SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

SUPERSHUTTLE INTERNATIONAL, INC
.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NUMBERS
202-8-40, 73-70, 73-56




Settlement Agreement | Department of Justice Press Releases

 

BACKGROUND

1. This Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) is made and entered into between the United States of America (“United States”) and SuperShuttle International, Inc. (“SuperShuttle”) located in Phoenix, Arizona, and SuperShuttle’s current wholly-owned subsidiaries as well as those it may acquire during the life of this Agreement. The Agreement resolves investigations of SuperShuttle conducted by the United States Department of Justice (“Department”) under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). The Department initiated a nation-wide compliance review on March 19, 1999 of SuperShuttle’s system after receiving complaints against two SuperShuttle locations alleging violations of title III of the ADA, and opening a compliance review of a third location. The compliance reviews and investigations of the complaints were conducted under the authority granted by 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i); 28 C.F.R. § 36.502(c); 49 C.F.R.§ 37.11(c).

In order to avoid further investigation or litigation of the issues discussed herein, and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained in this Agreement, the Department and SuperShuttle have entered into this Settlement Agreement and hereby agree to the following:

2. The Parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and SuperShuttle International, Inc. and SuperShuttle’s current wholly-owned subsidiaries as well as those it may acquire during the life of this Agreement. Current subsidiaries include its facilities in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Orange County, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Dallas/Ft.Worth, and Tampa Bay.

3. SuperShuttle is a shared-ride transportation company that operates at 11 facilities in seven states and the District of Columbia to provide transportation to and from airports. It is a private entity that provides specified, or designated public transportation through a demand responsive system, as defined in sections 301(3), (10) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12181(3),(10), and the implementing regulation of the Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. § 37.3.

4. SuperShuttle is subject to the requirements of § 304 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12184, and the Department of Transportation regulations at 49 C.F.R. §§ 37.1, 37.3, 37.5, 37.7, 37.13, 37.23(d), 37.33(c), 37.103, 37.105, 37.161, 37.165, 37.167, 37.173, 38.1- 4, 38.21-31.

5. The ADA requires new vans with a seating capacity of eight or more persons (including the driver) that are solicited for acquisition for use solely in a demand responsive system after August 25, 1990 to be readily accessible to persons with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that its system, when viewed in its entirety, provides a level of service to such individuals equivalent to the level of service provided to the general public. 42 U.S.C. § 12184(b)(3); 49 C.F.R. § 37.103(a),(c). The same is true of new vans with a seating capacity of fewer than 8 persons (including the driver) that are solicited for acquisition after February 25, 1992, whether or not they are used in a demand responsive system. 42 U.S.C. § 12184(b)(5); 49 C.F.R. § 37.103(d).

6. As the term applies to the facts of this matter, an “equivalent level of service” is service available to individuals with disabilities, including individuals in wheelchairs, that is provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual and is equivalent to the service provided others with respect to response time, fares, geographic area of service, hours and days of service, reservations capability, and any constraints on capacity or service availability. 49 C.F.R. § 37.105.

7. The Department is authorized to investigate and undertake enforcement actions in this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b); 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.502-36.503; 49 C.F.R.
§ 37.11(c).

8. The Department conducted investigations of these matters and this Agreement, and all provisions of it, are based on the findings of those investigations.

FACTUAL HISTORY

9. Among the specific complaints the Department received are:

a. DJ 202-73-70 involved an allegation filed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
that SuperShuttle denied reservations for accessible transportation to staff members attending a conference in Dallas, Texas in 1997. Due to this denial of accessible transportation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society had to charter a private bus service at an extra cost of $4,612.00.

b. DJ 202-73-56 involved a complaint by Anthony Young in 1996 that he waited approximately 6 hours for an accessible van to transport him and his personal assistant from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport to the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Dallas, Texas. While Mr. Young waited, non-accessible vans arrived at the airport terminal and picked up passengers every 15 minutes to transport them to local hotels.

10. Since August 25, 1990, SuperShuttle has purchased approximately 880 new non-accessible vans.

11. Since August 25, 1990, SuperShuttle has purchased approximately17 new accessible vans.

12. As of October 12, 2001, 3 of 11 SuperShuttle locations have no accessible vehicles (New York, Denver, and Tampa Bay). As of October 12, 2001, four locations have fewer accessible vehicles than they had in 1999 (San Francisco, Sacramento, New York, and Denver).

