Almost all bus stops in New Orleans impose accessibility barriers to people with mobility disabilities, a new class-action lawsuit asserts, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 28.
“We think it’s very important for the public safety of disabled folks,” Andrew Bizer, an attorney with the Bizer Law Firm, whom is representing the plaintiffs, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.”It’s difficult enough when you’re disabled trying to go down sidewalks in New Orleans, it’s another thing to try to use public transportation and have such problems.”
The complaint asserts a range of Americans with Disabilities Act violations, ranging from a lack of accessible routes to certain stops, dangerously inadequate launching pads for wheelchairs to land on when leaving buses, and the placement of bench waiting areas, covered bench pavilions and trash cans in inaccessible locations, the New Orleans Advocate reported.
The lawsuit contends that most of these problems have already been identified by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Specifically, they point to a 2014 RTA internal survey, which found that just 126 of the 2,128, or 5.7 percent, of the city’s bus stops are fully ADA compliant.
The report also estimated it would cost the city about $10.7 to $12.6 million to make the needed fixes.
The city of New Orleans, the RTA and Transdev Services, Inc., RTA’s private manager, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.