BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has resolved allegations that it violated laws protecting people with disabilities when it contracted with transit companies to provide transportation for people in wheelchairs, have said federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday that when the MBTA launched a pilot program in 2016 that used ride-sharing companies to supplement its door-to-door paratransit service for passengers with disabilities, known as The Ride, these companies did not have enough vehicles to provide service. wheelchair passengers.
As a result, wheelchair-accessible vehicles were either unavailable or passengers experienced excessive wait times, which prosecutors said was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The MBTA denied the discrimination.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office closed its investigation because the MBTA made several changes, including providing grants that prompted ride-sharing companies to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles available for rental.
“Innovation is not an excuse to avoid accessibility. Rather, it is an opportunity to improve accessibility. That’s what the MBTA has now done here. The first iteration of the MBTA program left out the rights of those who use wheelchairs,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.
The MBTA also agreed to monitor wait times for passengers requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles and report the data to federal authorities for 18 months.
“The MBTA continues its work to identify and develop creative solutions to improve the services available through its paratransit program, The Ride,” the agency said in a statement. “MBTA’s innovative work with transit system companies has increased the transportation options available to the paratransit community.
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