North Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement Agreement with Bus Service Following ADA Complaint – InForum

FARGO — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with a bus transit service to resolve a complaint that the company violated the Americans Act disabled.

The deal, announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Chase on Tuesday, March 8, was with Jefferson Partners LP, doing business as Jefferson Lines, according to a news release.

The ADA’s complaint alleged that a Jefferson Lines bus driver refused to allow a passenger using a walker to access an elevator in the back of the bus to exit the vehicle.

The complaint said the driver instead instructed the passenger to walk from the back to the front of the bus and use the stairs to exit, all without assistance from the walker.

During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office learned that between January 2017 and August 2020, Jefferson Lines received 24 customer complaints about disability access issues.

Eight of these were complaints that a bus lift was not working or that a driver was not using a lift correctly.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Jefferson Lines will train bus drivers and those who operate elevators in ADA requirements, ensure each of those employees can use accessibility features, and will be tested on these features.

The company must also test all fixed-route vehicles weekly to ensure all accessibility features are working and remove defective vehicles from service until they can be repaired.

Jefferson Lines has agreed to indemnify plaintiff $5,000 for the violation of plaintiff’s rights under the ADA, according to the release.

Chase praised Jefferson Lines for its cooperation, saying the remedies will give people with disabilities better access to transportation in North Dakota and the United States.

“We hope other transportation providers will remain focused on upholding this important civil rights law,” Chase said in the statement.

As of October 29, 2012, the fleets of all major fixed-route highway bus operators, such as Jefferson Lines, must be 100% easily accessible and usable by people with disabilities.

Assistant United States Attorney Tara Vavrosky Iversen represented the United States in this case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said anyone wishing to file a possible complaint against the ADA can do so at www.ada.gov or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 701-297-7400.

Melvin Z. Madore