The Americans with Disabilities Act regulations require Access Johnson County Public Transit as a public entity that operates a fixed route system, to provide complementary paratransit services to individuals with disabilities (that is, service that is comparable to the level of service provided to individuals without disabilities who use the fixed route system). See 49 CFR Sec. 37.131(a).
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity and access for persons with disabilities. It provides the general framework and approach for ending discrimination for persons with disabilities. The stated national goals of the ADA are to guarantee that persons with disabilities have equality of opportunity, a chance to fully participate in society, ability to live independently and be economically self-sufficient.
Section 223 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that public entities that operate non-commuter fixed route transportation service also provide complementary paratransit service for individuals unable to use the fixed route system. The regulations define minimum service characteristics that must be met for this service to be considered equivalent to the fixed route-service it is intended to complement. ADA complementary paratransit standards are provided for in 49 CFR Sec. 37.123 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
In general, the law prohibits public transit systems from denying individuals with disabilities the opportunity to use public transportation services, when they are available. It prohibits public entities from providing services that discriminate against persons with disabilities. The ADA requires the development of programs that will ensure the integration of all persons into the public transportation system, and thus all of the opportunities transportation makes possible. The goal is to ensure non-discriminatory, equitable, accessible and safe public transportation, enhancing the social and economic quality of life for people with disabilities.
Specific actions must be taken by public transit agencies to avoid discrimination. For example, the law requires that:
All newly purchased or leased vehicles used in fixed route service must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Public agencies which provide fixed route public transportation service also must offer similar complementary paratransit services to individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed route system.
New facilities must be accessible.
Alterations to facilities must include features to make them accessible.
Access Johnson County Public Transit complies with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Service Provided by Access Johnson County Public Transit ACCESS operates demand response service ‘Zone to Zone’ from 6:30 am–7:30 pm Monday – Friday. Also operate fixed route service ‘Zip Line’ (US31 6:15 am-5:15 pm, Zip Connects (flexible fixed routes in Greenwood 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and Franklin 7:30 am- 4:30 pm Monday – Friday), as well as the paratransit being done by our Zone to Zone the same operating hours as US 31 The system has a fleet inventory of 8 large transit buses (16-18 passenger capacity), 6 medium transit buses (12 passenger capacity), 9 small transit buses (8 passenger capacity), 6 mini vans (3-6 passenger capacity). All vehicles are wheelchair accessible thus all demand response ‘Zone to Zone’, fixed routes ‘Zip Line’ and the deviating ‘Zip Connects’ are accessible.
Current fixed route services ‘Zip Lines’ included 4 routes (4 along US 31). US 31 have 30 minute headways; Zip Connects (flexible fixed routes) Franklin and Greenwood are 60 minute headways and will deviate up to 1 mile from the route. All of our services have been providing over 100,000 passenger trips annually the last three years. General public bus fare for Zip Lines is $1. On the Zip Connects it is also $1 unless a deviation is requested it is $2. All deviations require a 24 hour notice. Demand Response service is acting as the complementary paratransit for US 31 and the fare will be $2 for that service ¾ of a mile off the US 31 route.
Services Provided by other Entities One other organization was identified as providing some level of paratransit service in Johnson County.
Johnson County Senior Services – Provides service to seniors
Head Start – Provides service to low income children to attend Head Start programs.
Rules for ADA Eligibility for Complementary Paratransit Services ADA complementary paratransit service must be provided to all passengers described as being ADA eligible under 49 CFR Sec. 37.123. ADA eligibility includes the following:
Any individual with a disability who is unable, as a result of a physical or mental impairment (including a visual impairment), and without the assistance of another individual (except the operator of a lift or other boarding assistance device), to board, ride or disembark from an accessible vehicle in the fixed–route. Included in this category are individuals with mental or visual impairments who cannot navigate the fixed-route system.
Persons who cannot use vehicles without lifts or accommodations. These persons are eligible for paratransit service if accessible fixed-route vehicles are not available on the bus routes in which they need to travel, when they need to travel during operational hours of Access Johnson County Public Transit. (All Access Johnson County Public Transit fixed-route vehicles are accessible.)
