This section contains amendments from May 21, 1996.

37.135 Submission of paratransit plan.

(a) General.  Each public entity operating fixed route transportation service, which is required by 37.121 to provide complementary paratransit service, shall develop a paratransit plan.

(b) Initial Submission.  Except as provided in 37.141 of this part, each entity shall submit its initial plan for compliance with the complementary paratransit service provision by January 26, 1992, to the appropriate location identified in paragraph (f) of this section.

(c) Annual Updates. Except as provided in this paragraph, each entity shall submit an annual update to its plan on January 26 of each succeeding year.

  1. If an entity has met and is continuing to meet all requirements for complementary paratransit in Secs. 37.121-37.133 of this part, the entity may submit to FTA an annual certification of continued compliance in lieu of a plan update. Entities that have submitted a joint plan under Sec. 37.141 may submit a joint certification under this paragraph. The requirements of Secs. 37.137-37.139 do not apply when a certification is submitted under this paragraph.
  2. In the event of any change in circumstances that results in an entity which has submitted a certification of continued compliance falling short of compliance with Secs. 37.121-37.133, the entity shall immediately notify FTA in writing of the problem. In this case, the entity shall also file a plan update meeting the requirements of Secs. 37.137-37.139 of this part on the next following January 26 and in each succeeding year until the entity returns to full compliance.
  3. An entity that has demonstrated undue financial burden to the FTA shall file a plan update meeting the requirements of Secs. 37.137- 37.139 of this part on each January 26 until full compliance with Secs. 37.121-37.133 is attained.
  4. If FTA reasonably believes that an entity may not be fully complying with all service criteria, FTA may require the entity to provide an annual update to its plan.
This section section also specifies annual progress reports concerning the meeting of previously approved milestones, any slippage (with the reasons for it and plans to catch up), and any significant changes in the operator's environment, such as the withdrawal from the marketplace of a private paratransit provider or whose service the entity has relied upon to provide part of its paratransit service.
(d) Phase-in of Implementation.  Each plan shall provide for full compliance by no later than January 26, 1997, unless the entity has received a waiver based on undue financial burden.  If the date for full compliance specified in the plan is after January 26, 1993, the plan shall include milestones, providing for measured, proportional progress toward full compliance.
Paragraph (d) of this section specifies a maximum time period for the phase-in of the implementation of paratransit plans.  The Department recognizes that it is not reasonable to expect paratransit systems to spring into existence fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.  Under this paragraph, all entities must be in full compliance with all paratransit provisions by January 26, 1997, unless the entity has received a waiver from UMTA based on undue financial burden (which applies only to the service criteria of §37.131, not to eligibility requirements or other paratransit provisions).

While the rule assumes that most entities will take a year to fully implement these provisions, longer than a year requires the paratransit plans to submit milestones that are susceptible to objective verification.  Not all plans will be approved with a five year lead-in period.  Consistent with the proposed rule, the Department intends to look at each plan individually to see what is required for implementation in each case.  DOT may approve only a shorter phase-in period in a given case.
(e) Plan Implementation.  Each entity shall begin implementation of its plan on January 26, 1992.

(f) Submission Locations.  An entity shall submit its plan to one of the following offices, as appropriate:
  1. The individual state administering agency, if it is --
  2. (i) A section 18 recipient;
    (ii) A small urbanized area recipient of section 9 funds administered by the State.
    (iii) A participant in a coordinated plan, in which all of the participating entities are eligible to submit their plans to the State; or
  3. The UMTA Regional Office (as listed in Appendix B to this part) for all other entities required to submit a paratransit plan.  This includes an UMTA recipient under section 9 of the UMT Act; entities submitting a joint plan (unless they meet the requirements of paragraph (f)(1)(iii) of this section), and a public entity not an UMT Act recipient.  
This section contains the general requirements concerning the submission of paratransit plans.  Each public entity operating fixed route service is required to develop and submit a plan for paratransit service.  Where you send your plans depends on the type of entity you are.  There are two categories of entities which should submit their plans to states -- (1) UMTA recipients and (2) entities who are administered by the state on behalf of UMTA.
These UMTA grantees submit their plans to the states because the agency would like the benefit of the states' expertise before final review.  The states' role is as a commenter, not as a reviewer.