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It is the policy of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and  Transportation to provide accessible public transit bus service to all passengers by complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, including all laws, rules and regulations of the federal, state and county governments. 

This policy applies to all of the service provided on the fixed-route system.

l. Priority Seating

  1. The first aisle facing seats on the bus behind the bus operator and front door shall be designated as “Priority Seats.” These seats are for non-exclusive use by disabled passengers. An appropriate sign or decal shall be posted inthe vicinity of the priority section to inform all passengers.

  2. The priority seats are utilized to secure a disabled passenger’s mobility aid (i.e. - wheelchair, scooter). The seats are usually hinged and need to be folded up in order to secure a mobility aid.

  3. All non-ambulatory passengers must have their mobility aid secured in place. The only place on a bus where a mobility aid can be secured is in the mobility aid securement location.

  4. Ambulatory disabled passengers are not required to sit in the priority seating.

  5. When a non-ambulatory passenger using a mobility aid wishes to board the bus and the priority seats are occupied by an ambulatory passenger, the driver will ask the ambulatory passenger to move to another seat. The driver is not required to ask persons with disabilities or elderly persons to move to another seat.

    If there is no other seat for the ambulatory passenger seated in the priority seat to move to, or he/she refuses to move, the bus operator must notify the non-ambulatory passenger waiting to board. The bus operator will inform the non-ambulatory passenger that the bus is full and he/she must wait for the next bus. In addition, the driver will notify the dispatcher of the situation who will bring the matter to the attention of the operator of the next bus.

ll. Passenger Assistance

  1. The bus driver will honor all requests to deploy the lift. If the passenger making the request uses a wheelchair, the driver will make sure that one of the wheelchair securement locations is available and that the seat is folded up prior to deploying the lift. The lift will be deployed after all the ambulatory passengers have been boarded or discharged. Only one person may be on the lift at anytime.

  2. In the event that a passenger who uses the lift is discharged at the same location as a passenger who uses the lift wants to board, the procedure is slightly different. All passengers are discharged, including the passenger needing to use the lift. Next, the passenger requiring the lift boards the bus. Then the ambulatory passengers are allowed to board.

  3. Where necessary or upon request, the bus operator shall assist individuals with the use of securement systems and lifts. The assistance can be verbal instruction or, if it is necessary for the bus operator to leave their seat to provide this assistance, they shall do so. The type of assistance provided will be determined by the passenger’s request.

  4. The bus operator is responsible for securing the passenger’s mobility device. The driver will offer to assist the passenger with securing and removing the lap belt/shoulder harness. The passenger may transfer from the mobility device to a seat if one is available.

lll. Accessible Stops

  1. Upon request, the lift will be deployed at any bus stop where it can be done without the lift being damaged, or the safety of the passengers wishing to use the lift being compromised.

  2. Boarding the Bus
    If a passenger wishes to use the lift to board the vehicle, and the bus operator has made the judgment that it cannot be done for safety reasons, the bus operator will notify both the passenger and the dispatcher.

    The dispatcher will then send a road supervisor to the scene. The road supervisor will make the final judgment as to whether or not it is safe to board the passenger. If it is determined to be safe, the passenger will be boarded on that bus or on the next bus. If it is determined to be unsafe, the passenger will be instructed to go to a safe, adjacent location for boarding.

  3. Alighting the Bus
    If a passenger wishes to use the lift to exit the vehicle and the bus operator determines that it cannot be done safely, the bus operator will notify the dispatcher and the passenger. The passenger will be transported to a safe, adjacent location to disembark. The bus operator will provide a free transfer so that the passenger can take a bus from the stop he or she alights at to another stop.

  4. The bus company will notify the Westchester County DPW&T on a monthly basis of all times when the lift could not be deployed because of safety issues.

 

lV. Lift Failure and Alternate Service Arrangements

  1. Passenger unable to board vehicle because of lift malfunction
    1. If the lift fails while a passenger is attempting to board, the bus operator will call the dispatcher for assistance. The dispatcher will provide verbal instructions on steps to take to resolve the problem. If this fails, the dispatcher may send a supervisor to the scene or tell the bus operator to depart. Prior to departing the bus operator must tell the waiting passenger what will happen.

    2. If the headway on the route where the bus with the malfunctioning lift is 30 minutes or less, the bus operator will tell the passenger that he/she must wait for the next bus. If the headway is 31 minutes or more, the bus operator will inform the affected passenger that another vehicle is being sent to get him/her. An approximate arrival time for the replacement bus must be provided to the passenger if it is available. The dispatcher is the source of the information.

    3. The replacement bus will proceed to the bus stop where the passenger is waiting and then proceed with the route. Once the passenger has boarded, the bus operator will call the dispatcher for further instructions.

  2. Passenger unable to exit the vehicle because of lift malfunction
    1. In the event the lift fails when a passenger requiring use of the lift is attempting to exit the bus, the bus operator will notify the dispatcher. The dispatcher will provide verbal instructions on steps to take to resolve the problem. If unsuccessful in deploying the lift, the dispatcher will dispatch a road supervisor and alert the Maintenance Department for a possible road call.

V. Maintenance of Lifts

  1. All lifts will be cycled daily in the evening while being serviced. Buses with lifts found to be defective will be set aside to repair. To the extent feasible, the lift will be immediately repaired.

  2. A vehicle with a defective lift will be placed out of service unless keeping the vehicle out of service will result in loss of service.

VI. Fare Collection

It is the responsibility of passengers paying the fare to put the fare into the farebox, whether paying with coins or using a MetroCard or a transfer. Bus operators may assist passengers with paying the fare if the passengerrequests assistance. Passengers who show a half fare ID card and who attempt, but are unable to place the fare in the farebox, will be given an envelope to mail in the fare payment, and will be permitted to ride without paying the fare.

VII. Stop Announcements

  1. Stops announcements are mandated under the ADA.

    The stops to be announced through the automated announcement system are transfer locations and major stops. Generally, the announcement will first give the name of the street the bus is traveling on, followed by the name of the intersecting road. In some circumstances, a significant landmark at the location will be announced rather than the intersection. (Example: Rather than announcing South Broadway and St. Mary’s Street in Yonkers, the bus operator would announce St. Joseph’s Hospital).

  2. The bus operator will announce other stops (including flag stops) upon request.

  3. If the automated announcement system is out of order, the driver is responsible for announcing the stops in accordance with the policy above.

  4. When the bus is forced to leave the route because of a planned or ad hoc detour, the bus operator will announce when he/she leaves the regular route and when he/she rejoins it.

  5. Stop announcements are audible for passengers waiting for the bus at major bus stops. Routes are identified at stops served by multiple routes and routes with multiple destinations or patterns.

VIII. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) and Companions

  1. Personal Care Attendants are considered a mobility aid and ride for free. A passenger may travel with one PCA if it is determined to be appropriate during the ADA eligibility process. PCAs must board and exit the bus at the same stop as the ADA rider. PCAs must also provide a proper form of identification.

  2. Non-PCA traveling companions pay the regular fare.

IX. Service Animals

Disabled passengers are allowed to take a service animal on the bus. A service animal is an animal (usually a dog, but may be other animals) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability,including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. The bus operator may ask the passenger: 1) whether the animal is a service animal required because of a disability, and 2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

X. Other

Access will not be denied to individuals using respirators, concentrators or portable oxygen.