Q: If a transit station has an elevator that breaks down, do the ADA regulations address what should be done to accommodate riders with disabilities?
A: Yes. The ADA regulations require that the transit agency “take reasonable steps to accommodate individuals with disabilities who would otherwise use the (accessibility) feature.” The regulations do not state exactly how the transit agency must provide accommodations, but whatever action is taken to address the needs of riders with disabilities must be effective for them. For example, the transit agency could notify users of the station by announcing that the elevator is out of service at other stations to alert passengers. Additionally, alternative means of accessible transportation should be offered—which may involve the use of accessible shuttle bus service around the station without elevator accessibility. It is important to remember that while temporary outages are not a violation of the ADA, the expectation is that accessibility features are inspected frequently to make sure that they are operational and if they are not, repairs must be implemented promptly.