BART slammed by lawsuit due to accessibility issues

It's a surprise that it's taken this long for Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to be sued given the numerous disability access violations it commits but time has finally run out on them.

A pair of advocacy groups and two people with disabilities filed a lawsuit against BART alleging that it discriminates against people with mobility disabilities, effectively excluding them from the regional mass transit system.

For people with disabilities, problems that may be familiar annoyances to most riders can create absolute barriers to access. Problems cited in the lawsuit include elevators that are broken, out of service, or so soiled they are unusable, as well as non-functioning escalators and fare gates.

The class action lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights Advocates and Legal Aid at Work, both legal nonprofits, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Senior and Disability Action; the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco; and Ian Smith and Pi Ra, two people with disabilities. The plaintiffs are asking the court to stop BART from discriminating against people with mobility disabilities and to adopt a plan to remove barriers. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief only and no monetary damages.

DRA attorney Rebecca Williford says BART is failing to serve a significant segment of its ridership. “Instead of ensuring that riders with disabilities have an experience that is equal to those of their non-disabled peers, BART is perpetuating a discriminatory transportation system, right here in the birthplace of the disability rights movement.”

Here's a copy of the complaint that was filed in court.