People with disabilities will eventually find it easier to commute after federal authorities have cracked down on discrimination by the administration of Governor Philip Murphy.
New Jersey Transit has committed to making five intercity rail stations – Newark Penn Station, Princeton Junction Train Station, MetroPark Train Station, Trenton Train Station, and New Brunswick Train Station – more accessible after the U.S. Attorney’s Office lodged allegations that the administration of Governor Phil Murphy violated the civil rights of people with disabilities.
New Jersey Transit must modify multiple portions of the rail stations and their access points, including physical modifications to multiple platforms, waiting areas, parking lots, and restrooms.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) agreed to resolve his charges that it violated the civil rights of people with disabilities by failing to operate a paratransit service that complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
The ADA requires public entities like NJ Transit to provide accessible public transportation to people with disabilities, including providing a paratransit system that is comparable to the transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities.
Under the agreement, NJ Transit must ensure that its paratransit system – Access Link – eliminates capacity constraints that significantly limit the availability of transit services to ADA paratransit-eligible persons.
NJ Transit’s Access Link subjected a significant number of riders to excessively long trips, late pickups, late drop-offs, and excessive telephone hold times.
“Without equal access to public transportation, people with disabilities are deprived the opportunity to engage in society on an equal basis,” said Sellinger. “This agreement removes discriminatory barriers by ensuring that thousands of Americans with disabilities have equal access to public transportation throughout New Jersey.”
Earlier this year, Sellinger created a division with the sole focus on enforcing federal civil rights laws, which prosecuted the case against the Murphy administration.
Access will also be improved at Newark’s Penn Station, which handles over 27,500 daily commuters; at Metropark in Woodbridge with 7,600 daily commuters; at Princeton Junction, with 6,800 commuters; New Brunswick with nearly 5,000 riders; and Trenton with 3,900 commuters, where NJ Transit agreed in a separate settlement on October 18, 2022, to make multi-million dollars worth of access upgrades to platforms, waiting areas, parking lots and restrooms.
Anyone who believes they may have been victims of discrimination can file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office or call the Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339.
More information about the ADA can be found online, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).