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Section 302(b)(2)(A)(111) "a failure to pake reasonable (emphasis added) modifications in policies, practices, procedures when such modificacions are necessary to afford such privileges, advantages, and accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that taking such steps. .. would result in undue burden (emphasis added)."
Section 302(b)(2)(a)(iv) "a failure to remove architectural carriers and comunication carriers that are structural in nature in existing facilities. . . where such removal is readily achievable (emphasis added).
Section 302(b)(2)(A)(v) "where an entity can demonstrate that the removal of a barrier under clause (iv) is not readily achievable, a failure to make. . .available through alternative methods if such methods are readily achievable (emphasis added)."
"Readily Achievable" · defined in section 301(5)(B): factors considered in determination include:
(1) the overall size of the covered entity
Section 302(b)(2)(A)(vi) does not "require the installation of an elevator for facilities that are less than three stories or chat have less than 3000 square feet per story..."
Section 302(b)(2)(B) "FIXED ROUTE SYSTEM
(ii) Equivalent Service · If such entity purchases or leases a vehicle carrying 16 or less passengers after the effective date of this title that is not readily accessible.. it shall be discriminatory for such entity to fail to operate a system that, when viewed in its entirety, ensures a level of service to individuals with disabilities. . .equivalent (emphasis added) to the level of service provided to the general public."
Section 302(b) (2) (C) "DEMAND RESPONSIVE SYSTEM. .an incident in which (iii) such entity purchases or leases a bus or vehicle. ..that is not readily accessible. .unless such entity can demonstrate that such system, when viewed in its entirety, already provides a level of service
individuals with disabilities equivalent to that provided to the general public excepe over the road buses (emphasis added).
Section 303 "NEW CONSTRUCTION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND POTENTIAL PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT
.failure to design and construct facilities. . . that are readily accessible. . except where an entity can demonstrate that it is structurally impracticable to meet the requirements of such subsection..."
same in section 302.
Section 303(b)(3) "the purchase or lease of a new vehicle (other than an automobile or an over-the-road bus) that is to be used to provide public transportation services. .except in the case of a vehicle used in a demand response system, in which case the new vehicle need not be readily accessible. ..If the entity can demonstrate that such system, when viewed in its entirety, provides a level of service individuals with disabilities equivalent to the level of service provided to the general public."
Section 307. EXEMPTIONS FOR PRIVATE CLUBS AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
Telecommunication Relay Services
Section 401(a) (b) AVAILABILITY OF TELECOMMUNICATION RELAY SERVICES
(1). . .shall ensure that interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services are available, to the extent possible (emphasis added).
(d) REGULATIONS. ---(3) JURISDICTIONAL SEPARATION OF COSTS(B). cost caused by interstate telecommunications relay service shall be recovered from the interstate jurisdiction and costs caused by intrastate telecommunications relay services shall be recovered from the intrastate jurisdiction.
(5) UNDUE BURDEN. . the Commission may extend the date for fuli compliance by such carrier for a period not to exceed one additional year."
Mr. MINETA. The subcommittee will please reconvene. At this time I would like to call forward a panel made up of Marilyn Golden, Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; George Herman, General Superintendent of Maintenance, RTD Denver; Tim Cook, Director, National Disability Action Center, Washington, D.C.; John Winske, Assistant Director, Massachusetts Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities; and Ralph Markward, Executive Director of the Zia PVA, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ms. Golden, we all have copies of your statement, and in fact, all the statements of the members of the panel will be made a part of the record. Please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF GEORGE HERMAN, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT
OF MAINTENANCE, RTD DENVER; MARILYN GOLDEN, POLICY
Ms. GOLDEN. Thank you, Chairman Mineta, members of the committee and staff. My name is Marilyn Golden. I am a Policy Analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. I will summarize my testimony, but first I would like to proceed immediately to answering some of the issues that were raised this morning.
Quite a few things were raised by quite a few people, so please bear with me. First I want to respond to Mr. Currey, and I want to say that I very much appreciate his concern to come up with a feasible way of providing access to inter-city transit. This definitely shows his eagerness to cooperate with the disability community, and we are very pleased to see his keen interest in coming up with methods that will work.
We in the disability community are not eager to rush into an infeasible solution that will bankrupt Mr. Currey's company because we, too, want access to every city that he currently serves, and ideally, more. That is why, when it came time to compromise, when the Senate was considering the bill, the Senate compromise included not a mandate for lifts, as some of the speakers would have led you to believe this morning; the Senate compromise and the House bill do not require lifts. They require access.
I think that the current bill, certainly the Senate bill, includes both what we want and what Mr. Currey presented. Which is that all the solutions he presented and other solutions that have been advocated can be considered by the Office of Technology Assessment study. But access will be required, as Mr. Currey, as well as the rest of us, imminently seem to feel is reasonable at least some way and, therefore, would be reasonable to require, so at least in that point we are in agreement.
