The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with DC Trails Inc., a bus transportation company in Lorton, Virginia, that ensures that their buses are accessible to people with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. DC Trails is a covered large, fixed-route over-the-road bus operator under the ADA.
The settlement is the result of collaborative enforcement efforts between the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The agreement remedies violations by DC Trails, including failing to provide accessible buses for all trips, failing to report the number of passengers with disabilities that used the lift to board, requiring individuals with disabilities to provide advance notice prior to a trip and failing to train its staff on accessibility requirements. The settlement agreement requires DC Trails to:
Comply with all ADA requirements for accessible service, and not exclude persons with disabilities from their transportation services;
Ensure that the company’s employees and contractors do not require or otherwise inform passengers with disabilities who use or seek to use DC Trails’ fixed route service that they must provide advance notice in order to use an accessible bus;
Ensure that DC Trails only uses wheelchair-accessible buses for its fixed route service; and
Train all employees and contractors on the requirements of the ADA for large, fixed-route over the road bus operators.
“Intercity bus service is a growing and effective means of affordable transportation across this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “People with disabilities must be able to count on accessible bus service that is equal to the service provided to others.”
“This settlement agreement demonstrates the United States Attorney’s Office’s commitment to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive equal access to public accommodations, including transportation services that are operated out of Northern Virginia,” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.
This is the Justice Department’s 24th settlement with bus companies over the past several years to ensure compliance with accessibility obligations.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public accommodations, including large over-the-road bus companies. DOT’s regulations implementing the ADA require that these companies perform regular maintenance checks to ensure that wheelchair lifts work, provide prompt accessible service with an alternative carrier if the company does not have a lift-equipped bus, train their employees on accessibility requirements, and file annual accessibility reports with the FMCSA.
This matter was handled for the Department by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Gordon, Coordinator of the United States Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Enforcement Program, and David W. Knight of the Civil Rights Division.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA or this settlement can call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.