§ 37.189 Service requirement for OTRB demand-responsive systems.
(a) This section applies to private entities primarily in the business of transporting people, whose operations affect commerce, and that provide demand-responsive OTRB service. Except as needed to meet the other requirements of this section, these entities are not required to purchase or lease accessible buses in connection with providing demand-responsive service.
(b) Demand-responsive operators shall ensure that, beginning one year from the date on which the requirements of this subpart begin to apply to the entity, any individual with a disability who requests service in an accessible OTRB receives such service. This requirement applies to both large and small operators.
(c) The operator may require up to 48 hours' advance notice to provide this service.
(d) If the individual with a disability does not provide the advance notice the operator requires under paragraph (a) of this section, the operator shall nevertheless provide the service if it can do so by making a reasonable effort.
(e) To meet this requirement, an operator is not required to fundamentally alter its normal reservation policies or to displace another passenger who has reserved a seat on the bus. The following examples illustrate the provisions of this paragraph (e):
A tour bus operator requires all passengers to reserve space on the bus three months before the trip date. This requirement applies to passengers with disabilities on the same basis as other passengers. Consequently, an individual passenger who is a wheelchair user would have to request an accessible bus at the time he or she made his reservation, at least three months before the trip date. If the individual passenger with a disability makes a request for space on the trip and an accessible OTRB 48 hours before the trip date, the operator could refuse the request because all passengers were required to make reservations three months before the trip date.
A group makes a reservation to charter a bus for a trip four weeks in advance. A week before the trip date, the group discovers that someone who signed up for the trip is a wheelchair user who needs an accessible bus, or someone who later buys a seat in the block of seats the group has reserved needs an accessible bus. A group representative or the passenger with a disability informs the bus company of this need more than 48 hours before the trip date. The bus company must provide an accessible bus.
While the operator's normal deadline for reserving space on a charter or tour trip has passed, a number of seats for a trip are unfilled. The operator permits members of the public to make late reservations for the unfilled seats. If a passenger with a disability calls 48 hours before the trip is scheduled to leave and requests a seat and the provision of an accessible OTRB, the operator must meet this request, as long as it does not displace another passenger with a reservation.
A tour bus trip is nearly sold out three weeks in advance of the trip date. A passenger with a disability calls 48 hours before the trip is scheduled to leave and requests a seat and the provision of an accessible OTRB. The operator need not meet this request if it will have the effect of displacing a passenger with an existing reservation. If other passengers would not be displaced, the operator must meet this request.