FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1997

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION COMPANY WILL MAKE ITS SERVICES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An Arizona airport shuttle company will ensure that its services are accessible to travelers with disabilities under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department. The agreement requires Arizona Shuttle Service, which operates a fixed route shuttle service between Tucson and Phoenix International Airport, to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing services to people with disabilities, including maintaining wheelchair accessible vans, and permitting all service dogs on the vans. "People with disabilities should have the same chance as others to visit their families this holiday weekend," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Isabelle Katz Pinzler. "This agreement, coming at the most heavily traveled time of the year, will make that more likely." The Department began investigating the company after receiving a complaint last March from a woman who was not allowed to board a van because she was accompanied by her service dog. An investigation by the Department determined that at the time Arizona Shuttle had a policy of allowing only "seeing eye" dogs on its vans and not service dogs used for any other purposes. Service dogs often aid people who are deaf, people with epilepsy, or in the case of the complainant, people with mobility impairments. During the investigation the Department also learned of a private suit brought by the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL). The suit alleged that when the company, which had no accessible vans in its fleet, purchased two new vans in 1996, it failed to ensure that they were accessible. The ADA requires, in most cases, private transportation entities to ensure that newly purchased and leased vehicles be accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. Under the agreement, Arizona Shuttle Service, which is based in Tucson, will: post and implement a written policy of nondiscrimination, which specifies that persons with disabilities, including

those with service animals, are welcome; train staff to ensure that all people with disabilities are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner; implement a reservation policy that ensures full and equal enjoyment of its services by all customers, including customers with disabilities; pay $10,000 to the complainant; pay $2,500 each to another woman who uses a wheelchair and to ABIL which brought the private suit; pay attorney's fees; and, pay $5,000 in civil penalties to the government. The company recently purchased two new wheelchair accessible vans to add to its fleet. "We hope that other companies like Arizona Shuttle will take note of today's agreement and work to comply with the law, so that next Thanksgiving transportation will be far more accessible to people with disabilities," said Michael A. Johns, U.S. Attorney in Phoenix. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in public accommodations, such as companies that own, lease, lease to, or operate a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation. In addition to its specific transportation provisions, the ADA also requires that public accommodations make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, to permit the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities. Copies of the agreement may be obtained by calling the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD). The text of the agreement is also available by accessing the ADA Internet Homepage at: [http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm] 97-501