Under what circumstances may an FTA subrecipient acquire a transit vehicle that does not comply with ADA accessibility guidelines?
A. In general, any public entity that purchases or leases a new, used, or remanufactured1 vehicle must acquire an accessible vehicle. Specific requirements for both non-rail and rail vehicles are found in Subpart D of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations implementing the ADA (49 CFR Parts 27, 37 and 38). This response will focus primarily on requirements for acquiring non-rail vehicles. DOT regulations provide for exceptions under certain rare circumstances. These provisions vary depending on whether the entity operates a fixed-route or demand-response system, and whether it is acquiring new, used, or remanufactured vehicles. In the case of fixed-route systems, the FTA Administrator may grant a waiver permitting a public entity to purchase or lease a new, inaccessible bus if certain conditions are met. The public entity must hold a public hearing before applying for such a waiver, and must demonstrate to the Administrator’s satisfaction that specific conditions have bee