On April 9, 2020, transportation advocates Bill Stokes and Donna Powers, the Arizona chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (AzPVA) reached an agreement with Total Transit Inc. (TTI), Total Transit Enterprises, LLC (TTE), and National Express Transit Corporation, Inc. (NExT) that ends a $10.00 fee that the company charged to all retail taxi passengers who requested a taxi van—including riders with mobility disabilities requesting a wheelchair-accessible van.
Consistent with its commitment to provide accessible transportation options, TTE, now operating as “Total Ride” (formerly “Discount Cab”), eliminated the $10 van fee and now taxi riders with mobility disabilities using accessible taxis will be charged the same fare as customers who use non-accessible taxis.
The Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) and Disability Rights Advocates filed the lawsuit in 2015 on behalf of Stokes, Powers and the AzPVA. The lawsuit alleged violations of federal and state civil rights laws designed to eliminate disability-based discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. When the suit was filed, Discount Cab provided accessible vans, non-accessible vans, and sedans to its taxi customers. The $10.00 fee, which was paid to Discount Cab drivers, was charged to all retail taxi passengers who requested a van.
The lawsuit alleged the policy of charging a van fee should have been waived as a reasonable modification for people who required accessible vans to take a taxi trip. TTI, TTE, and NEXT disagree and deny any liability. The parties agreed to settle the lawsuit as a compromise and to provide accessible transportation options to the community.
Plaintiff Bill Stokes says, “Ending the $10 fee adds up to more trips to go out and enjoy a good meal, go to the barbershop, or catch a movie with your family and friends.” Donna Powers, plaintiff, added, “Transportation and mobility are key not only to opportunities in community life, but also education, employment, health care, housing, and community involvement. And ending the additional trip fee makes taking a taxi another viable transportation option.” AzPVA Executive Director Peter Quinn says, “We appreciate TTI’s willingness to resolve the matter and we hope that other retail taxi services will follow TTI’s move and end similar fees.”
About Arizona Center for Disability Law
ACDL is a non-profit law firm that assists Arizonans with disabilities to promote and protect their legal rights to independence, justice and equality. ACDL is the federally designated Protection and Advocacy agency system (P&A) for the State of Arizona. P&A’s throughout the United States work to ensure that the human and civil rights of persons with disabilities are protected.
About Disability Rights Advocates
Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), founded in 1993, is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically-improved access to education, housing, health care, employment, and transportation, disaster preparedness planning, and voting. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.
About Arizona Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America
PVA was originally formed in 1946, the Arizona Chapter for Paralyzed Veterans was incorporated in Arizona in 1967. The PVA and its Chapters were chartered by the United States Congress in 1971. This Charter entitles the AZPVA specific rights and responsibilities that we take very seriously and enable us to serve our veterans daily. AzPVA serves US military veterans who endure Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and (SCD) Spinal Cord Disease/Dysfunction.