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Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance Letters


October 3, 2000

The Honorable Steven T. Kuykendall
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
21311 Hawthorne Boulevard
Suite 250
Torrance, California 90503-5610

Dear Congressman Kuykendall:

        I am responding to your letter on behalf of your constituent, xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, who inquires about the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to the transportation needs of his mother, Xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx. xxxx xxxxxxx, who according to her son is bedridden, must engage a private agency for transportation services to her medical appointments. That agency carries her from her condominium up and down 30 stairs and charges $175.00 per trip. Please excuse our delay in responding.

        The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for enforcing the ADA's transportation provisions, including those pertaining to paratransit services. The DOT regulation implementing these transportation provisions defines paratransit as "comparable transportation service required by the ADA for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route transportation systems." Paratransit service is complementary to fixed route transportation and is demand responsive, providing origin to destination service. While the ADA requires that the service must go from the user's point of origin to his or her destination point, detailed operational decisions rest with the local paratransit systems. These local paratransit plans may provide for door-to-door or curb-to-curb service. The ADA does not mandate additional service, such as that required by xxxx xxxxxxx.

        In fact, the preamble to DOT's regulation states that "... the ADA does not attempt to meet all the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities"; rather, it simply provides individuals with disabilities with the same mass transportation opportunities as others in the population. The preamble further states that the "ADA is a civil rights statute, not a transportation or social service program statute"; the ADA, then, does not intend complementary paratransit to be a comprehensive transportation system, but instead a "safety net" for individuals with disabilities who cannot use the fixed route system.

        For your information, we have enclosed a copy of the DOT regulation, "Transportation Services for Individuals with Disabilities," 49 C.F.R. pt. 37. We also have included the portion of the regulation's preamble pertaining to paratransit service, which is in subpart F of the regulation. Please note that the "Urban Mass Transit Administration," is now known as the "Federal Transit Administration." If you or your constituent have questions about the DOT regulation you may contact:

                                Mr. Ronald Stroman
                                Departmental Office of Civil Rights
                                Office of the Secretary
                                Department of Transportation
                                400 7th Street, S.W., Room 10215
                                Washington, D.C. 20590
                                Telephone: (202) 366-4648

        You or your constituent, however, may wish to contact agencies or organizations in Los Angeles County that provide transportation and other services or referrals, including case management services, for the elderly and for individuals with disabilities. The following are agencies that may be able to provide assistance:

                                Westside Center for Independent Living
                                12901 Venice Boulevard
                                Los Angeles, California 90066
                                (310) 390-3611 # 211 (Veronica Addison)

                                Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging
                                3333 Wilshire Boulevard, 4th Floor
                                Los Angeles, California 90010
                                (213) 738-4004

                                Wise Senior Services
                                Care Management
                                1527 4th Street, Suite 200
                                Santa Monica, California 90401-2354
                                (310) 576-2550 # 217 (Stacey Monroe)

        I hope that this information will assist you in responding to your constituent. Please do not hesitate to contact the Department if we can be of assistance in other matters.


                                                                                                                     Bill Lann Lee
                                                                                                                     Assistant Attorney General
                                                                                                                     Civil Rights Division


Updated August 6, 2015