37.139 Plan contents.

Each plan shall contain the following information:

  1. Name and address; and
  2. Contact person for the plan, with telephone number and facsimile telephone number (FAX), if applicable.
(b) A description of the fixed route system as of January 26, 2021 (or subsequent year for annual updates), including -
  1. A description of the service area, route structure, days and hours of service, fare structure, and population served. This includes maps and tables, if appropriate;
  2. The total number of vehicles (bus, van, or rail) operated in fixed route service (including contracted service), and percentage of accessible vehicles and percentage of routes accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including persons who use wheelchairs.
  3. Any other information about the fixed route service that is relevant to establishing the basis for comparability of fixed route and paratransit service.
(c) A description of existing paratransit services, including:
  1. An inventory of service provided by the public entity submitting the plan;
  2. An inventory of service provided by other agencies or organizations, which may in whole or in part be used to meet the requirement for complementary paratransit service; and
  3. A description of the available paratransit services in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section as they relate to the service criteria described in 37.131 of this part of service area, response time, fares, restrictions on trip purpose, hours and days of service, and capacity constraints; and to the requirements of ADA paratransit eligibility.
(d) A description of the plan to provide comparable paratransit, including:
  1. An estimate of demand for comparable paratransit service by ADA eligible individuals and a brief description of the demand estimation methodology used;
  2. An analysis of differences between the paratransit service currently provided and what is required under this part by the entity(ies) submitting the plan and other entities, as described in paragraph (c) of this section;
  3. A brief description of planned modifications to existing paratransit and fixed route service and the new paratransit service planned to comply with the ADA paratransit service criteria;
  4. A description of the planned comparable paratransit service as it relates to each of the service criteria described in 37.131 of this part - service area, absence of restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose, response time, fares, hours and days of service, and lack of capacity constraints.  If the paratransit plan is to be phased in, this paragraph shall be coordinated with the information being provided in paragraphs (d)(5) and (d)(6) of this paragraph.
  5. A timetable for implementing comparable paratransit service, with a specific date indicating when the planned service will be completely operational.  In no case may full implementation be completed later than January 26, 1997.  The plan shall include milestones for implementing phases of the plan, with progress that can be objectively measured yearly.
  6. A budget for comparable paratransit service, including capital and operating expenditures over five years.
(e) A description of the process used to certify individuals with disabilities as ADA paratransit eligible.  At a minimum, this must include -
  1. A description of the application and certification process, including -
  2. (i) The availability of information about the process and application materials in accessible formats;
    (ii) The process for determining eligibility according to the provisions of 37.123 - 37.125 of this part and notifying individuals of the determination made;
    (iii) The entity's system and timetable for processing applications and allowing presumptive eligibility; and
    (iv) The documentation given to eligible individuals..
  3. A description of the administrative appeals process for individuals denied eligibility.
  4. A policy for visitors, consistent with 37.127 of this part.
(f) Description of the public participation process including -
  1. Notice given of opportunity for public comment, the date(s) of completed public hearing(s), availability of the plan in accessible formats, outreach efforts, and consultation with persons with disabilities.
  2. A summary of significant issues raised during the public comment period, along with a a response to significant comments and discussion of how the issues were resolved.
(g) Efforts to coordinate service with other entities subject to the complementary paratransit requirements of this part which have overlapping or contiguous service areas or jurisdictions.

(h) The following endorsements or certifications:
  1. A resolution adopted by the board of the entity authorizing the plan, as submitted.  If more than one entity is submitting the plan there must be an authorizing resolution from each board.  If the entity does not function with a board, a statement shall be submitted by the entity's chief executive;
  2. In urbanized areas, certification by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that it has reviewed the plan and that the plan is in conformance with the transportation plan developed under the Urban Mass Transportation/Federal Highway Administration joint planning regulation (49 CFR part 613 and 23 CFR part 450).  In a service area which is covered by more than one MPO, each applicable MPO shall certify conformity of the entity's plan.  The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to non-UMTA recipients;
  3. A certification that the survey of existing paratransit service was conducted as required in 37.137(a) of this part;
  4. To the extent service provided by other entities is included in the entity's plan for comparable paratransit service, the entity must certify that:
(i) ADA paratransit eligible individuals have access to the service;
(ii) The service is provided in the manner represented; and
(iii) Efforts will be made to coordinate the provision of paratransit service by other providers.
(i) A request for a waiver based on undue financial burden, if applicable.  The waiver request should include information sufficient for UMTA to consider the factors in 37.155 of this part.  If a request for an undue financial burden waiver is made, the plan must include a description of additional paratransit services that would be provided to achieve full compliance with the requirement for comparable paratransit in the event the waiver is not granted, and the timetable for the implementation of these additional services.

