Bus Operator Policy and Procedures for Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Types of Service:
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District operates a curb to curb transportation service. This means that drivers will provide passengers with assistance during boarding and exiting the vehicle at the curb. However, if a passenger requires additional assistance to and from the curb, client will need to have someone there to assist them.
All Bus Operators must include in their pre-trip inspection a check of all lift, ramps, inside and outside step lighting, interior lighting, wheelchair securement devices, ADA signage, other signage and radio equipment. Any lift, ramp, radio, and other equipment not operating properly must be reported to the dispatcher immediately. ADA signage or any other signage missing will be reported on the Pre/Post Trip Inspection Form. During every PMI; lifts, tie downs, handrails, seat belts, seats, ADA signage, other signage and other ADA equipment will also be inspected by CUMTD.
If a spare vehicle is available, the vehicle will be immediately removed from service until the problem is corrected. If a spare vehicle is not available, the vehicle can be used to pick up passengers that don’t need the use of the lift. The vehicle will be repaired within five (5) days.
Each operator will understand how to operate the lift or ramp manually so if the need arises, the operator will be prepared to accommodate the passenger. Bus Operators will call all malfunctions of equipment to dispatch so that the vehicle can be replaced. All malfunctions must be entered on the post check card.
In the event that a ramp or lift cannot be manually operated while on route to accommodate a passenger. The bus operator will then call dispatch for assistance, and the vehicle will be replaced if one is available.
Dispatch will then accommodate the passenger by sending out another bus to pick up the passenger.
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will ensure that all personnel are trained to proficiency. All bus operators will receive training that includes hands on instruction in the operation of each type of lift, ramp, and securement systems.
Lift and Securement Use:
All bus operators will be properly trained in the use of all lift, ramp, and securement equipment.
If a passenger using a Mobility Assistive Device cannot be secured by the securement system, the operator must still transport the passenger. Dispatch must be notified of such an occurrence.
Please note that Segways when used by a person with a disability as a mobility device is part of the broad class of mobility aids CFR 49 Part 37 intends will be –accommodated (see for instance 37.5 and 37.165) In this way, a Segway occupies a legal position analogous to canes, walkers, etc
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District requires all passengers to wear seat belts unless medical authorization prohibiting their use is on file with CRIS Transportation. For passengers in wheelchairs, the driver will secure your chair to the vehicle’s floor and fasten your seat belt and shoulder harness. Drivers will secure other types of mobility devices and/or medical equipment..
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will secure all wheelchairs according to manufacturer’s guidelines using the tie down devices kept in the vehicle. IF however, a wheelchair cannot be secured, the supervisor is contacted for other arrangements.
CRIS will not ask a wheelchair user to transfer out of the wheelchair into another seat.
Staff provide assistance with lifts and securing systems. A rider who is not in a wheelchair may use the lift if they are unable to enter the vehicle by the stairs with the Driver’s assistance.
Where necessary or upon request, operators are required to assist an individual with a disability with use of the securement system, lifts, and ramps. Operators must leave their seats to assist passengers. The seats must be lifted the securement area available.
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District bus operators are to load passengers using mobility assistive devices onto lifts with their feet away from the vehicle. Although ADA law states that the passenger must be allowed to be loaded face forward and in some cases a passenger may insist that they be loaded onto the ramp in this manner but CRIS Rural Mass Transit District feels that this is very dangerous.
There have been known cases of partial foot and toe amputation because the person’s wheelchair was too close to the vehicle. This condition could happen by improper placement of the chair on the ramp, from loose brakes on a customer’s chair or a customer moving an electric chair slightly forward after they were placed on the ramp. If an operator has a customer who insist that their wheelchair be loaded onto the lift facing forward, the operator must call dispatch for authorization, and assistance.
On lifts/ramps that are deployed at the sidewalk level, the passenger is allowed to board either forward or backward at their preference; the operator should stand and offer assistance. If assistance is declined, the operator should stand nearby to ensure that the wheels of the passengers wheelchair do not go over the lip of the lift/ramp. If the lift/ramp is deployed at street level with no sidewalk and the ramp is on an incline, the operator is to maintain full control of the person and the wheelchair. The wheelchair should be pushed up and backed down the ramp. This is ensure that the passenger does not tip or fall out of their wheelchair while going up or down the lift/ramp.
