Most people are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act since it became effective in 1990. People with disabilities have civil rights that assure they are provided equal opportunities to participate in society. Transportation, including public and private busses, can play a key role in that engagement.
Regardless of the size of the bus company, it must ensure accessibility and people with disabilities and those without must be charged the same fare. Small bus operators who also provide charter services are obliged to provide accessibility if there is at least 48-hours notice of passengers needing accessibility.
Charter bus companies are also required to provide accessible busses such as wheelchair accessible bus charters Boston MA. This is dependent upon a minimum of 48-hours notice about the need.
Large motorcoach companies are those with annual gross revenues of around $10 million. The large bus companies with fixed routes must make sure accessible busses are available for the entirety of the fixed routes. In addition, all new busses for the fixed routes must also be accessible.
In addition, the bus service is responsible for doing pre-trip safety inspections on the lift equipment and knowing the maximum size and weight it can handle safely to account for the variation in mobility devices. When the bus makes a rest stop, the operator must allow people using mobility devices to disembark.
Comfort stops must be provided upon request on trips three hours or longer, and the operator should know the status accessibility at the rest stop. In addition, each subsequent carrier on a fixed route is required to be notified, by the bus operators, to provide service accessibility at transfer points.
Passengers with service animals do not need to provide identification or certification for them, but operators can ask what service tasks they perform and if they are pets or service animals. Some service animals wear a particular harness, vest or tag to help identify them, and some owners carry certifications for them. However, if there is no certification or identification, service must still be provided, but the animal must be kept under control and stay with the owner at all times.
Engaging with society and pursuing one’s dreams are part of a healthy life. Accessible transportation by bus, whether it be public or private, can be crucial for many living with disabilities. Knowing that civil rights are being protected, accessibility is required, and what those requirements are can be empowering.