(j) Annual plan updates
  1. If the paratransit service is being phased in over more than one year, the entity must demonstrate that the milestones identified in the current paratransit plans have been achieved.  If the milestones have not been achieved, the plan must explain any slippage and what actions are being taken to compensate for the slippage.
  2. The annual plan must describe specifically the means used to comply with the public participation requirements, as described in 37.137 of this Part.
This section contains substantive categories of information to be contained in the paratransit plan: information on current and changing fixed route service; inventory of existing paratransit service; discussion of the discrepancies between existing paratransit and what is required under this regulation; a discussion of the public participation requirements and how they have been met; the plan for paratransit service; the budget for paratransit services; efforts to coordinate with other transportation providers; a description of the process in place or to be used to register ADA paratransit eligible individuals; a description of the documentation provided to each individual verifying eligibility; and a request for a waiver based on undue  
financial burden, if applicable.  The final rule contains a reorganized and slightly expanded section on plan contents, reflecting requests to be more explicit, rather than less explicit.

The list of required elements is the same for all entities required to submit paratransit plans.  There is no document length requirement, however.  Each entity (or group plan) is unique and we expect the plans to reflect this.  While we would like the plan elements presented in the order listed in this section, the contents most likely will vary greatly, depending on the size, geographic area, budget, complexity of issues, etc. of the particular submitting agency. This section and §37.139 provide for a maximum phase-in period of five years, with an assumed one-year phase-in for all paratransit programs.  (The required budget has been changed to five years as well.) The Department has established a maximum five-year phase-in in the belief that not all systems will require that long, but that some, particularly those who had chosen to meet compliance with section 504 requirements with accessible fixed route service, may indeed need five years.

We are confident that, through the public participation process, entities can develop a realistic plan for full compliance with the ADA.  To help ensure this, the paratransit plan contents section now requires that any plan which projects full compliance after January 26, 2021 must include milestones which can be measured and which result in steady progress toward full compliance.  For example, it is possible that the first part of year one is used to ensure comprehensive registration of all eligible persons with disabilities, training of transit provider staffs and the development and dissemination of information to users and potential users in accessible formats and some modest increase in paratransit service is provided.  A plan would not be permitted to indicate that no activity was possible in the first year, but proportionately more progress could be planned for later years than for the first year.  Implementation must begin in January 1992.

Each plan, including its proposed phase-in period, will be the subject of examination by UMTA.  Not all providers who request a five year phase-in will receive approval for a five-year phase-in.  The plan must be careful, therefore, to explain what current services are, what the projections are, and what methods are in place to determine and provide accountability for progress toward full compliance.

We have been asked for assistance in assessing what the demand for paratransit service will be.  UMTA's ADA Paratransit Manual provides detailed assistance in this and many other areas of the plan development process.

The ADA itself contained a figure of 43 million persons with disabilities.  It should be pointed out that many of these may not necessarily be eligible for ADA paratransit service.  The Department's regulatory impact analysis discussing the probable costs involved in implementing this rule place the possible percentage of population who would be eligible for paratransit service at between 1.4 and 1.9 percent.  This figure can vary depending on the type and variety of services you have available, or on such things as climate, proximity to medical care, family, etc. that a person with a disability may need.  Clearly estimating demand is one of the most critical elements in the plan, since it will be used to make decisions about all of the various service criteria.

Section 37.139 contains a new paragraph (j), spelling out in more detail requirements related to the annual submission of plans.  Since there is now the possibility for five-year phase-ins, the annual plan demonstrates the progress made to date, and explains any delays.