5-12-94 MAY 13 1994 DJ 202-PL-764

Mr. Kenneth Conaway Adaptive Mobility, Inc. 1233 Country Club Road Indianapolis, Indiana 46234 Dear Mr. Conaway: This is in response to your letter about vehicle accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for a private nursing home and/or retirement center. I apologize for the delay in responding. The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical assistance to entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding how the ADA may apply to private entities. This technical assistance, however, does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of any entity's rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not constitute a binding determination by the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice regulation implementing title III provides that a public accommodation that provides transportation services, but that is not primarily engaged in the business of providing transportation, must comply with all the applicable nondiscrimination requirements of the Department's regulation, including the obligation to remove transportation barriers to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so. 28 C.F.R. 36.310. However, a public accommodation is not required to retrofit an existing vehicle with a lift. In addition, a public accommodation is required to comply with the applicable provisions of the Department of Transportation's regulation implementing titles II and III of the ADA. Under the ADA, and the DOT implementing regulation, key elements in determining an entity's obligation is whether the public accommodation provides transportation through a fixed-

route or demand responsive system, and whether the entity is purchasing new vehicles or operating a system with existing vehicles. cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Blizard, Alfaro, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\alfaro\conway.ltr 01-03082

-2If the private nursing home and/or retirement center acquires a new vehicle with a capacity of 16 or less for the residents on a fixed route, then the vehicle must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs unless the vehicle is part of the system that already meets the "equivalent service" standard. When the private entity purchases or leases a new vehicle that is to be used in a demand responsive system, the new vehicle need not be accessible if the transit provider can show that the system, when viewed in its entirety, provides a level of service to individuals with disabilities equivalent to the level of service provided to the general public. The standard of the system when viewed in its entirety providing an equivalent level of service is met when a private entity has, or has access to, a vehicle (including a vehicle operated in conjunction with a portable boarding assistance device) that is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities to meet the needs of such individuals on an "on call" basis. For further information, you may contact the Department of Transportation at 1-800-366-1656. I am enclosing copies of the Department of Justice regulation implementing title III of the ADA and the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual. I hope that this information is helpful to you and that this letter fully responds to your inquiry.

Sincerely,

Janet L. Blizard Supervisory Attorney

Enclosures

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