Persons with specific impairment related conditions that cannot travel to a boarding location or from a disembarking location to their final destination. The condition must prevent the person from using the fixed-route system. Conditions that make getting to the fixed-route bus stop “more difficult” do not grant eligibility. Second, architectural barriers (such as no curb cuts) are not under the control of AJCPT, and environmental barriers (such as distance, terrain, and weather) do not, when considered alone, confer eligibility. If, however, travel to or from a boarding location is impossible when these factors are combined with the person’s specific impairment related condition, conditional paratransit service will be provided to eligible passengers.
Access Johnson County Public Transit ADA Eligibility Certification Process Applications for ACCESS ADA eligibility for complementary paratransit service are available at ACCESS office located at 3500 N Morton St., Franklin, IN 46131 or request for an application to be mailed can be made by calling the ACCESS at 317-738-5523. Applications are also available for download on ACCESS website located on www.accessjohnsoncounty.org . This site also includes hours of operation, holiday schedules, fares, and route information. There is a two part application (see Appendix A) which you must complete before you are allowed to use ACCESS complementary paratransit. The first part is the Applicant’s Questionnaire to be filled by the applicant or someone on the applicant’s behalf. The second part is the Medical Professional’s Questionnaire, where a medical professional familiar with the applicant answers questions about his or her ability to use fixed route bus-service. ACCESS uses this information to determine eligibility for using the complementary paratransit. Once the completed application is received, ACCESS will notify the applicant within twenty-one (21) days of his/her eligibility status. If a determination has not been made within 21 days of receiving the completed application, the applicant will be treated as eligible and will be provided service until ACCESS determines their eligibility. The applicant will receive a letter verifying whether they are eligible for service or not, and if so, what type of eligibility, and for how long. If the eligibility is limited or denied, ACCESS will state specifically the reason for the limitation or denial. For visually-impaired customers, a phone call will be made in addition to the letter. Incomplete Applications Under conditions where the applicant satisfactorily shows the Medical Professional’s Questionnaire cannot be completed in a reasonable time due to protracted appointment dates or other causes beyond the control of the applicant, ACCESS staff will make a temporary determination regarding eligibility based only on the Applicant’s Questionnaire, if granted, it will extend until 21 days after the provided appointment date. If not granted, it will be reconsidered as a new application once the completed Questionnaire is received. Types of Eligibility There will be three (3) types of eligibility: Temporary Eligibility, Conditional Eligibility, and Full Eligibility. There can also be Temporary Conditional Eligibility; Temporary Eligibility will expire on a specified date determined by ACCESS staff based on the application information. Full Eligibility is not eternal, but will expire in a maximum of 5 years. A Conditional Eligibility, for example, may allow individuals to take ACCESS trips to certain destinations due to inaccessible infrastructure, where other destinations can be accessed successfully by the individual using the fixed-route system. Certain weather conditions like snow or high temperatures may also determine criteria for Conditional Eligibility. Eligibility Expiration/Reapplication ACCESS can request any or all customers to reapply at any time based on health conditions or after legal or policy changes, among other reasons, but must give 90-day minimum notice of expiration in writing. These requests cannot be arbitrary or capricious, discriminatory, or unreasonably frequent. Eligibility Determination Process Eligibility will be determined by trained ACCESS staff and will be based on ADA eligibility standards described in 49 CFR 37.123 and 49 CFR 37.125. Regulation 49 CFR 37.125(a) states. The process shall strictly limit ADA paratransit eligibility to individuals specified in 37.123 of this part. “The Transit Director will review applications to ensure that due process has been observed. The applicant will receive a letter describing their eligibility. If eligibility is denied or limited, the letter will describe why they were denied or provided limited service, and how they can appeal this decision. The letter will be sent in the format requested in the application. Appeals Process for ADA Eligibility If the applicant disagrees with the determination, he/she may appeal the decision. The appeals process will be carefully explained to all applicants who are rejected or granted limited eligibility. The following steps will be used to appeal the eligibility determination.
The applicant will have sixty (60) days to file an appeal with the Transit Director, which can be mailed, emailed or presented in person to the ACCESS 3500 N Morton St., Franklin, IN 46131.
