Bryan Cohen May 29, 2013, 7:31pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced settlements Tuesday with two charter bus companies to resolve allegations of failing to provide services to disabled individuals as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

United Coach Lines Inc. and Omega Express Ltd. allegedly failed to provide accessible buses and could not provide buses with wheelchair lifts within the legally required time periods. Ticket agents for the companies allegedly failed to make referrals to other business companies that could provide wheelchair accessible service.

The ADA requires that charter bus companies give the same service to all customers, regardless of disability status. Companies must generally be able to provide customers with disabilities with accessible transportation if they request service at least 48 hours in advance.

"Twenty-three years following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, equity in access to transportation remains an important civil rights issue," Schneiderman said. "My office is committed to achieving full compliance with accessibility laws and requirements to help ensure that all New Yorkers are able to lead full and independent lives. These agreements put all providers of transportation service on notice that they must comply with the law in New York state."

Under the terms of the settlement, Omega Express will purchase and retain a wheelchair-accessible bus and train its employees to comply with the company's ADA obligations. United Coach will pay a penalty of $5,000 to the state, contract with a third party bus company to provide accessible service, create new policies to fulfill its ADA obligations and train its employees on the new policy.

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