Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Senator DIANE B. ALLEN
District 7 (Burlington)
Concerns NJ Transit's treatment of people with guide or service dogs; establishes Access Link Customer Service Group.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Transportation Committee on June 16, 2014, with amendments.
An Act concerning the New Jersey Transit Corporation and persons with guide or service dogs, establishing procedures for complaints and supplementing P.L.1979, c.150 (C.27:25-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Any person with a disability accompanied by a guide or service dog or any guide or service dog trainer accompanied by a guide or service dog, when riding on any bus, train, or other form of transportation operated by or under contract to the New Jersey Transit Corporation, may keep such dog, appropriately controlled, in the person's immediate custody. The corporation shall not deny to any person use of, or entry to, any vehicle used for public transportation services or any vehicle used for providing transportation to persons with a disability or to guide or service dog trainers because the person is accompanied by a guide or service dog, provided that the guide or service dog is appropriately controlled. As used in this section, the terms "disability," "guide dog," "guide or service dog trainer,” and "service dog" shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5).
2. a. The corporation shall designate an Access Link Customer Service Group to receive and act upon complaints from passengers with disabilities regarding Access Link service. The corporation shall provide for the establishment of procedures and methods by which such complaints shall be received, processed, and acted upon and for their resolution and settlement. The Access Link Customer Service Group shall, within 21 business days of the receipt of a complaint, respond in writing as to the disposition or status of the complaint. Any person who has not received a written response to a complaint within 21 business days may petition the New Jersey Transit 1[Director] General Manager1 of ADA Services for a hearing upon that complaint, under rules promulgated by the 1[director] general manager1 for the hearing and disposition of such matters. As used in this section, "Access Link" means the paratransit service implemented by the corporation for purposes of complying with the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990," Pub.L.101-336 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
b. The corporation shall provide to each person using Access Link, at the time the person is determined to be qualified for Access Link service and at least once in each calendar year thereafter in which the person remains a user, information as to the procedure to be followed in making and pursuing complaints to the Access Link Customer Service Group or the New Jersey Transit 1[Director] General Manager1 of ADA Services pursuant to this section. The direct telephone number for the Access Link Customer Service Group shall be prominently displayed in all Access Link vehicles.
c. The New Jersey Transit 1[Director] General Manager1 of ADA Services shall report semi-annually to the board, summarizing the Access Link Customer Service Group's activities for the preceding six months, including the number of complaints received, the nature of the complaints, and the resolution of the complaints and setting forth any recommendations for changes which would improve transportation services for passengers with disabilities. The New Jersey Transit 1[Director] General Manager1 of ADA Services shall send a copy of the report to the Division on Civil Rights in the Department of Law and 1[to]1 Public Safety, 1[and New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, Inc.] Disability Rights New Jersey,1 and the Community Health Law Project or their successor organizations.
3. This act shall take effect immediately.