Vision-Impaired Transit Riders Lose ADA Claims

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Courthouse News reports that the 9th Circuit dismissed the claim that the Bay Area Rapid Transit violated disability law by not making its steps and handrails more accessible to vision-impaired riders.

A three-judge panel in San Francisco overturned a federal judge's ruling that BART violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not offering accessible handrails or color-contrast striping on stairs.

US District Judge Claudia Wilken conceded that, despite complaints from vision-impaired riders, BART was in compliance with the Department of Transportation's regulations. However, she found those regulations "both arbitrary and capricious and plainly contrary" to the ADA.

She awarded the plaintiffs, two sight-impaired BART riders, $35,000 in compensatory damages, plus legal costs and attorney fees. She also ordered BART to take specific steps to improve accessibility for riders with poor vision.

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