REMEDIAL ACTIONS

Non-Discrimination Policies and Employee Training

13. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will post on its Internet website and in a prominent location in its public areas the written policy attached as Appendix A. Physical copies will be refreshed, as needed, for the life of the Agreement.

14. Within 45 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will distribute the new policy to all personnel responsible for dispatching vans and to employees who have contact with the public, including reservation agents and drivers. SuperShuttle will also distribute the policy to newly hired personnel in these job categories during its regular orientation of incoming employees and re-distribute the policy to all appropriate personnel on an annual basis for the life of the Agreement.

15. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will train all of its dispatchers, reservation agents, and drivers on the non-discrimination and equivalent level of service requirements of the ADA. SuperShuttle will incorporate this training into its regular training programs and repeat it for future employees hired into these job categories for the life of this Agreement.

16. Within 180 days of the date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will train all drivers on the procedures involved in the proper operation of accessible vehicles, including securement systems, ramps and lifts. SuperShuttle will incorporate this training into its regular training programs and repeat it for future employees hired as drivers for the life of this Agreement.

17. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will train drivers on the procedures involved in notifying dispatch of a mechanical breakdown of accessible equipment while en route. Further, SuperShuttle will train drivers in the use of mobility devices likely to be used by passengers with disabilities so that they can assist passengers with mobility impairments. Where necessary or upon request, drivers will assist individuals with disabilities with the use of securement systems, ramps and lifts. SuperShuttle will incorporate this specialized training into its regular training program for newly hired drivers and will provide refresher training to all drivers at least once a year for the life of this Agreement.

18. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will submit a report on the actions it has taken to comply with the requirements of paragraphs 13 - 17.

Service to Customers with Disabilities

19. SuperShuttle will provide a level of service to customers with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, that is equivalent to the level of service provided to customers in general, as defined above in paragraph 6, and will otherwise comply with the requirements of the ADA and the Department of Transportation regulations. In particular, accessible and equivalent service for outbound and inbound transportation will be provided during peak travel times, holidays, and during convention activity, whether by SuperShuttle or its subcontractors.

20. SuperShuttle will maintain to the best of its ability all of its accessible vans in good working order. SuperShuttle will maintain records of all dates that each accessible van or any of its accessible features is out of service. SuperShuttle will provide these records to the Department every six months for the duration of this Agreement beginning six months from the effective date of this Agreement, and at any time upon request.

21. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will purchase at least one accessible vehicle for each location where there is currently no accessible vehicle (New York, Denver, and Tampa Bay). Within one year from the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will purchase at least one additional accessible van for each location that then has one (New York, Denver, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Sacramento, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.) , so that all 11 SuperShuttle locations have a minimum of two accessible vehicles.

22. All SuperShuttle facilities will have standing subcontracts with providers of accessible transportation, if available in the facility’s geographic area. SuperShuttle will utilize the services of the subcontractor whenever a customer’s reservation for an accessible vehicle cannot be serviced at a level equivalent to service provided to the general public.

Evaluation of Equivalent Level of Service

23. SuperShuttle will survey customers, including customers it refers to subcontractors, for the life of this Agreement.

a. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will submit a customer survey form to the Department for its review. The form will include questions concerning SuperShuttle’s response time as well as questions specific to the needs of individuals who use accessible transportation.

b. Within 120 days of the Department’s approval or revision of the form, SuperShuttle will begin a series of mailings in each city served by a wholly-owned subsidiary. Survey forms will be mailed each calendar quarter to all customers who used accessible transportation and to a sample of customers who used non-accessible transportation within a 30-day time period. The form will be accompanied by a prepaid reply envelope. The survey will be conducted in each city once per calendar quarter for the life of this Agreement.

c. SuperShuttle will submit to the Department copies of all completed survey forms that it receives, by the end of the quarter following the quarter in which they were mailed.

24. Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will maintain on its DDS and SDS Rides computer systems records of all reservations for accessible and for non-accessible vehicles. Such records will include the name, address, and phone number of the customer, the date the reservation was made, whether an accessible van was requested, the reserved time, and the actual onsite time. SuperShuttle will maintain these records for the life of this Agreement for the Department’s inspection, upon request. SuperShuttle will submit copies of the accessible transportation records to the Department monthly, beginning 120 days after the effective date of this Agreement and until it expires.


25. Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will program a monthly reservations report on its DDS and SDS Rides computer systems that shows, by facility: a) the number of inbound accessible rides and the number of inbound rides using non-accessible vehicles; and b) the average difference in minutes between reserved pick-up times and onsite times for inbound travel using accessible vehicles and, in comparison, for inbound travel using non-accessible vehicles.

