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2.

Equalize treatment of public accommodation transportation providers and private transportation providers by excluding vehicles serving 16 or, fewer passengers from the full accesstbility requirements applicable to pubiic accommodations and

private transportation providers.

3.

Clarify the definition and application of the term, "equiva

lent levels of service" by

a. Penitting private sector operators to purchase

new, non-accessible, non-automobile vehicles if

they provide equivalent levels of service by

other means;

b. Clarifying that unusual instances of disparate

service to disabled persons will not, in therri

selves, support a finding that an operator nas

discriminated against disabled persons; and
c. Penitting small fleet operators to fulfill

their responsibilities by contracting with other
providers for service to disabled persons.

4.

Clarify the application of the employment nondiscrimi-
nation rules to the employment of commercial drivers.

5. Clarify that responsibility for satisfying the Act rests

with the public authority or public accommodation when services are provided by a private operator under contract to a public authority or public accommodation.

6.

Limit the scope of the "undue financial burden" exception

to the requirement that public sector transportation
providers provide supplemental paratransit service to
individuals unable to use accessible, fixed route vehicles.

ITA believes that these improvements will benefit both individuals with

disabilities and the public transportation industry alike, and stands ready to

work with the Committee and its staff to this end.

PANEL MEMBERS

Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce two members of the International Taxicab Association who are here to tell you firsthand how they meet the needs of their passengers with disabilities and how they see this bill impacting their private, for-hire, demand-responsive companies.

On my right is Mr. Rudolph H. Bruhns. He is the Executive Vice President and

General Manager of Yellow Cab Service Corporation, which owns four taxicab

companies, one of which is Yellow Cab of Houston. Yellow Cab of Houston is

the third largest taxicab company in North America, operating 1,205 demandresponsive vehicles. They have recently begun to convert their fleet from

four-door sedans to minivans. The company also operates 10 wheelchair

cess

ible vans to meet the transportation needs of its passengers who use wheel

chairs.

On my left is Mr. Robert M. Werth. He is president of Diamond Transportation,

Inc., which operates 11 wheelchair-accessible vans, five non-wheelchair-accessible vans and one wheelchair-accessible school bus. Mr. Werth's company is affiliated with both the Yellow Cab and Diamond Cab Companies in Alexandria,

Virginia. Yellow Cab operates 166 taxicabs and Diamond operates 132 taxicabs. Mr. Werth is very committed to providing high quality, fully accessible public transportation service directly to the general public and through contracts

with public agencies and private companies.

Following Mr. Bruhns' and Mr. Werth's brief statements, we would be happy to

answer any questions the members of the Committee might have.

Thank you for the opportunity to address this important bill, and we hope that

you will call on us for assistance.

TESTIMONY OF MR. RUDOLPH H. BRUHNS

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
YELLOW CAB SERVICE CORPORATION

HOUSTON, TEXAS

H.R. 2733
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1989

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I first want

to thank you for the opportunity to testify here this morning. As Mr. LaGasse has said, my name is Rudolph H. Bruhns, and I am the Executive Vice President of Yellow Cab Service Corporation,

in Houston, Texas.

Like the International Taxicab Association, Yellow Cab Service

Corporation supports this legislation. We firmly believe that .disabled Americans must have the same opportunities for employment and transportation that are available to all other Americans. At the same time, we are very concerned that this leçislation not impose unnecessary costs on private providers of cransportation for disabled persons that will raise the price of transportation for all, including the disabled.

I am here for one purpose, and one piirpose only:

To ask

this committee to ensure that the definition of an automobile, for purposes of this act, includes standard vans and minivans which are now being introduced into taxicab service across the

United States.

The companies owned by Yellow Cab Service Corpora

tion provide a good example of this trend.

Yellow Cab Service Corporation is a holding company that

operates taxicab companies in Houston and Austin, Texas; Colorado

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Springs, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. The largest of these companies, Houston Yellow Cab, transports nearly 6 million passengers a year, including dispatch trips, airport trips, and passengers picked up on the street. Included in this number ase over 100,000 trips made by elderly and handicapped passengers subsidized by the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. Over 14,000 of those subsidized trips were wheelchair trips, some of which were transported in one of ten wheelchair accessible minivans operated by Houston Yellow Cab. The remainder of the wheelchair trips were transported in regular sedan taxicabs.

For many years, Houston Yellow Cab has used full-size, sedans manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation, the Plymouth Gran Fury model. In November, 1988, Chrysler Corporation built the last Gran Fury. After investigating the remaining two full-size

vehicles available, the Chevolet Caprice and the Ford Crown

Victoria, and observing what other companies were doing with minivans, Yellow Cab Service Corporation decided to adopt the minivan as its taxicab vehicle for the future. As a result of that

decision, we have already purchased 125 1989 Plymouth Voyager minivans that seat six passengers. By 1994, we expect to be operating 1650 Plymouth Voyager minivans.

Why has Yellow Cab Service Corporation, and other taxicab companies across the country begun to adopt mini-vans? There are six reasons why minivans are as good as or better than a regular

sedan.

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