ADA Standards for Private Accessible Transportation
Private accessible transportation refers to transportation that caters to individuals with impairments. While not necessarily in the public sector, private transportation includes volunteer driver programs, para-transit services, and ride-shares which must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Personal Transportation Options
- Volunteer Driver programs
- Para-transit service
- Door-through-door service
- Independent Transportation Network America (ITN)
- Airport and hotel shuttles
- Private buses and taxis
- Motor-coach buses and Over the Road Bus (OTRB)
According to the ADA, transportation services that work with the public must provide an accessible vehicle to individuals with disabilities. For OTRB companies with fixed-route services or demand-responsive OTRB companies, ADA-compliant options must be made available to passengers with impairments.
Private transportation providers must find a way to meet the needs of a passenger with disabilities. This can mean offering an equivalent service with a different accessible vehicle. The equivalent service must also meet these other service characteristics:
- Route schedules
- Response time
- Fare cost
- Daily service hours
- Service abilities
Cannot Refuse Service to Individuals with Disabilities
If an individual with an impairment is able to use a taxi or ride-sharing service, then the private company must provide the service.
Cannot Refuse Service to Individuals who use Service Animals
Individuals with impairments who use service animals are protected by law to receive the benefits and services provided by transportation companies.
Cannot Refuse to Stow Mobility Devices
When an individual with impairments requires the use of a mobility device, whether a wheelchair or a walker, the transportation company must assist with caring for and storing mobility devices.
Cannot Upcharge Individuals with Disabilities
Individuals with impairments or mobility equipment are entitled to the same fare as other passengers. Private companies cannot charge more for accommodating these passengers.
Private Transportation Facilities
While a private transportation facility may not be a public commodity as it serves the public, the facility still must meet ADA standards and requirements. This means that old facilities must be brought up to standard and new construction should meet ADA rules from the very beginning. All transit facilities should include the following:
- Accessible walkways
- Boarding ramps and bridge plates
- Bus stops and shelters
- Curb ramps, wide doorways, elevators, emergency alarms
- Passenger drop-off and pick-up areas
- Accessible restrooms, water fountains, and wheelchair spaces
For accessible walkways, the path should be close to the general pathways and should not require additional distances for individuals to travel to find ramps or elevators.
Does a privately funded shared mobility project need to comply with ADA?
Yes, the Americans with Disabilities Act applies no matter how the service is funded. Naturally, the ADA compliance that’s required for the service will differ depending on the actual transportation services. For example, a service with a fixed route would be required to have vehicles that are accessible to individuals with impairments.
What does the ADA require for demand-responsive private transportation services?
People with disabilities should receive the same type of services as those who do not have disabilities. This means that demand-responsive private transportation services should be able to provide services to everyone that is equal in response time, geographic service area, daily operation hours, fares, reservations, and service availability.
For example, a ride-sharing company must be sure that accessible vehicles are available that will not require a higher fare or a longer wait time than any other passenger.
While private transportation companies tend to answer to a different set of rules than transportation services that are provided by government agencies, a private entity that offers transportation services must still meet ADA guidelines.
At StrongGo, our goal is a more accessible world for all. We do our part by providing Tekway detectable dome-tiles for mass transit projects, pedestrian walkways, and office spaces. Speak with an expert today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.