Americans with Disabilities Act Title II: Public Transportation

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in transportation. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

The transportation provisions of title II cover public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail transit (e.g. subways, commuter rails, Amtrak). Public transportation authorities may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of their services. They must comply with requirements for accessibility in newly purchased vehicles, make good faith efforts to purchase or lease accessible used buses, remanufacture buses in an accessible manner, and, unless it would result in an undue burden, provide paratransit where they operate fixed-route bus or rail systems. Paratransit is a service where individuals who are unable to use the regular transit system independently (because of a physical or mental impairment) are picked up and dropped off at their destinations.

Questions and complaints about public transportation should be directed to:

Office of Civil Rights Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation

400 Seventh Street, S.W. Room 9102
Washington, D.C. 20590
(888) 446-4511 (voice/relay)
(202) 366-2285 (voice)
(202) 366-0153 (TTY)

Americans with Disabilities Act Title III: Private Transportation

Transportation services provided by private entities are covered by title III.

Complaints of title III violations may be filed with the Department of Justice. In certain situations, cases may be referred to a mediation program sponsored by the Department. The Department is authorized to bring a lawsuit where there is a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of title III, or where an act of discrimination raises an issue of general public importance. Title III may also be enforced through private lawsuits.

It is not necessary to file a complaint with the Department of Justice (or any Federal agency), or to receive a "right-to-sue" letter, before going to court.

For more information, contact:

Disability Rights Section Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
(800) 514-0301 (voice) (800) 514-0383 (TTY)


Easter Seals Project ACTION
Project Action offer various resources, as well as training and technical assistance, in the area of transportation for people with disabilities.

Easter Seals: Transportation Solutions for Caregivers: A Starting Point
A booklet by Easter Seals on transportation solutions for caregivers.