37.85 Purchase or lease of new intercity and commuter rail cars.
Amtrak or a commuter authority making a solicitation after August 25, 1990,
to purchase or lease a new intercity or commuter rail car for use on the
system shall ensure that the vehicle is readily accessible to and usable
by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs.
This section incorporates the statutory requirement that new intercity and
commuter rail cars be accessible. The specific accessibility provisions
of the statute (for example, there are slightly different requirements for
intercity rail cars versus commuter rail cars) are specified in Part 38 of
this regulation. These standards are adopted from the voluntary guidelines
issues by the Access Board.
The section basically parallels the acquisition requirements
for buses and other vehicles. It should be noted that the definition
of commuter rail operator clearly allows for additional operators to qualify
as commuter, since the definition describes the functional characteristics
of an operator, as well as listing existing commuter rail operators.
We would point out that the ADA applies this requirement to all new vehicles.
This includes not only vehicles and systems that currently are being operated
in the U.S., but new, experimental, or imported vehicles and systems.
The ADA does not stand in the way of new technology, but it does require
that new technology, and the benefits it brings, be accessible to all persons,
including those with disabilities. This point applies to all vehicle
acquisition provisions of this regulation, whether for rail or non-rail,
private or public, fixed route or demand responsive vehicles and systems.