Again, I want to just reiterate that the current bill, the Senate compromise bill, requires access, not lifts. The study can look at every method that has been suggested. We can proceed, I think, with the Senate compromise completely encompassing and includ
ing everything that Mr. Currey recommended this morning without changing the bill.
I also would want to warn Mr. Currey of the comparison to airlines. The 504 regulations of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act require all airports that receive Federal funding, which is the overwhelming majority of them, to require a lift or a ramp level boarding device so that people in wheelchairs do not have to be carried upstairs onto a plane. If the bus transit industry is to be compared to that, those devices would be required of them, too, and the compromise that Mr. Currey suggested in terms of carrying up wheelchair users in separate chairs would not be permitted. So he may want to beware of that comparison to airlines. We would love him to be considered just like airlines and lifts or ramps would then be required.
I want to go on to some other points that were raised, particularly to tour and charter services, and some of the objections that Mr. Skaggs raised. The distinction is already in the bill, that is the Senate compromise bill, between a common carrier and a tour charter. We don't have to put that distinction in, it is there. Demand response providers, tours and charters are considered differently than fixed-route providers, common carriers.
Fixed-route providers have to provide vehicle access whereas demand response providers only have to provide access when their system is viewed in its entirety. If they cannot accommodate the disabled customers that they have now, then new vehicles would have to have lifts. If they can accommodate them, new vehicles would not have to have lifts. I think that simple feature, which is already in the Senate compromise bill, would take care of their concerns.
I want to address the issue of seat loss. Figures have been thrown back and forth. It is true that, as Mr. Herman will testify in a little while, the Denver seat loss on their current generation that is in service, was four. But as Mr. Herman will testify, he expects to go back and retrofit those buses in a reasonable way; he is not required, he just wants to. That will minimize that seat loss back to zero or one, and his next generation, which is almost ready to go on line, will have a seat loss of zero or one. That should explain the discrepancy. Any future Hubmatic installations will only have a seat loss of zero or one.
To the concern Mr. Packard raised about retrofit, I want to again remind the committee that no retrofit is required in any situation by the bill.
I want to go to the issue of rest rooms. A significant amount of the cost that has been figured in by Greyhound is for rest room access. Rest room access is something to be required as technology becomes available, and this is also in the Senate compromise. It is a distortion to assume that rest room access is required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. It simply isn't, and in fact the Senate report very directly addresses that it could be considered a future requirement as technology becomes available, and the OTA study could, in fact, look at using boarding chairs or other devices.
The other thing to realize is that people with physical disabilities have dealt with the “no rest room" issue for a long time. Those of us who have struggled our way onto buses, those of us who have taken long flights, international flights, some of us use various medical devices; others use means that I will not describe, but, you know, it is not a new problem to us. And again, while we really appreciate Mr. Currey's insistence that access means rest rooms, which sort of helps out his cost figures, it makes them bigger, access to us doesn't mean rest rooms in this case, at least right away, and we reject any cost estimates that count them in. It is a distortion of the requirements.
I would like to rebut this morning's testimony of both common carriers, some of the smaller carriers, as well as Greyhound and the charter services, who say they have served people with disabilities. We have numerous reports, and I will not take up your time, but I could document them easily, of massive amounts of discrimination. Just the other night we had a story of a charter company where a young disabled adult was blanketly refused to be carried, even if they could get themselves on, even if they could get their friends to carry them on. The charter company said, “No, we will not carry you, I am sorry, it is against our insurance regulations."
Now perhaps that charter company is not in the charter compa. ny association that was represented this morning, but I don't think it is fair for the association to deny the fact that discrimination exists. We can give you all the documentation and anecdotal evidence that you want, that it does exist.
I want to clear up something about the Hubmatics in Denver. The Hubmatics' cost isn't necessarily $17,000. The future generation of Hubmatics, as Mr. Herman will testify, could be easily $7,000 to $9,000. It is another issue where cost estimates really have to be taken with a grain of salt. We do think there is a certain amount of hysteria, despite the documentation that was given this morning. We have experienced this before.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, before it was passed, was accompanied by humongous cost estimates by medical providers and universities that never panned out to be true. You all know that the New York subways are having key stations rehabilitated now for access. The actual cost estimates are known because of the working drawings which are being done. Before the New York re habbing, there was never an example of actual rail rehab for access. Now we have an example of when it has actually been done, and lo and behold, the wild, early scare-tactic cost projections for the New York system were fully ten times what the actual costs are going to prove to be, and I wouldn't be surprised if the cost estimates we heard this morning would turn out to be similarly inflated, not in a deliberate sense.
Í am sure they are not being deliberately inflated, but I think that when a mandate is passed, when the reasonableness of it is realized, the industry finds a way to do it that can be accommodated because at that point it is in their interest to do so. I am sure Greyhound will be able to do that.
Advance notice was raised this morning as a possible way to accommodate people with disabilities. As was testified last week in relation to public transit systems, publicly funded transit systems, advance notice has never worked. It completely rules out spontane ous travel, family emergencies, business travel. We have to remember that there is still, without regulation, quite a bit of discrimina