements of the ADA and how they apply to New Century, including policies, practices and procedures to be adopted as a result of this consent decree. New Century also will pay $5,000 in civil penalties to the United States and $1,000 in compensatory damages to persons who were denied accessible transportation by the company.
The consent decree is the result of an investigation conducted by the Department to ensure that over-the-road bus companies comply with the ADA accessibility requirements and provide accessible transportation.
These actions were taken to enforce Section 304 of the ADA, and the relevant regulations promulgated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation. Among other things, the regulations govern the purchase or lease of new over-the- road buses and require accessible service. In addition, until 100% of its over-the-road bus fleet is accessible, a small operator of a fixed route system must ensure that any individual with a disability who requests accessible service on an over-the-road bus receives that service. More detailed information about these requirements and the New Century consent decree can be found on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.ada.gov. People interested in finding out more about the ADA or this consent decree can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).