RTD has adopted the following policy to ensure individuals who use mobility aids, including wheelchairs, have equal access to its buses and to the securement areas. This policy applies to all bus operators, bus operator training staff, street supervisors, dispatchers and safety and customer service representatives, as well as employees of our private contractors who fill similar roles.
Boarding Individuals with Disabilities Who Use Mobility Aids to Ensure Access
RTD will ensure individuals who use mobility aids, including wheelchairs have equal access to its buses and to the securement areas. This policy is effective on March 24, 2014.
- Individual with a Disability
An individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of that individual and any individual who identifies to a bus operator that the individual has a disability.
- Mobility Aid
A device, such as a wheelchair, scooter or walker, used by an individual with a disability for the purpose of mobility, not for convenience only.
- Priority Seating
The first row of seating that is not the securement area or securement areas.
- Securement Area or Securement Areas
One or both of the areas required on a fixed route bus for the purpose of securing a wheelchair.
A mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.
Good Customer Service
All passengers with or without disabilities are to be treated with the highest degree of respect and concern for safety. Passengers using wheelchairs or other mobility aids may be particularly vulnerable if left stranded at a bus stop. They do not want to wait for the next available bus any more than other passengers. Therefore, if you are unable to accommodate a passenger using a wheelchair or other mobility aid for any reason, you are required to report the situation to the dispatcher and remain there until cleared to proceed.
Boarding Strollers and Other Large Items
Articles, baggage or packages are not permitted on buses if they are dangerous or restrict free movement of passengers. Articles permitted on the bus must not interfere with the vehicle operation or any other passenger. Grocery carts must be folded or positioned so that they do not block the aisle of the bus. Whatever a passenger brings on the bus must be readily movable.
When a passenger with a stroller boards the bus, require the passenger to collapse the stroller prior to boarding. Passengers will not be allowed to board with large strollers or other items that cannot be collapsed and/or stored in the seats behind the securement areas and priority seating.
You must advise the passenger upon boarding to use seats behind the securement areas and priority seating for themselves and their objects because if they do sit in the securement area, they will be required to move if needed by an Individual with a disability using a mobility aid.
Do not permit a passenger to fold up the seat to make room for items brought on board the bus, other than a mobility aid.
Boarding an Individual with a Disability who Uses a Mobility Aid
In order to ensure an Individual with a disability who uses a mobility aid will have access to the bus when the securement areas are occupied, RTD operators will take the following steps:
- Do not assume or state that the bus is too crowded to board a passenger with a mobility aid.
- Get up and look first to see if other passengers are blocking the securement area or access to the securement area. Disabled passengers using mobility aids must have access to the securement area, because these are the only places they can sit and therefore have equal access to the bus.
- If a passenger is utilizing a securement area, get up from the driver seat, approach the individual occupying the securement area and say, "I need to use this area to allow a passenger with a disability to board please. You will need to move to a seat behind the securement area." This applies to any person regardless of what equipment or items the individual has brought on the bus, except mobility aids. Request that individuals with a disability not using a mobility aid or using a mobility aid that does not require securement to move from the securement area. Offer to assist in finding a seat, if necessary.
- When you are at a bus stop with both able-bodied passengers and passengers using mobility aids, you must clear the securement area to accommodate the boarding passenger using a mobility aid. It is not acceptable to allow the able-bodied passengers to board first, leaving insufficient space for the Individual with a disability with a mobility aid. You should attempt to board Individuals with a mobility aid prior to boarding others waiting at the bus stop to ensure access to the securement areas.
- Once sufficient space is made available to board the passenger, deploy the lift (if applicable), board the passenger, and then continue on the route.
- Never blame the passenger who uses a mobility aid for delays, inconveniences or imply that the passenger is holding up the bus. Keep your interactions polite and respectful.
- Unless the person occupying the securement areas is an individual with a disability who, for some disability-related reason needs to remain in the securement area, the person who is unwilling to move is in violation of RTD policies and is preventing the individual with a disability who uses a mobility aid from accessing the only seats available. You may not ask about disability, but the person may divulge. If the person offers a disability-related reason for being in the securement area or the reason is apparent, do not inquire further. If the Individual with a Disability does not use a mobility aid, ask the person to move to the priority seating. If the person does not offer a disability-related reason for being in the securement area and the reason is not apparent, see Section 6.
When an Individual in the Wheelchair Securement Area Does not Move
If an individual in the securement area does not move, RTD operators shall do the following:
- Inform the waiting passenger who uses a mobility aid that the individuals occupying the securement areas refuse to move.
- Inform passengers on the bus that the operator is required to contact the dispatcher to get further instruction because the individual in the securement area refuses to move. Do not leave the bus stop until cleared to do so by the dispatcher or supervisor.
- Contact the dispatcher. On equipped buses, use the preprogrammed radio data message, "ADA PAX PASS-UP". This places your request for assistance to a high priority level. That means that your call will be handled ahead of other routine calls.
- If you are unable to use the ADA PAX PASS-UP message, you must attempt to contact dispatch by other methods available and obtain instructions from a supervisor or dispatcher before leaving the stop.
- The dispatcher will provide you with information on how the passenger will be accommodated. If practicable, RTD will send a street supervisor or security officer to the bus to talk to the passenger. If warranted, the street supervisor or security officer may issue a warning for suspension of service or take other appropriate action.
- You must relay whatever action will be taken to the waiting passenger with a disability as soon as possible. Dispatch will instruct the bus operator of the alternative transportation, if applicable under Section 8 below, or offer a courtesy transfer.
- You must provide a completed ADA PAX PASS-UP form to the waiting passenger with a disability. You must provide the information in writing and offer to read such information to the waiting passenger with a disability. Only after following these steps are you to proceed.
When the Securement Areas are Occupied by Individuals with Disabilities who use Mobility Aids
If both the securement areas are occupied by individuals with disabilities who use mobility aids, the following shall apply:
- The operator must inform the waiting passenger of this condition.
- An operator may only inform the waiting passenger that the securement areas are full or occupied by individuals with disabilities who use mobility aids if it is absolutely clear that the passengers occupying the securement areas are, in fact, individuals with disabilities who use mobility aids, e.g., both passengers use wheelchairs. If there is any doubt as to whether the persons occupying the securement areas are individuals with disabilities who use mobility aids, the operator must follow all of the steps in Section 6.
- The operator shall provide the waiting passenger with the ADA PAX PASS-UP form as required in Section 6, shall offer the waiting passenger a courtesy transfer and use the preprogrammed data message, "ADA PAX PASS-UP" or, if that message system is unavailable, contact dispatch to notify RTD that an Individual with a disability who uses a mobility aid did not board the bus because the securement areas were occupied. The dispatcher will provide instructions on alternative transportation.
When an individual with a disability using a mobility aid is refused service because RTD informs the waiting passenger the securement areas are occupied and the next bus is not scheduled to arrive for 30 minutes or more, RTD will provide the rider with alternative transportation to ensure the passenger reaches the intended destination in a timely fashion.