Posts Tagged ‘transit’

“ADA issue keeps new Metro card machines under wraps for all”

Snags for the D.C. subway system [Washington Post via @andrewmgrossman]

The first shipment of the new [SmarTrip card] machines did not have the audio and Braille features required under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But Metro thought it could roll out the machines and add the audio and Braille a couple of months later. When disability advocates raised concerns, Metro realized that going forward would violate the ADA, and the transit agency halted the rollout.

So nearly three weeks after every station was to have its own SmarTrip card dispenser, riders at nearly half of the stations in the Metrorail system are out of luck if they need to buy a card.

Riders who stay with paper Farecards are charged an extra dollar a trip.

September 26 roundup

  • I suppose it will be said to “politicize” the Florida Supreme Court races to point out that Justices Quince and Pariente joined awful, politicized rulings on everything from liability suits to Bush v. Gore [Florida Current]
  • Courtesy of the taxpayers: “TV sitcoms to incorporate Obamacare pitches?” [Jazz Shaw, HotAir]
  • “Bringing out-of-state cases to Philadelphia simply for … filing fees is a wrong-headed policy.” [WSJ Law Blog]
  • GM and Chrysler bailout: Steve Chapman corrects Jumpin’ Jenny Granholm and other myth-spinners [Chicago Tribune/ABJ, earlier]
  • “Transit agencies may get reprieve from patent troll” [Greater Greater Washington, earlier here, etc.]
  • Another view of the beef producers vs. ABC (“pink slime”) case [Steven Brill, Reuters, earlier]
  • “A Fine for Doing Good: The Justice Department sues a bank for prudent lending” [WSJ editorial]

Patent troll vexes municipal transit agencies

Greater Greater Washington covers a story we linked a while back:

Jones doesn’t actually develop or sell any technology relating to real-time vehicle tracking, but that hasn’t stopped him (and his two offshore firms, ArrivalStar and Melvino Technologies) from punishing anyone who does. To date, he’s filed more than 100 lawsuits against anyone who uses such technology—everyone from Ford to Abercrombie & Fitch to American Airlines to FedEx. He’s now one of the top 25 filers of patent infringement suits, according to

Prominent among ArrivalStar’s recent targets have been municipal transit agencies, at least ten of whom it has sued, with another eight getting demand letters. Several have settled, including the New York City, Boston, Chicago and Maryland authorities; critics say the settlements are typically for less than the cost of defending the suits and are accompanied by nondisclosure clauses in which the transit operators agree not to talk about their experience.

Bus accident video footage

Because of a mounted dashboard camera, you can watch the footage of a Quincy, Ill. municipal transit bus on its seemingly uneventful ride until an oncoming car suddenly loses control and swerves directly into its path. [KHQA] If you do watch the footage, released by the plaintiff’s lawyer, see whether you would have predicted that the legal outcome of the crash would turn out to be “city pays $4 million to passenger in car that lost control.” (& welcome Reddit readers).

Judge: new Gotham cabs must have wheelchair access

Agreeing with the Obama Department of Justice, a federal judge has ruled that New York City cannot create more taxicab medallions unless they are for wheelchair-accessible vehicles [AP]. The administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg says full wheelchair conversion of the taxicab fleet, as demanded by litigants, would cost on the order of $900 million over five years. It would prefer to serve wheelchair patrons through a network that could summon specialized cabs on demand, but some of its adversaries dismiss that alternative as smacking of separate-but-equal.

Lawyer and author Philip K. Howard points out in a NYDN op-ed that the relief demanded

would require, over the next five years, that all 13,000 New York City medallion cabs be replaced by cabs that cost about $15,000 more – basically to have their frames cut and then stretched to accommodate a ramp and room inside for a person in a wheelchair. …

The larger taxis are generally about 800 pounds heavier and use about 20% more fuel – raising costs and polluting the air. Stretched taxis have harsher suspensions, and are therefore less comfortable for most users, as well as more dangerous (because they are less maneuverable and harder to stop).

See also NY1, WSJ, NYDN (DoJ weighs in on plaintiffs’ side); Matthew Daus/NYT; NYDN (editorial backing mandate), NY Post (opposing mandate); Capital New York (city files notice of appeal). More: Bader. Update Mar. 21: stayed pending appeal.