(a) For purposes of this part, a vehicle shall be considered to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities if it meets the requirements of this part and the standards set forth in part 38 of this title.
(1) For purposes of implementing the equivalent facilitation provision in § 38.2 of this subtitle, the following parties may submit to the Administrator of the applicable operating administration a request for a determination of equivalent facilitation:
(i) A public or private entity that provides transportation services and is subject to the provisions of subpart D or subpart E this part; or
(ii) The manufacturer of a vehicle or a vehicle component or subsystem to be used by such entity to comply with this part.
(2) The requesting party shall provide the following information with its request:
(i) Entity name, address, contact person and telephone;
(ii) Specific provision of part 38 of this title concerning which the entity is seeking a determination of equivalent facilitation.
(iv) Alternative method of compliance, with demonstration of how the alternative meets or exceeds the level of accessibility or usability of the vehicle provided in part 38 of this subtitle; and
(v) Documentation of the public participation used in developing an alternative method of compliance.
(3) In the case of a request by a public entity that provides transportation services subject to the provisions of subpart D of this part, the required public participation shall include the following:
(i) The entity shall contact individuals with disabilities and groups representing them in the community. Consultation with these individuals and groups shall take place at all stages of the development of the request for equivalent facilitation. All documents and other information concerning the request shall be available, upon request, to members of the public.
(ii) The entity shall make its proposed request available for public comment before the request is made final or transmitted to DOT. In making the request available for public review, the entity shall ensure that it is available, upon request, in accessible formats.
(iii) The entity shall sponsor at least one public hearing on the request and shall provide adequate notice of the hearing, including advertisement in appropriate media, such as newspapers of general and special interest circulation and radio announcements.
(4) In the case of a request by a private entity that provides transportation services subject to the provisions of subpart E of this part or a manufacturer, the private entity or manufacturer shall consult, in person, in writing, or by other appropriate means, with representatives of national and local organizations representing people with those disabilities who would be affected by the request.
(5) A determination of compliance will be made by the Administrator of the concerned operating administration on a case-by-case basis, with the concurrence of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs.
(6) Determinations of equivalent facilitation are made only with respect to vehicles or vehicle components used in the provision of transportation services covered by subpart D or subpart E of this part, and pertain only to the specific situation concerning which the determination is made. Entities shall not cite these determinations as indicating that a product or method constitute equivalent facilitations in situations other than those to which the determinations specifically pertain. Entities shall not claim that a determination of equivalent facilitation indicates approval or endorsement of any product or method by the Federal government, the Department of Transportation, or any of its operating administrations.
(c) Over-the-road buses acquired by public entities (or by a contractor to a public entity as provided in § 37.23 of this part) shall comply with § 38.23 and subpart G of part 38 of this title.
[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 63101, Nov. 30, 1993; 61 FR 25416, May 21, 1996]
Title 49 published on 2013-10-01
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