South Central Adult Services will consider every request for reasonable modification from individuals with disabilities. Language assistance for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) is available free of charge. To request a reasonable modification or language assistance contact Rod Grafing or Pat Hansen at (701) 845-4300, on our website at southcentraltransitnetwork.org, or in writing at South Central Adult Services, PO Box 298, Valley City, ND 58072.
Examples of reasonable modification:
- Snow & Ice – Except in extreme conditions that rise to the level of a direct threat to the driver or others, a passenger’s request for a paratransit driver to walk over a pathway that has not been fully cleared of snow and ice should be granted so the driver can help the passenger with a disability navigate the pathway.
- Pick Up and Drop Off Locations with Multiple Entrances – A paratransit rider’s request to be picked up at home, but not at the front door of his or her home should be granted, as long as the requested pick-up location does not pose a direct threat. Similarly, in the case of frequently visited public places with multiple entrances (e.g., shopping malls, employment centers, schools, hospitals, airports), the paratransit operator should pick up and drop off the passenger at the entrance requested by the passenger, rather than meet them in a location predetermined by the transit agency.
- Need for Return Trip Assistance – A passenger with a disability may need assistance for a return trip when he or she did not need that assistance on the initial trip. For example, a dialysis patient may have no problem waiting at the curb for a ride to go to the dialysis center, but may require assistance to the door on his or her return trip because of physical weakness or fatigue. The paratransit operator should generally provide such assistance, unless doing so would create a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time.
Reasonable modifications do have limitations and are not intended to:
- Cause a direct threat to the health and safety of others
- Create undue financial and administrative burdens
- Constitute a fundamental alteration to a service
- Not necessary to provide equal access to a service
Examples of reasonable modification requests that may be denied:
- Dedicated vehicles or special equipment in a vehicle – A passenger’s request for special equipment (e.g., installation of specific hand rails or a front seat in a vehicle for the passenger to avoid nausea or back pain) can be denied so long as the requested equipment is not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Department’s rules. Likewise, a request for a dedicated vehicle or specific type or appearance of vehicle (e.g., a sedan rather than a van) can be denied. In all of these cases, meeting the request is seen as involving a fundamental alteration of the provider’s service.
- Exposing Vehicle to Hazards – If the passenger requests that a vehicle follow a path to a pick up or drop off point that would expose the vehicle and its occupants to hazards, such as running off the road, getting stuck, striking overhead objects or reversing the vehicle down a narrow alley, the request can be denied as creating a direct threat.
- Specific Drivers – A passenger’s request for a specific driver may be denied. Having a specific driver is not necessary to afford the passenger the service provided by the transit agency.
- Request to Avoid Specific Passengers – A passenger’s request not to ride with certain passengers may be denied. Paratransit is a shared-ride service. As a result, one passenger may need to share the vehicle with people that he or she would rather not.
- Personal Care Attendant (PCA). While PCAs may travel with a passenger with a disability, transportation agencies are not required to provide a personal care attendant or personal care attendant services to meet the needs of passengers with disabilities on paratransit or fixed route trips. For example, a passenger’s request for a transportation entity’s driver to remain with the passenger who, due to his or her disability, cannot be left alone without an attendant upon reaching his or her destination may be denied. It would be a fundamental alteration of the driver’s function to provide PCA services of this kind.