The only refusal to a passenger using the lift/ramp standing to board the vehicle shall be:
i. The lift/ramp cannot be deployed at the stop because of the surrounding area.
ii. The lift/ramp will be damaged if it is deployed at the stop.
iii. All passengers are precluded from using the stop due to conditions that are
not under control of the agency.
Other Service Requirements:
Bus operators may not require an individual with a disability to use designated priority seats. However if the priority seat is taken by non-elderly or disabled passengers, the operator may request that a seat be vacated for an elderly or disabled passenger.
Passengers with disabilities will be allowed to travel with a respirator or portable oxygen supply. The oxygen or respirator tank must be secured while on board the vehicle.
Passengers with disabilities must be allowed adequate time to complete boarding or alighting the vehicle. Operators are required to offer and assist passengers as needed or requested.
The operator must permit a person with a disability to board the bus with a service animal. A service animal is any animal described as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. The dogs are allowed on the bus without a muzzle. Most (but not all) service animals wear identification as a service animal. The following are some guidelines to follow:
If you are not certain a dog is a service dog, the operator may ask the person who has the animal and what service has the animal been trained to perform.
Operators may not insist on proof that the animal is a service dog.
You must allow the passengers and service animal to ride. Do not ask the passenger about their disability.
You must make sure that there is adequate space for the dog near their owner on the bus out of the aisle.
You may exclude any animal, including a service animal from your vehicle when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. (You cannot exclude a service dog from riding because it barks.) The animal must show aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior is defined by the Humane Society Council as “growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping, and biting.”
If the animal is disruptive and uncontrollable on the bus, it may be excluded. Always call dispatch for assistance for all unusual occurrences.
If the passenger requests information on the transit system in large type, braille, audio tape, and computer disk. Please have them call the office. This type of information is available upon request.
Personal Care Attendants:
Disabled passengers are allowed one (1) Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to ride with them at no charge. A personal care attendant is someone designated or employed specifically to help the eligible individual to meet his or her personal needs.
Companion riders may accompany riders. Companion riders must pay the appropriate fare. If someone does not indicate use of a PCA, then any individual accompanying him or her will be regarded simply as a companion and the companion must pay the appropriate fare for the trip.
Entering a person’s home or private residence:
Drivers are strictly prohibited from entering the passenger’s home or private residence under any circumstances.
Illinois Relay Service:
The Illinois Relay Service makes it possible for those who have difficulty understanding or being understood on the telephone communicate fully each time they make or receive a call.
To use the Illinois Relay Service, one person uses a TTY (teletypewriter) or a commuter to communicate via the phone. TTY’s vary, but most have screens that allows users to read what is said, and keyboards type a response. They are typically used by people with speech that is difficult to distinguish over the phone and by people who are deaf.
The Illinois Relay Service provides a link called a Communications Assistant (CA) whose basic function is to voice exactly what the TTY user types. When the standard telephone user responds, the CA types everything that he or she hears.
The system is open 24 hours a day and is free of charge.
TTY Dial 1-800-526-0844 or 711
Voice User Dial 1-800-526-0857 or 711
Test Telephone (TTY’s) can be obtained at no charge by qualified Illinois residents form the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corp. (ITAC). For more information contact:
907 Clocktower Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62704
TTY Dial 1-800-526-0844 or 711
Voice User Dial 1-800-526-0857 or 711
Copies of CRIS Rural Mass Transit District brochures are available in large print, braille, audio tape, computer disk, and other languages upon request.
Procedures for dealing with disruptive passengers:
Disruptive passengers will not be tolerated on CRIS Public Transit vehicles. Unruly behavior is unfair to other passengers and a distraction to the driver. In the event that a passenger is disruptive, the driver will contact the dispatcher for instructions.
Procedures for Suspension of Service:
Riders are expected to act appropriately when using this service. Riders who display any of the following actions will be suspended from the Transit service. These actions include, but are but not limited to:
physical or verbal abuse of a driver or another passenger
refusal to wear a seatbelt (unless medical note is provided)
nonpayment of the fare
A suspension may result if a rider violates any safety policy or has a medical need that presents a clear and present danger to that individual, other passenger or Transit employee. This may result in an immediate suspension. A rider who is subject to an immediate suspension will be notified by phone and U.S. mail and how to appeal the suspension.
