Greyhound Lines will pay $375,000 in compensation and civil penalty fines to settle claims that the bus company consistently violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Justice Department announced in a statement Monday.
Specifically, the Justice Department said Greyhound violated the ADA by failing to provide full and equitable transportation services to passengers with disabilities through failing to upkeep its accessible bus attachments, such as lifts and securement devices. The DOJ added that Greyhound also failed to help passengers with disabilities board and exit buses during rest and terminal stops, and it did not allow people using wheelchairs to fill out online reservations.
But the bus company, providing more than 18 million passengers services in North America every year, denies that it violated the ADA, according to the consent decree between the DOJ and Greyhound.
"Greyhound denies these allegations and asserts that it is and has been committed to complying with the ADA and to accommodating persons with disabilities, but it enters into this decree [sic] voluntarily in order to devote its resources to continuing to improve transportation services to passengers with disabilities," the decree stated.
Out of the total $375,000 settlement, Greyhound will provide $300,000 in compensation to individuals with disabilities who the department finds were discriminated against by the bus company. The DOJ also said that an uncapped number of people with disabilities who were discriminated against by Greyhound in the past three years are eligible to apply for compensation as well. People who would like to apply must reach out to the designated DOJ claims administrator, the department added.
The remaining $75,000 of the settlement will go toward civil penalty fines to the United States.
On top of Greyhound's monetary arrangement, the company also promises to revamp its policies and procedures on providing accessible services. The DOJ said Greyhound will hire an ADA compliance manager and require all of its employees that interact with the public to attend annual in-person training on the ADA. Greyhound will also ensure that people with disabilities can request travel and lodge disability-related requests online. Greyhound will also be expected to update the department every three months on its ADA compliance efforts.
“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to transportation services so that they can travel freely and enjoy autonomy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement. “Today’s agreement marks a major step toward fulfilling the promise of the ADA, and we applaud Greyhound for entering the consent decree.”