49 CFR § 37.137 - Paratransit plan development.

§ 37.137 Paratransit plan development.

(a) Survey of existing services. Each submitting entity shall survey the area to be covered by the plan to identify any person or entity (public or private) which provides a paratransit or other special transportation service for ADA paratransit eligible individuals in the service area to which the plan applies.

(b) Public participation. Each submitting entity shall ensure public participation in the development of its paratransit plan, including at least the following:

(1) Outreach. Each submitting entity shall solicit participation in the development of its plan by the widest range of persons anticipated to use its paratransit service. Each entity shall develop contacts, mailing lists and other appropriate means for notification of opportunities to participate in the development of the paratransit plan;

(2) Consultation with individuals with disabilities. Each entity shall contact individuals with disabilities and groups representing them in the community. Consultation shall begin at an early stage in the plan development and should involve persons with disabilities in all phases of plan development. All documents and other information concerning the planning procedure and the provision of service shall be available, upon request, to members of the public, except where disclosure would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(3) Opportunity for public comment. The submitting entity shall make its plan available for review before the plan is finalized. In making the plan available for public review, the entity shall ensure that the plan is available upon request in accessible formats;

(4) Public hearing. The entity shall sponsor at a minimum one public hearing 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; and

(5) Special requirements. If the entity intends to phase-in its paratransit service over a multi-year period, or request a waiver based on undue financial burden, the public hearing shall afford the opportunity for interested citizens to express their views concerning the phase-in, the request, and which service criteria may be delayed in implementation.

(c) Ongoing requirement. The entity shall create an ongoing mechanism for the participation of individuals with disabilities in the continued development and assessment of services to persons with disabilities. This includes, but is not limited to, the development of the initial plan, any request for an undue financial burden waiver, and each annual submission.