Another violation of Transit policies occurs when passengers fail to appear for their scheduled trip; this is considered a no-show. Cancellation of trips must be made no later than two hours prior to your scheduled trip. Failure to follow this policy will result in a Cancel at Door (CAD).
If a rider has three incidents within a 30-day period, the rider will be sent a letter indicating the dates of the three violations and the starting and ending date of the suspension. The rider will have ten business days from the date of the letter to appeal the decision.
1st violation will result in a one week suspension from the service.
2nd violation will result in a two week suspension from the service.
3rd violation will result in a three week suspension from the service.
Drivers are not to disclose passenger’s personal information. At no time should a driver discuss information regarding a passenger with another passenger.
Reasonable Modification Policy for CRIS Rural Mass Transit District
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District is committed to providing equal access and opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, services and activities. CRIS Rural Mass Transit District recognizes that in order to have equally effective opportunities and benefits, individuals with disabilities may need reasonable modification to policies and procedures. CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable modifications, as necessary, to afford equal access to programs for persons with disabilities. CRIS Rural Mass Transit District does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, participation in, or receipt of services and benefits under any program or activity. CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will take appropriate steps to ensure that persons with disabilities, including persons who have hearing, vision or speech impairments, have an equal opportunity to participate.
No qualified individual with a disability shall, by any reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the transit services, programs, or activities of CRIS Rural Mass Transit District, or be subject to discrimination by CRIS Rural Mass Transit District. Nor shall CRIS Rural Mass Transit District exclude or deny equal services, programs, or activities to an individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the individual is known to have a relationship or association.
The purpose of the reasonable modification policy is to offer equal and effective opportunities and access to public transportation services for persons with disabilities and full compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to provide equal opportunity to qualified individual with disabilities, unless making the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the program, service, or activity. A reasonable modification is a change or exception to a policy, practice, or procedure that allows disabled individuals to have equal access to programs, services, and activities.
Eligibility Criteria and Safety Requirements
An individual is eligible to be considered to receive a reasonable accommodation if that individual has a disability in the form of a physical or mental impairment that limits the performance of one or more major life activities, has a record of impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment.
Requests for Reasonable Modifications
A request for a reasonable accommodation is a statement that an individual needs an adjustment or change at work, in the application process, or in a benefit or privilege of employment for a reason related to a physical or mental impairment. Requests for accommodation may be made either orally or in writing. The reasonable accommodation process begins as soon as the request for accommodation is made.
When a request for accommodation is made, CRIS Rural Mass Transit and the individual requesting an accommodation must engage in a good faith interactive process to determine what, if any accommodation shall be provided. The individual and the CRIS Rural Mass Transit District must communicate with each other about the request, the process for determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and the potential accommodations. Communication is a priority throughout the entire process.
Time Frame for Processing Requests and Providing Reasonable Modification
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will process requests for reasonable accommodation as previously set forth and then provide accommodations, where appropriate, in as short a time frame as reasonable possible. CRIS Rural Mass Transit District recognizes, however, that the time necessary to process a request will depend on the nature of the accommodation(s) requested and whether it is necessary to obtain supporting information.
Granting a Reasonable Modification Request
As soon as CRIS Rural Mass Transit District determines that a reasonable accommodation will be provided, that decision should be immediately communicated to the individual. If the accommodation cannot be provided immediately, CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will communicate this fact to the requesting individual. This notice must be in writing in order to maintain the required information for reporting purposes.
Denying a Reasonable Modification Request
As soon as CRIS Rural Mass Transit District determines that a request for reasonable accommodation will be denied, CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will complete a denial of request form. The explanation for the denial shall clearly state the specific reasons for the denial.
Complaint Process and Resolution
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District shall have a uniform complaint and appeals procedure in place for individuals who believe their reasonable modification request was wrongfully denied. It is imperative to utilize the same complaint and appeals procedure for all individuals, and for this process to be documented.
Download the complaint form here.
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will post this policy in a conspicuous place frequented by passengers (e.g., the system website) to ensure maximum opportunity for review. The postings shall list the name and telephone number of the person responsible for addressing requests for reasonable accommodation. Upon request, the information contained on the notice must be made available in alternate formats (e.g. Braille, audio, large print, etc.).
CRIS Rural Mass Transit District will maintain all records related to reasonable modification requests and denials for at least three (3) years.