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Title 49

Displaying title 49, up to date as of 9/16/2021. Title 49 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 49

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Subpart G - Provision of Service
§ 37.161 Maintenance of accessible features: General.

(a) Public and private entities providing transportation services shall maintain in operative condition those features of facilities and vehicles that are required to make the vehicles and facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. These features include, but are not limited to, lifts and other means of access to vehicles, securement devices, elevators, signage and systems to facilitate communications with persons with impaired vision or hearing.

(b) Accessibility features shall be repaired promptly if they are damaged or out of order. When an accessibility feature is out of order, the entity shall take reasonable steps to accommodate individuals with disabilities who would otherwise use the feature.

(c) This section does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs.

§ 37.163 Keeping vehicle lifts in operative condition: Public entities.

(a) This section applies only to public entities with respect to lifts in non-rail vehicles.

(b) The entity shall establish a system of regular and frequent maintenance checks of lifts sufficient to determine if they are operative.

(c) The entity shall ensure that vehicle operators report to the entity, by the most immediate means available, any failure of a lift to operate in service.

(d) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, when a lift is discovered to be inoperative, the entity shall take the vehicle out of service before the beginning of the vehicle's next service day and ensure that the lift is repaired before the vehicle returns to service.

(e) If there is no spare vehicle available to take the place of a vehicle with an inoperable lift, such that taking the vehicle out of service will reduce the transportation service the entity is able to provide, the public entity may keep the vehicle in service with an inoperable lift for no more than five days (if the entity serves an area of 50,000 or less population) or three days (if the entity serves an area of over 50,000 population) from the day on which the lift is discovered to be inoperative.

(f) In any case in which a vehicle is operating on a fixed route with an inoperative lift, and the headway to the next accessible vehicle on the route exceeds 30 minutes, the entity shall promptly provide alternative transportation to individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the vehicle because its lift does not work.

§ 37.165 Lift and securement use.

(a) This section applies to public and private entities.

(b) Except as provided in this section, individuals using wheelchairs shall be transported in the entity's vehicles or other conveyances.

(1) With respect to wheelchair/occupant combinations that are larger or heavier than those to which the design standards for vehicles and equipment of 49 CFR part 38 refer, the entity must carry the wheelchair and occupant if the lift and vehicle can accommodate the wheelchair and occupant. The entity may decline to carry a wheelchair/occupant if the combined weight exceeds that of the lift specifications or if carriage of the wheelchair is demonstrated to be inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements.

(2) The entity is not required to permit wheelchairs to ride in places other than designated securement locations in the vehicle, where such locations exist.


(1) For vehicles complying with part 38 of this title, the entity shall use the securement system to secure wheelchairs as provided in that Part.

(2) For other vehicles transporting individuals who use wheelchairs, the entity shall provide and use a securement system to ensure that the wheelchair remains within the securement area.

(3) The entity may require that an individual permit his or her wheelchair to be secured.

(d) The entity may not deny transportation to a wheelchair or its user on the ground that the device cannot be secured or restrained satisfactorily by the vehicle's securement system.

(e) The entity may recommend to a user of a wheelchair that the individual transfer to a vehicle seat. The entity may not require the individual to transfer.

(f) Where necessary or upon request, the entity's personnel shall assist individuals with disabilities with the use of securement systems, ramps and lifts. If it is necessary for the personnel to leave their seats to provide this assistance, they shall do so.

(g) The entity shall permit individuals with disabilities who do not use wheelchairs, including standees, to use a vehicle's lift or ramp to enter the vehicle. Provided, that an entity is not required to permit such individuals to use a lift Model 141 manufactured by EEC, Inc. If the entity chooses not to allow such individuals to use such a lift, it shall clearly notify consumers of this fact by signage on the exterior of the vehicle (adjacent to and of equivalent size with the accessibility symbol).

[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 63103, Nov. 30, 1993; 76 FR 57936, Sept. 19, 2011]

§ 37.167 Other service requirements.

(a) This section applies to public and private entities.

(b) On fixed route systems, the entity shall announce stops as follows:

(1) The entity shall announce at least at transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location.

(2) The entity shall announce any stop on request of an individual with a disability.

(c) Where vehicles or other conveyances for more than one route serve the same stop, the entity shall provide a means by which an individual with a visual impairment or other disability can identify the proper vehicle to enter or be identified to the vehicle operator as a person seeking a ride on a particular route.

(d) The entity shall permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities.

(e) The entity shall ensure that vehicle operators and other personnel make use of accessibility-related equipment or features required by part 38 of this title.

(f) The entity shall make available to individuals with disabilities adequate information concerning transportation services. This obligation includes making adequate communications capacity available, through accessible formats and technology, to enable users to obtain information and schedule service.