An appeals committee consisting of the Transit Director, Transit Support Director, Safety Committee and a selection of two peer ACCESS customers will investigate all eligibility appeals. The Transit Director may collect additional information as part of the review. The applicant will have the opportunity to be heard in person or may submit all his/her arguments in writing or an accessible format. The appeals committee will have fourteen (14) days from the date of the appeal to render a decision. After fourteen (14) days from the date of the appeal to render a decision. After fourteen (14) days, the applicant will be presumed eligible until a decision has been reached. The applicant will be notified by letter, and other methods requested.
If a customer appeal is denied and the applicant believes the ADA paratransit eligibility process was unfair , the applicant can file a complaint with the Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington D.C. 20590 (866)377-8642 (Voice) (800) 877-8339 (TTY)
If you are interested in becoming a peer member of the Appeals Committee, please contact the transportation office.
ADA Eligible Visitors Policy Visitors not from this jurisdiction may be able to use ACCESS. Visitors who are ADA eligible with another transit system may use ACCESS services. Visitors shall provide AJCPT with documentation that (1) they are not residents of Johnson County, and (2) they are paratransit eligible elsewhere. If they cannot show AJCPT staff they are eligible elsewhere, but can show sufficiently they are a visitor and are disabled, they may use ACCESS services for up to 21 different days for one (1) year. If the visitor needs further service, he/she must apply for ACCESS eligibility. Meeting the Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act Under ACCESS Paratransit Service Plan, the level of service provided to persons determined to be ADA eligible is similar to AJCPT fixed routes bus service. Six service criteria are included in the regulations. The following is a description of how ACCESS paratransit service meets or exceeds the service criteria.
Service Area: ADA complementary paratransit service is provided to all origins and destinations within the service area defined as the basic service centered on each fixed route and extending ¾ of a mile to either side of the fixed-route,.
Response Time: As stated in the regulations, pick up times will be negotiated with the ADA eligible passengers to make scheduling more efficient. As a shared ride service, ACCESS is allowed to negotiate within a one hour window on either side of the requested targeted time. Any negotiation of time will be discussed with the passenger prior to pick up. The vehicle can arrive up to 20 minutes before or after the agreed up on targeted time.
Fare Structure: Fares charged for an ADA eligible complementary service trip to ADA eligible users will be twice the amount of the base cash fare paid by passengers for the ACCESS fixed route service. The 2014 fare for a one way complementary paratransit trip is currently $2. This price is subject to change. Personal Care Attendants (PCA) traveling with the ADA eligible passengers will not be charged as defined in the regulations.
Trip Purpose Restrictions: There are no priorities for trip purposes.
Hours and Days of Service: Telephone reservation requests are accepted Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. There is an opportunity to leave a message requesting a schedule. However recorded requests are not guaranteed. ADA complementary paratransit service shall be offered during the same days and hours that ACCESS offers fixed route service. As of the adoption of this Plan, the hours of operation are Monday – Friday 6:15 am -5:15 pm. These hours are subject to change without a change to this document.
Reservations can be made from four (4) weeks before the trip to the day before the trip.
Capacity Constraints: There are no capacity constraints at this time. If deviated ‘Zip Connects’ become full or behind then we use county wide demand response ‘Zone to Zone’ to assist.
Personal Care Attendant Policy
Personal Care Attendants (PCA) will be permitted to accompany ADA eligible riders on ADA eligible trips at no charge. ACCESS will require that passengers state the need for a PCA when they schedule their trip. ACCESS does not provide PCA’s One guest will be allowed to accompany an ADA eligible complementary paratransit passenger on their ADA eligible paratransit trip. More than one guest will be allowed on a space available basis. The PCA is not considered to be a “guest” or companion. All guests, family members, companions, or friends are required to pay the applicable paratransit fare.
Drivers are to announce major stops and/or intersections on all the fixed ‘Zip Lines’ and Zip Connects.
There are signs adhered to the passenger door in upper right hand corner in different colors and they also identify in writing which fixed ‘Zip Line’ , Zip Connect it is.
Service Animals are allowed to ride all of our transportation services including fixed ‘Zip Lines” and Zip Connects.
We provide our brochures in accessible formats for the public (including but not limited to large print and CD).