The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to both public and private ground transportation providers. The ADA rules that apply to transportation are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Both public and private organizations must meet ADA requirements: A public entity entering into a contract or agreement with a private entity to operate transportation services must ensure that the private entity meets all ADA requirements for the public entity. Specific requirements for private transportation providers like airport shuttles, hotel shuttles, private buses, and taxis are reviewed later in this document.
- Rider information: A public transportation system must provide adequate information on services in accessible formats for persons with different types of disabilities (e.g. information in large print, braille or alternative and electronic format).
- Assistance equipment and accessible features: Equipment and facilities such as lifts, ramps, securement devices (straps for securing wheelchairs on board), signage, and communication devices must be in good operating condition. If a feature is out of order, it must be repaired promptly. In the interim, an alternative accessible vehicle or option must be available.
- Adequate time to board: Public transit operators must allow adequate time for people with disabilities to board and exit from vehicles.
- Service animals allowed: Service animals may accompany people with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. The DOT ADA regulations define a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability, regardless of whether the animal has been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
- Priority seating and signs: Fixed-route systems (those operating along a prescribed route) must have signs designating seating for passengers with disabilities. At least one set of forward-facing seats must be marked as priority seating (for people with disabilities).
- Operator training: Each public and private transportation operator must ensure that personnel are trained to operate vehicles and equipment safely; properly assist individuals with disabilities in a respectful, courteous way; and recognize that individuals with disabilities have different abilities and needs requiring different types of assistance.