(g) The entity shall not refuse to permit a passenger who uses a lift to disembark from a vehicle at any designated stop, unless the lift cannot be deployed, the lift will be damaged if it is deployed, or temporary conditions at the stop, not under the control of the entity, preclude the safe use of the stop by all passengers.

(h) The entity shall not prohibit an individual with a disability from traveling with a respirator or portable oxygen supply, consistent with applicable Department of Transportation rules on the transportation of hazardous materials (49 CFR subtitle B, chapter 1, subchapter C).

(i) The entity shall ensure that adequate time is provided to allow individuals with disabilities to complete boarding or disembarking from the vehicle.


(1) When an individual with a disability enters a vehicle, and because of a disability, the individual needs to sit in a seat or occupy a wheelchair securement location, the entity shall ask the following persons to move in order to allow the individual with a disability to occupy the seat or securement location:

(i) Individuals, except other individuals with a disability or elderly persons, sitting in a location designated as priority seating for elderly and handicapped persons (or other seat as necessary);

(ii) Individuals sitting in or a fold-down or other movable seat in a wheelchair securement location.

(2) This requirement applies to light rail, rapid rail, and commuter rail systems only to the extent practicable.

(3) The entity is not required to enforce the request that other passengers move from priority seating areas or wheelchair securement locations.

(4) In all signage designating priority seating areas for elderly persons and persons with disabilities, or designating wheelchair securement areas, the entity shall include language informing persons sitting in these locations that they should comply with requests by transit provider personnel to vacate their seats to make room for an individual with a disability. This requirement applies to all fixed route vehicles when they are acquired by the entity or to new or replacement signage in the entity's existing fixed route vehicles.

[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 63103, Nov. 30, 1993]

§ 37.169 Process to be used by public entities providing designated public transportation service in considering requests for reasonable modification.


(1) A public entity providing designated public transportation, in meeting the reasonable modification requirement of § 37.5(i)(3) with respect to its fixed route, demand responsive, and complementary paratransit services, shall respond to requests for reasonable modification to policies and practices consistent with this section.

(2) The public entity shall make information about how to contact the public entity to make requests for reasonable modifications readily available to the public through the same means it uses to inform the public about its policies and practices.

(3) This process shall be in operation no later than July 13, 2015.

(b) The process shall provide a means, accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, to request a modification in the entity's policies and practices applicable to its transportation services.

(1) Individuals requesting modifications shall describe what they need in order to use the service.

(2) Individuals requesting modifications are not required to use the term “reasonable modification” when making a request.

(3) Whenever feasible, requests for modifications shall be made and determined in advance, before the transportation provider is expected to provide the modified service, for example, during the paratransit eligibility process, through customer service inquiries, or through the entity's complaint process.

(4) Where a request for modification cannot practicably be made and determined in advance (e.g., because of a condition or barrier at the destination of a paratransit or fixed route trip of which the individual with a disability was unaware until arriving), operating personnel of the entity shall make a determination of whether the modification should be provided at the time of the request. Operating personnel may consult with the entity's management before making a determination to grant or deny the request.

(c) Requests for modification of a public entity's policies and practices may be denied only on one or more of the following grounds:

(1) Granting the request would fundamentally alter the nature of the entity's services, programs, or activities;

(2) Granting the request would create a direct threat to the health or safety of others;

(3) Without the requested modification, the individual with a disability is able to fully use the entity's services, programs, or activities for their intended purpose.

(d) In determining whether to grant a requested modification, public entities shall be guided by the provisions of Appendix E to this Part.

(e) In any case in which a public entity denies a request for a reasonable modification, the entity shall take, to the maximum extent possible, any other actions (that would not result in a direct threat or fundamental alteration) to ensure that the individual with a disability receives the services or benefit provided by the entity.


(1) Public entities are not required to obtain prior approval from the Department of Transportation for the process required by this section.

(2) DOT agencies retain the authority to review an entity's process as part of normal program oversight.

[80 FR 13261, Mar. 13, 2015, as amended at 80 FR 26196, May 7, 2015]

§ 37.171 Equivalency requirement for demand responsive service operated by private entities not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people.

A private entity not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people which operates a demand responsive system shall ensure that its system, when viewed in its entirety, provides equivalent service to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, as it does to individuals without disabilities. The standards of § 37.105 shall be used to determine if the entity is providing equivalent service.

§ 37.173 Training requirements.

Each public or private entity which operates a fixed route or demand responsive system shall ensure that personnel are trained to proficiency, as appropriate to their duties, so that they operate vehicles and equipment safely and properly assist and treat individuals with disabilities who use the service in a respectful and courteous way, with appropriate attention to the difference among individuals with disabilities.