Senior and Disability Action v. San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

Scroll to case documents Date Filed: 04/05/2017 Date Settled: 04/18/2024 Status:

In April 2017, DRA and Legal Aid at Work filed a lawsuit against San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), alleging that it discriminates against people with mobility disabilities and effectively excludes them from the regional mass transit system.

For people with disabilities, problems that may be familiar annoyances to other riders can create absolute barriers to access. Problems cited in the lawsuit include elevators that are broken, out of service, or so soiled they are unusable, as well as non-functioning escalators and fare gates.

In April 2024, a federal judge approved a class settlement that provides significant changes that will improve BART’s accessibility for riders with mobility disabilities. The settlement resolves claims that BART has systemically failed to ensure full and equal access to its stations and services, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and California law. Read the Settlement Agreement.

Under the settlement agreement, among other things, BART will:

  • Implement a strategic maintenance plan to renovate the 87 station elevators, make prompt repairs of out of service station elevators and escalators, and implement preventative maintenance plans to provide continuous, uninterrupted service.
  • A timely response to elevator and station cleanliness.
  • Communication of elevator and escalator outages.
  • An emergency preparedness plan including a protocol for passengers separated from their mobility devices during an emergency.
  • Training of BART personnel.
  • A complaint procedure to report on accessibility issues.

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of plaintiffs Senior and Disability Action, the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco, and Ian Smith and Pi Ra, two people with disabilities.

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