Reasonable Modification Policy
On March 13, 2015, as part of the Federal Register Vol. 80, No. 49 (80FR13253), the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Final Rule effecting 49 CFR Parts 27 and 37: Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities; Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices. The purpose behind this final rule is:
“…specifically to provide that transportation entities are required to make reasonable modifications/accommodations to policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure that their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities.”
CTtransit is committed to providing equal access and opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, services and activities. CTtransit recognizes that in order to have equally effective opportunities and benefits, individuals with disabilities may need reasonable modification to policies and procedures. CTtransit will adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable modifications, as necessary, to afford equal access to programs for persons with disabilities. CTtransit does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, participation in, or receipt of services and benefits under any transit program or activity. CTtransit will take appropriate steps to ensure that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate.
No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of CTtransit or be subject to discrimination by CTtransit.
A reasonable modification is a change or exception to a policy, practice, or procedure that allows disabled individuals to have equal access to programs, services, and activities. CTtransit will make reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures when necessary to ensure access to transit services for qualified individuals with disabilities, unless:
- Making the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the public transportation service.
- Making the accommodation would create a direct threat to the health or safety of others including passengers.
- Making the accommodation would result in an undue financial and administrative burden.
- The individual with a disability is able to fully use CTtransit service without the accommodation being made.
For the purposes of this section, the term reasonable accommodation shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the term ‘‘reasonable modifications’’ as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act title II regulations at 28 CFR 35.130(b)(7), and not as it is defined or interpreted for the purposes of employment discrimination under title I of the ADA (42 U.S.C. 12111–12112) and its implementing regulations at 29 CFR part 1630.
An individual is eligible to be considered to receive a reasonable modification if that individual has: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such impairment; or been regarded as having such impairment.
Requests for Reasonable Modifications
CTtransit shall make information about how to contact CTtransit to make requests for reasonable modifications readily available to the public through its website and rider policy guidelines. CTtransit shall follow these procedures in taking requests:
- Individuals requesting modifications shall describe what they need in order to use the service.
- Individuals requesting modifications are not required to use the term ‘‘reasonable modification’’ when making a request. Personnel at CTtransit will determine if the request represents a reasonable modification and proceed in accommodating the request accordingly.
- Whenever feasible, CTtransit requests that individuals make such requests for modifications in advance if it is possible to do so before CTtransit is expected to provide the modified service.
- Where a request for modification cannot practicably be made and determined in advance (e.g., because of a condition or barrier at the destination of a paratransit, demand response, or fixed route trip of which the individual with a disability was unaware until arriving), operating personnel shall make a determination of whether the modification should be provided at the time of the request. Operating personnel may consult with CTtransit’s management before making a determination to grant or deny the request.
Requests for accommodation may be made either orally or in writing. The reasonable accommodation process begins as soon as the request for accommodation is made.
The request can be submitted in any written format. Alternative means of filing a request, such as personal interviews, phone calls, or taped requests, will be made available for persons with disabilities if unable to communicate their request in writing or upon request.
When a request for accommodation is made, CTtransit and the individual requesting an accommodation must engage in a good faith interactive process to determine what, if any accommodation shall be provided. The individual and the CTtransit must communicate with each other about the request, the process for determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and the potential accommodations. Communication is a priority throughout the entire process.
Time Frame for Processing Requests and Providing Reasonable Modification
CTtransit will process requests for reasonable accommodation and then provide accommodations, where appropriate, in as short a time frame as reasonably possible. CTtransit recognizes, however, that the time necessary to process a request will depend on the nature of the accommodation(s) requested and whether it is necessary to obtain supporting information.
Granting a Reasonable Modification Request
As soon as CTtransit determines that a reasonable accommodation will be provided, that decision shall be immediately communicated to the individual. This notice must be in writing in order to maintain the required information for reporting purposes. Upon request, alternative means of response will be provided.
In choosing among alternatives for meeting nondiscrimination and accessibility requirements with respect to new, altered, or existing facilities, or designated or specified transportation services, CTtransit shall give priority to those methods that offer services, programs, and activities to qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of individuals with disabilities.
Denying a Reasonable Modification Request
As soon as CTtransit determines that a request for reasonable accommodation will be denied, CTtransit will communicate the basis for the decision in writing to the individual requesting the modification. The explanation for the denial will clearly state:
- the specific reasons for the denial;
- any alternative accommodation that may create the same access to transit services as requested by the individual; and
- the opportunity to file a complaint relative to the CTtransit decision on the request.
Any person who believes she or he has been discriminated against in obtaining a reasonable modification may file a complaint by completing and submitting a CTtransit Reasonable Modification Complaint Form. Alternative means of filing complaints, such as personal interviews, phone calls, or taped requests, will be made available for persons with disabilities if unable to communicate their request in writing or upon request.
CTtransit investigates complaints received no more than 30 days after receipt. CTtransit has a process for investigating and tracking complaints from qualified individuals. CTtransit will process complaints that are complete. Once the complaint is received, the complainant will receive an acknowledgement of receipt. If more information is needed to resolve the complaint, CTtransit may contact the complainant. The complainant has 30 business days from the date of the letter to send requested information to CTtransit.
If CTtransit is not contacted by the complainant or does not receive the additional information within 30 business days, the CTtransit may administratively close the complaint. A complaint may be administratively closed also if the complainant no longer wishes to pursue their case.
After CTtransit investigates the complaint, a decision will be rendered in writing to the complainant. CTtransit will issue either a Letter of Closure or Letter of Finding.
- Letter of Finding – This letter will summarizes the complaint, any interviews conducted regarding the complaint, and explains what actions will be taken by CTtransit to address the complaint.
- Letter of Closure – This letter will explain why CTtransit has determined that the complaint does not merit accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and that the complaint will be closed.
If the complainant disagrees with the decision of CTtransit, an opportunity to appeal the decision may be pursued provided the complainant files notice of appeal within 21 days of the initial decision of CTtransit.
In the event of appeal, the complainant will be granted all due process, including the ability to present additional evidence, present the case in person during an appeal hearing, and to be represented by counsel.
CTtransit shall designate one official within the organization responsible for processing reasonable modification requests and handling complaints. This individual is:
100 Leibert Road P. O. Box 66
Hartford, CT 06141-0066
CTtransit will maintain all records related to reasonable modification requests and denials for at least three (3) years.