By James O’Grady –
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced on Tuesday the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) resolved allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The MBTA violated the ADA by providing a subsidy for users of The Ride paratransit service to supplement their paratransit rides with ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, even though these companies did not have the capacity to provide service to passengers who used wheelchairs.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said during its investigation it found that because wheelchair accessible vehicles were either unavailable or the wait times were excessive, wheelchair users could not benefit from the MBTA program in the same way as other users of The Ride.
In resolving the investigation, the MBTA has implemented a policy that incentivizes ride sharing companies to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles available for hire, which has resulted in more wheelchair-accessible vehicles in service and available for both The Ride program and the public at large.
The MBTA has also agreed to monitor wait times for riders needing wheelchair-accessible vehicles and to report that data to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a period of 18 months. They must also notify the U.S. Attorney’s Office of any material changes to its policy.