Your transportation rights: The ADA provides
legal protections for people with disabilities
Public transportation is covered under Title II Part B of the ADA, and private transportation is covered under Title III of the ADA. You can find the regulations on the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration web page
The Department of Transportation provides guidance on accessing bus and rail service with a document called: Questions and Answers Concerning Wheelchairs and Bus and Rail Service.
People who can’t use mainline public transportation are entitled to comparable service via paratransit
Some people with disabilities are unable to navigate the fixed-route bus and train systems on their own. The ADA says public transit agencies must provide paratransit service to people with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed-route system.
The people who decide whether you’re eligible for paratransit focus solely on your ability to use the fixed-route service. The ADA uses three general categories to determine who is eligible for paratransit:
- The person with a disability cannot navigate the system independently
- The mainline vehicle is not accessible
- Obstacles prevent the person with the disability from reaching the bus or train, including distance, terrain, weather and safety
To learn how to advocate for your rights to paratransit (door-to-door) service, read our guide called ADA Paratransit – How to Make Your Case (Word Document).
The Air Carrier Access Act protects your right to fly
The ADA does not cover airline travel. Instead, these issues are covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), enacted in 1986. The act says U.S. and foreign air carriers may not discriminate against air travelers with disabilities. For more information, the Department of Transportation has published a manual on the Air Carrier Access Act called: What Airline Employees, Airline Contractors, and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities.
Last updated: September 10, 2021