A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement With National Bus Company Ensuring Equal Access For People With Disabilities
Yankee Trails Will Create New Policies To Ensure Individuals With Disabilities Enjoy Full And Equal Access To Its Bus Routes
Schneiderman: My Office Is Committed To Protecting Individuals With Disabilities From Discrimination
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Yankee Trails, a national bus company offering transportation services across New York and the Northeast, that will make sure individuals with disabilities have the same access to transportation as all New Yorkers. After an investigation into the company's practices and policies, the Attorney General’s office determined that Yankee Trails placed significant and unlawful barriers on customers with disabilities. Under the settlement, Yankee Trails will remove those barriers and handle all of its customer requests in accordance with the law.
Access to transportation is a pressing concern for individuals with disabilities. According to reports, people with disabilities are 20 percent more likely than those without disabilities to consider access to transportation a problem. A lack of dependable and accessible transportation can interfere with the ability of a person to get to work or school, to participate in the political process or attend social or cultural events.
“Equal access to transportation is essential to ensuring that people with disabilities across our state are able to work, attend school, seek medical attention and enjoy a full and independent life,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This agreement helps put other companies on notice that violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act will not be tolerated."
As part of an ongoing initiative to promote equal access to transportation, the Attorney General launched an investigation into whether Yankee Trails, based in Rensselaer, provided accessible transportation to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. The investigation revealed that Yankee Trails required customers with disabilities to submit a written request for accessible transport seven days before travelling on its buses. Yankee Trails also demanded proof of the person's disability, typically in the form of a handicap sticker or hanging tag, before it agreed to provide accessible transportation. These barriers to access are not only burdensome – they violate the law.
"Promoting policies that ensure accessible transportation remains an important goal that our state must continue to work towards,” Chris Hilderbrant, Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Disability Rights, Inc., said. “We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for making transit accessibility a priority."
The settlement requires Yankee Trails to institute new policies consistent with its obligations under the ADA and provide training to all employees about the requirements of the law.
Attorney General Schneiderman credits Yankee Trails for its cooperation and responsiveness during the course of the investigation.
The case was handled under the supervision of Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Janet Sabel.
The Civil Rights Bureau is committed to combating discrimination faced by and promoting accessibility for individuals with disabilities across New York State. To file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's Office at 212-416-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.ag.ny.gov.