Similarly, SuperShuttle will program a monthly reservations report on its DDS and SDS Rides computer systems that shows, by facility: a) the number of outbound accessible rides and the number of outbound rides using non-accessible vehicles; and b) the average difference in minutes between reserved pick-up times and onsite times for outbound travel using accessible vehicles and, in comparison, for outbound travel using non-accessible vehicles.

SuperShuttle will submit these reports to the Department each month for the life of the Agreement, beginning 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement.

26. SuperShuttle will monitor the services provided by subcontractors to ensure that they are providing accessible equivalent transportation services to people with disabilities as outlined in this Agreement.

27. SuperShuttle will maintain computerized records of customers referred to subcontractors for accessible transportation. Such records will include the name, address, and phone number of the customer, and the reserved time. The Parties recognize that the the DDS and SDS Rides computer systems cannot capture the onsite times for rides that are subcontracted, because of a lack of system peripherals in subcontractor vehicles. SuperShuttle will capture the onsite times through phone calls to the customers, communication between its dispatchers and the subcontractor’s drivers, or other means designed to elicit the most accurate information. The onsite time will be added to each customer’s computer record. SuperShuttle will provide these records to the Department every six months for the duration of this Agreement beginning 180 days from the effective date of this Agreement, and at any other time upon request.

28. Within 180 days of this Agreement, and thereafter at six month intervals for the life of the Agreement, SuperShuttle will submit to the Department a list of its current subcontractors, including name, address, and telephone number, and a brief description of the actions it has taken to comply with paragraphs 26 and 27.


29. Within 18 months of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle and the Department will analyze the computer reports and completed survey forms referenced above to determine whether additional action is necessary to assure that SuperShuttle’s level of service to people with disabilities is equivalent to that provided to the general public at each of its facilities. SuperShuttle will take such action, including but not limited to the acquisition of additional accessible vans and/or subcontracts, and re-training of personnel, as the Parties agree is necessary. In the event of non-agreement, either Party may terminate this Agreement.

Complaint Procedure

30. SuperShuttle will designate an employee at the corporate level who will be responsible for the company’s ADA compliance, including monitoring complaints from disabled customers, for the life of this Agreement. Within ten business days after the complaint is received, the designated employee will investigate the complaint with the appropriate SuperShuttle staff where the complaint originated to ensure compliance with this Agreement and the ADA. The designated employee will contact the customer within 20 business days after receipt of the complaint to discuss the complaint and possible resolutions. Within 20 business days of completing the investigation, the designated employee will respond in writing to the complainant.

SuperShuttle will maintain written records of complaints from customers with disabilities and SuperShuttle’s response. Such records will be provided to the Department every six months for the duration of this Agreement beginning six months from the effective date of this Agreement, and at any other time upon request.

31. SuperShuttle agrees to administer appropriate discipline to any employee who engages in conduct that denies disabled customers their rights under the ADA.

Damages

32. Within 10 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SuperShuttle will mail to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, by overnight express to the address provided by the Department, a certified check in the amount of $4, 612.00 . SuperShuttle will send the undersigned for the Department a copy of the check and transmittal letter sent to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society within 10 days of sending the check to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

33. By signing this Agreement, SuperShuttle does not admit that it is in violation of any of the provisions of the ADA with respect to the operation of its shuttle services.

34. The Attorney General is authorized, pursuant to section 308(b)(1)(B) of the ADA, to bring a civil action to enforce title III of the ADA in any situation where the Attorney General believes a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or a matter of general public importance is raised. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit under title III with respect to the specific matters agreed to herein, except as provided in paragraph 36.

35. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of its right to do so with regard to other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.

36. If the Department believes that SuperShuttle has violated the terms of this Agreement, the Department will notify SuperShuttle of this determination in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues. SuperShuttle will have 20 days to respond to any such allegation made by the Department. In each instance where, after reviewing SuperShuttle’s response, the Department believes that a violation of the Agreement has taken place, or in any instance where SuperShuttle fails to respond to the Department’s notice indicating that it believes a violation has taken place, the Department may institute a civil action in the federal district court of Arizona, or any other appropriate federal district court. For any alleged violations of this Agreement for which the Department institutes a civil action, the Department may seek civil penalties for each alleged violation of this Agreement.

