Greyhound settles Justice Department disability chargesReprints
Greyhound Lines Inc. will pay at least $300,000 to disabled passengers to settle U.S. Department of Justice charges that it repeatedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Dallas-based bus carrier reached a consent decree, pending approval by the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, that resolves the department’s complaint that Greyhound violated the ADA by failing to provide full and equal transportation services to passengers with disabilities, including failing to provide accessibility features on its bus fleet such as lifts and securement systems, the department said Monday in a statement.
The carrier was also accused of failing to assist disabled passengers in boarding and exiting at rest stops and not allowing customers in wheelchairs to complete reservations online, according to the release.
Through a claims administrator, Greyhound will compensate disabled individuals who experienced barriers during the three years prior to the filing of the consent decree, with no cap on the number of individuals who can file claims or on the total amount to be disbursed through this process, according to the release. Greyhound will pay $300,000 to specific individuals identified by the department as having experienced ADA violations and will pay a civil penalty of $75,000 to the U.S. government.
The agreement requires Greyhound to implement a series of reforms, including hiring an ADA compliance manager within 30 days and ensuring disabled individuals can make online reservations and disability-related requests within 180 days of the effective date of the decree.
Additionally, by April 30 and every year after, Greyhound will require all employees and contractors who may interact with the public to attend in-person training on ADA requirements, according to the decree.
“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to transportation services so that they can travel freely and enjoy autonomy,” Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the department’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “Today’s agreement marks a major step toward fulfilling the promise of the ADA and we applaud Greyhound for entering the consent decree.”
Greyhound denied the allegations, but said it entered into the agreement voluntary to devote its resources to continuing to improve transportation services to disabled passengers, according to the consent decree.
“We recognize the importance of making travel easy and accessible for customers with disabilities and we’re fully committed to ensuring that customers with disabilities have equal access to our services,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve made numerous improvements over the years to make travel as convenient and hassle-free as possible and we will continue to make enhancements to our service that benefit customers who need extra assistance.”