NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an agreement with a national bus company on Friday to make sure that disabled individuals have the same transportation access as all New York residents.
The settlement, which falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act, was made with Eastern Coach, a bus company operating in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.
Schneiderman's office alleged that Eastern Coach employees were not properly trained on the requirements of the law and told customers they could not provide service to people in wheelchairs.
The settlement makes sure that future accessible transportation request are in compliance with the law.
"Without equal access to transportation, people with disabilities across our state are unable to work, visit loved ones, address medical needs, or enjoy full independent living," Schneiderman said. "This agreement helps pave the way for people with disabilities to access affordable intercity transportation and puts other companies on notice that violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act will not be tolerated."
Schneiderman's office alleged that Eastern Coach ticket agents advised customers it did not have accessible buses and could not accommodate people in wheelchairs. In addition, customers purchasing tickets through third-party websites allegedly faced difficulty attempting to tell Eastern Coach they needed an accessible bus.
Under the terms of the settlement, Eastern Coach must create new policies consistent with ADA obligations, pay costs to the state of New York and provide training to all its employees about ADA requirements.
Schneiderman thanked Eastern Coach for its willingness and cooperation in adopting new policies and administering proper training.
There are an estimated 60,000 wheelchair users in New York City. Disabled individuals face many challenges in finding statewide accessible transportation. Increased rail and air transit costs have led individuals to rely more frequently on intercity bus service. Schneiderman's office has become more vigilant about monitoring intercity bus companies to ensure compliance with the ADA.