37. This Agreement and the information contained in it, is public. A copy of this document will be made available to any person upon request by both SuperShuttle and the United States. The Department will post the Agreement on its ADA Home Page and will distribute copies to disability groups, particularly those who represent or are largely composed of persons who use wheelchairs.

38. This Agreement will be binding on SuperShuttle, its partners and associates, if any, and their successors in interest. Each has a duty to notify all such successors in interest of this Agreement and the duties and responsibilities it imposes on them. This Agreement will terminate two years from its effective date.

39. This Agreement, including the exhibits attached hereto, constitutes the entire Agreement among the Parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or the agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable. In the event a court of competent jurisdiction concludes that any part of this Agreement is unenforceable, such portion will be severed from this Agreement and all other portions of the Agreement will remain enforceable.

40. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth in it. The Agreement does not purport to remedy any potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law, nor is it intended to certify that no other such violations exist. This Agreement is not a Department finding of compliance with the ADA, and it cannot be used in any proceeding to signify such.

41. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of SuperShuttle to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

42. This Agreement is a compromise of claims, and it is not intended to reflect any legal interpretations of any provisions of the ADA by the Department, and it cannot be used in any proceeding to demonstrate such legal interpretations. Further, this Agreement shall not be deemed or construed as evidence of prior violation of the ADA, nor shall it be admitted in evidence in any proceeding as establishing liability or wrongdoing on the part of SuperShuttle, except as may be necessary under the procedures set forth in paragraph 36 above.

43. The Parties hereby represent and acknowledge that this Agreement is given and executed voluntarily and is not based upon any representation by any of the Parties to another Party as to the merits, legal liability, or value of any claims of the Parties or any matters related thereto.

44. The signatory to this Agreement in a representative capacity for a partnership, corporation, or other such entity represents that he or she is authorized to bind such partnership, corporation, or other entity to this Agreement.

45. In any instance where notice is required to be given to any or all of the parties to this Agreement, such notice will be provided in writing, sent via certified or registered U.S. Mail, return receipt requested, to the following individuals in their capacity as representatives of the Parties:

SuperShuttle:

R. Brian Wier
President, CEO
SuperShuttle International, Inc.
4636 South 35th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85040

The United States:

John L. Wodatch, Chief
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Washington, DC 20530

46. This Agreement may be executed in several counterparts, each of which will be an original and will constitute one and the same instrument. All exhibits hereto are hereby incorporated by specific reference into this Agreement, and their terms are made a part of this Agreement as though fully recited herein.

47. The date this Agreement becomes effective is the date of the last signature below.


FOR THE RESPONDENT: FOR THE UNITED STATES:



________________________
R. Brian Wier President, CEO
SuperShutttle International, Inc.





















_____4/26/02_________________
Date



RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division




By: ____________________________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY, Deputy Chief
JOSH MENDELSOHN, Supervisory Attorney
PHYLLIS COHEN, Supervisory Attorney
ZULMA SOTO, Investigator



U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Washington, DC 20530



_____4/26/02_____________
Date


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ATTACHMENT A




POLICY ON PROVIDING ACCESSIBLE SERVICE

SuperShuttle is committed to providing exceptional guest service for our customers with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. We are therefore committed to the following principles. If you believe we have failed to honor them, contact ________________ at ___________________.

1. Customers with disabilities are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the transportation services provided by SuperShuttle,

2. Customers with disabilities will be provided service in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual and that is equivalent to the service provided to customers without disabilities particularly with respect to response time and reliability.

3. SuperShuttle does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in its reservations policy.

  • All customers are required to make reservations for transportation into airports. For transportation out from airports, reservations may be made but are not required. As to in-bound reservations made at least 24 hours in advance for a specific pick-up time, SuperShuttle will make its best efforts to fulfill such reservations within 15 minutes of the requested pick-up time.

  • Customers requiring the use of accessible transportation are also encouraged, but not required, to make reservations for outbound trips at least 24 hours in advance and to specify the need for accessible transportation. As to such reservations and except for certain outlying areas, SuperShuttle will use its best efforts to fulfill such reservations within 30 minutes of the requested pick-up time.

4. All potential customers inquiring into transportation services with SuperShuttle, whether by telephone or through the Internet, will be informed by pre-recorded message of the existence of accessible transportation. All advertisements, including any SuperShuttle information that is or may be available through the Internet, will indicate the availability of accessible transportation.

5. All SuperShuttle drivers will be trained in the use of securement systems, ramps, and lifts and will be available to assist customers with disabilities, as requested, in entering and exiting accessible vehicles.

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March 29, 2002