U.S. Attorney’s Office Enters into Agreement with Peter Pan Bus Lines to Ensure Full Accessibility of Buses
One wheelchair-bound passenger spent nearly eight hours on a bus because of faulty equipment
BOSTON – Peter Pan Bus Lines has entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office to resolve allegations that the Springfield-based company violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against customers with disabilities.
Peter Pan is a major operator of fixed-route bus lines throughout the Northeast Corridor, carrying over four million passengers a year. Peter Pan allegedly failed to ensure that its motor coaches were accessible to individuals with disabilities. Although all coaches were equipped with wheelchair lifts as required by the law, lifts were not properly maintained and allegedly malfunctioned frequently, causing delays and disruptions for travelers using wheelchairs. Peter Pan drivers also allegedly failed to properly secure wheelchairs. Federal regulations under Title III of the ADA require that lifts and other accessibility equipment be properly and regularly maintained and prohibit private carriers from operating coaches with faulty equipment.
“Passengers with disabilities should be able to travel with the same convenience and dignity as other riders; they should not be subjected to delays and cancellations because of inoperable equipment,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb. “We appreciate Peter Pan’s cooperation throughout this investigation and its commitment to ensuring that individuals with disabilities receive the same service as other passengers.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Peter Pan will:
train customer service agents, ticket agents, and bus operators on the requirements of the ADA;
train drivers and other personnel on the use of wheelchair lifts and other accessibility equipment and institute testing of drivers’ knowledge of accessibility features; and,
test all fixed-route coaches on a weekly basis to ensure accessibility features are operable and will remove faulty coaches from service until they are fully repaired.
Peter Pan has also agreed to pay damages to an individual identified during the investigation who encountered repeated delays due to defective accessibility equipment. On one occasion, the individual spent nearly eight hours trapped on a bus without access to essential medications due to a malfunctioning lift.
This matter was handled by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Dorchak of the Civil Rights Unit.
The Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was established in 2015 with the mission of enhancing federal civil rights enforcement. For more information on the Office’s civil rights efforts, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-ma/civil-rights.