Legal Action Alleges Failure to Make Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Riders
The New York City subway system has been named as a defendant in two separate lawsuits, both contending that the massive public transportation system, one of the largest in the world, is violating federal law by failing to make concessions for disabled patrons. The lawsuits were apparently filed by Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit legal center that is committed to promoting equal rights and opportunity for individuals with any type of disability.
The lawsuits, both class actions, allege that more than 350 of the 472 underground and elevated subway stations in New York City are inaccessible to anyone who cannot use stairs, as they have no ramps of elevators. Plaintiffs say this makes the New York subway system, one of the world’s most famous, also one of the least accessible. Advocates say that the absence of elevators in subway stations affects anyone with a wheelchair, walker or cane, as well as individuals with arthritis or heart/lung conditions.
The plaintiffs also allege that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the agency that operates the subway system, has continually failed to maintain the small number of elevators that are in place. According to one lawsuit, filed in federal court, approximately 25 of the existing elevators are out of order on any given day. The plaintiffs say that elevators can be closed for days at a time, and that the MTA offers no alternatives to travelers who need to use the elevators.
One of the class actions was filed in New York state court, alleging violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. The other lawsuit was filed under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.
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