(TRENTON) – Though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, many NJTRANSIT stations do not have ADA-compliant accessibility features to accommodate visitors with disabilities, as required by the federal law.
With the goal to bring all NJTRANSIT stations to full ADA compliance, legislation (A-3821) to create a task force to evaluate upgrades that need to be completed to ensure accessibility was approved Thursday by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. The bill is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson and Thomas Giblin.
“It’s unacceptable that thirty years after the ADA, public transportation is still not fully accessible to all residents with disabilities in many areas in New Jersey,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “It’s time we definitively determine what upgrades are needed and create a plan to bring our system to full ADA compliance. These changes are long overdue.”
The nine-member “NJTRANSIT ADA Task Force” established under the bill would study ADA compliance in all bus terminals, train stations, stops and equipment owned or operated by NJTRANSIT or entities contracting with the agency. The task force would compile a list of all upgrades that must be completed to be in full compliance with the ADA and determine associated costs.
Some NJTRANSIT lines are almost entirely accessible, including the Atlantic City and Northeast Corridor lines. Others like those in the Hoboken division – the Morris and Essex, Montclair-Boonton, Pascack Valley, Main and Bergen County lines among them – are only partially accessible.
“Public transportation is a fundamental resource in our communities. People with disabilities deserve equal access and reasonable accommodations,” said Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). “The work of this task force will get us closer to achieving greater equity in our public transit system.”
The bill would go into effect seven months after enactment. The task force would be required to submit a report of its findings within two years.
The measure now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.