Reposted from a story bMike Frassinelli/The Star-Ledger By Mike Frassinelli/The Star-Ledger
DeCamp Bus Lines, which violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring passengers with wheelchairs to give two days notice before riding, has agreed to drop the exclusionary practice as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.Star-Ledger file photo
A Montclair bus company that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring that passengers with wheelchairs give two days notice before riding buses has agreed to drop the exclusionary practice as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, officials said.
In return, the department agreed to refrain from filing a civil suit alleging discrimination against DeCamp Bus Lines.
“People with disabilities should not be forced to take needless action simply to use a bus service designed for everyone,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of New Jersey said in a statement. “With this settlement, the Justice Department ensures individuals riding DeCamp will receive correct information about their access to transportation, and that access will not be denied.”
Added Eve L. Hill, a senior counselor with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division: “Individuals who use wheelchairs should be able to expect the same level of bus service from large operators that is provided to others.”
The settlement agreement bars the private bus company from imposing restrictions on when passengers with disabilities can ride the wheelchair-accessible buses, and also calls on DeCamp to provide annual employee training on Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Passengers without disabilities did not have to provide advance notice, officials said.
The Justice Department began a review of DeCamp two months ago.
Even though its entire fleet was wheelchair-accessible, the company had a statement on its website and its schedules requiring 48 hours notice for passengers with wheelchairs to ride a bus, according to the Justice Department.
Wednesday, the website simply noted: “All of our buses are wheelchair accessible. For faster service and handling of your needs, we always appreciate advance notice if possible.”
DeCamp officials had no comment on the settlement.
As of Oct. 29, DeCamp and all other large, fixed-route motorcoach bus fleets were required to have buses accessible to people with disabilities, including people using wheelchairs, the Justice Department said.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public accommodations, including motorcoach companies,” the department noted.
Department of Transportation regulations also require that companies perform regular maintenance checks to ensure wheelchair lifts work, train their employees and file annual reports with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Justice Department said.