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ua14no94 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY (TREAS)...
Timetable: _______________________________________________________________________ Action DFR Cite _______________________________________________________________________ NPRM 10/00/94 Small Entities Affected: None Government Levels Affected: Federal Analysis: Regulatory Evaluation 10/00/94 Agency Contact: Ronald K. Gress Deputy Associate Director Office of Commercial Space Transportation Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary 400 Seventh Street SW. Washington, DC 20590 202 366-2929 RIN: 2105-AB85 _______________________________________________________________________ DOT--OST 117. +TRANSPORTATION FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES Legal Authority: 49 USC 322; PL 101-336, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) CFR Citation: 49 CFR 27 Legal Deadline: Final, Statutory, May 16, 1994. Abstract: The Department is seeking responses to questions concerning requirements for accessibility of over-the-road buses (OTRBs). DOT is required to consider the recent report of the Office of Technology Assessment in drafting OTRB access rules. This project is considered significant because of substantial public interest. Statement of Need: This regulation is necessary for the Department to comply with the ADA requirement that it issue a regulation governing accessibility in OTRB service for persons with disabilities. Summary of the Legal Basis: Under the ADA, the Department must issue regulations concerning OTRBs. OTRBs are buses with a high passenger deck and a below-deck baggage compartment, of the kind used by Greyhound, other intercity and local fixed-route operators, and charter and tour companies. When Congress enacted the ADA, it directed DOT to establish limited interim regulations for OTRBs. These interim regulations, which DOT published as part of its 1991 ADA rules, call for OTRBs to provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities and to carry their wheelchairs in baggage. By statute, these interim rules could not require lifts or other specific boarding devices. Based on concerns about the economic weakness of the intercity bus industry and the potential for reductions in OTRB service (particularly to rural areas), Congress directed the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) to study issues relating to demand, technology, cost- effectiveness, and service impacts of implementing OTRB access. OTA published its report in May 1993. OTA took the view that the ADA requires new OTRBs to be lift-equipped and requires passengers to be able to ride in their own wheelchairs (the highest cost approach to achieving OTRB accessibility). Under OTA's interpretation of the statute, DOT would have little regulatory discretion to fashion more flexible requirements. Because OTA's study left many questions unanswered, DOT issued, in October 1993, an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to obtain views on the Department's discretion under the statute and technical, cost and service data critical to the development of a full range of OTRB regulatory options. The Department also held a public workshop, attended by bus industry and disability groups, to discuss OTRB accessibility options. The gaps in the OTA study, and the Department's consequent need to begin the regulatory process with an ANPRM, have put the Department behind the timetable established in the ADA, which called for a final rule to be issued within one year of the OTA report (i.e., May 1994). The next step in the process is for the Department to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Alternatives: The Department analyzed comments to the docket in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking and held a workshop involving representatives of interested parties to obtain views on the Department's discretion under the statute for achieving accessibility in OTRB device and technical, costs, and service data. As a result of these activities, several options have been suggested for achieving accessible OTRB service. Option I assumes lift equipage of 100 percent of OTRB's. Option II assumes an accessible OTRB system based primarily on station-based lifts plus ramps and a boarding chair on 100 percent of OTRBs vs. one based on Scalamobiles (a powered stair climber device) on 100 percent of OTRBs. Option III assumes 25 percent lift-equipped OTRBs and 75 percent Scalamobiles. All options assume a 10-year implementation period. Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Cost information is very sparse and our estimates are still in flux. Presently, the anticipated annual cost of option I would be $67-$78 million. The high and low cost range reflects differences in lift types, other OTRB and terminal access features, personnel training and forgone revenue from seat and/or package loss. The anticipated annual cost of option II would be $16-$19 million. The high and low costs reflect differences between an accessible OTRB system based primarily on station-based lifts plus ramps and boarding chairs on 100 percent of OTRBs vs. one based on Scalamobiles on 100 percent of OTRBs. Option III annual costs would be estimated at $40-$45 million based on 25 percent lift-equipped OTRBs and 75 percent of the fleet with Scalamobiles. Option I would permit persons with disabilities to schedule trips at the last minute and they could remain in their mobility devices while traveling. They would not have to transfer to a vehicle seat. This is the option that would be favored by the disability community, but is the most costly option to the OTRB industry. The high cost of complying with this option could drive some companies out of business. Under option II, OTRB operators would not be required to purchase buses equipped with vehicle-based lifts or securement locations. They would be required to ensure, within a given period of time, that individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair users, could use all services the operator provides. Wheelchair users would transfer to a vehicle seat, rather than riding in their own mobility aids. Under option III, OTRB operators, within a given period of time, would have to obtain a certain percentage of lift-equipped buses as part of their mix of services to passengers with disabilities. This approach combines the flexibility of option II with a requirement for a modest level of fleet accessibility, which would enable passengers to ride in their own wheelchairs but would require advance notice to schedule trips. This responds partially to concerns of disability community comments on the Department's ANPRM. Bus industry commenters expressed at least qualified support for this approach. Risks: Because of the economic weakness of the intercity bus industry, the Department is concerned that any one of the options for bringing about accessible OTRB service could potentially bring about a reduction in intercity bus service for all users. This could have a significant negative impact on current intercity bus users, most of whom have low incomes and may not have ready access to other means of affordable transportation. Timetable: _______________________________________________________________________ Action DFR Cite _______________________________________________________________________ ANPRM 58 FR 52735 10/12/93 ANPRM Comment Period End 11/26/93 NPRM 10/00/94 Small Entities Affected: Undetermined Government Levels Affected: Undetermined Analysis: Regulatory Evaluation Additional Information: Telephone number for TDD is (202) 755-7687. Agency Contact: Robert C. Ashby Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary 400 Seventh Street SW. Washington, DC 20590 202 366-9306 RIN: 2105-AC00 _______________________________________________________________________ DOT--OST ___________________________________________________________ FINAL RULE STAGE ___________________________________________________________ 118. +NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF HANDICAP IN FEDERALLY ASSISTED PROGRAMS AND IN AIR TRAVEL (AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT) Legal Authority: 29 USC 794 CFR Citation: 49 CFR 27; 14 CFR 382 Legal Deadline: None Abstract: This action would amend portions of the rule implementing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 concerning federally assisted airport facilities to comport with 14 CFR 382, implementing the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. The proposed rule would also apply the section 504 rule to air carriers receiving Federal financial assistance under the essential air service program. In addition, this action would amend 14 CFR 382 to implement the Air Carrier Access Act with respect to lifts for small commuter aircraft and airport facility accessibility. This rulemaking is considered significant because of substantial public interest. Statement of Need:
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