[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 100 (Tuesday, May 24, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32716-32717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-11182]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary

49 CFR Part 37

[Docket DOT-OST-2015-0075]


Transportation for Individuals With Disabilities; Service 
Criteria for Complementary Paratransit Fares

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary (OST), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notification of disposition of petition for rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: This document announces the disposition of a petition for 
rulemaking from Access Services concerning the Department's regulations 
implementing

[[Page 32717]]

the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to the method of 
determining the fare for a trip charged to an ADA paratransit-eligible 
user. The petition asked the Department to revise its regulation to 
allow for a ``coordinated'' or two-tier fare structure. The current 
regulation provides that the fare shall not exceed twice the fare that 
would be charged to an individual paying full fare for a similar trip 
on the fixed route system. On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed 
into law the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. 
Section 3023 of the FAST Act allows the fare structure Access Services 
supported in its petition for rulemaking, thereby rendering the 
petition for rulemaking moot.

DATES:  May 24, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jill Laptosky, Attorney-Advisor, 
Office of General Counsel, DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590, telephone: 202-493-0308, or email, [email protected]; or 
Bonnie Graves, Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation and Regulations, 
Office of Chief Counsel, Federal Transit Administration, same address, 
telephone: 202-366-4011, or email, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT) received a petition for rulemaking from Access 
Services, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary 
paratransit provider for 44 fixed route transit providers in Los 
Angeles County, California. Access Services described that it uses a 
``coordinated'' or two-tier fare structure where it generally charges 
$2.75 for one-way trips up to 19.9 miles, and $3.50 for one-way trips 
of 20 miles or more. In some cases, these fares exceed twice the fixed 
route fare. The DOT's ADA regulation at 49 CFR 37.131(c) provides that 
the fare for a trip charged to an ADA paratransit-eligible user of the 
complementary paratransit service shall not exceed twice the fare that 
would be charged to an individual paying full fare for a trip of 
similar length, at a similar time of day, on the entity's fixed route 
system. In recent triennial reviews of some fixed route providers in 
Los Angeles County, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has made 
findings that the ADA paratransit fares exceed twice the fixed route 
fare. In other words, some paratransit riders had been paying more for 
ADA paratransit fares than they should have been under the Department's 
regulations.
    On August 20, 2015, the Department placed Access Services' petition 
for rulemaking in a public docket and sought comments on the petition 
in order to help the Department determine whether to grant or deny the 
petition. The Department received approximately 179 comments to the 
docket, several with multiple signatures. With the exception of one 
person, all those in support of the petition were in Access Services' 
service area, and all opposed were outside of the service area.
    On December 4, 2015, Congress enacted the Fixing America's Surface 
Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94). Section 3023 of the FAST 
Act provides that notwithstanding 49 CFR 37.131(c), any paratransit 
system currently coordinating complementary paratransit service for 
more than 40 fixed route agencies shall be permitted to continue using 
an existing tiered, distance-based coordinated paratransit fare system, 
if the fare for the existing tiered, distance-based coordinated 
paratransit fare system is not increased by a greater percentage than 
any increase to the fixed route fare for the largest transit agency in 
the complementary paratransit service area.
    Given this statutory provision, the Department has determined the 
issue is moot and no further action is necessary with regard to this 
petition for rulemaking. As a result, Access Services may continue to 
operate its coordinated fare structure notwithstanding 49 CFR 37.131(c) 
and in compliance with section 3023 of the FAST Act.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 5th day of May, 2016, under 
authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.27(a).
Kathryn B. Thomson,
General Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2016-11182 Filed 5-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P