Settlement Requires NJ Transit to Boost Accessibility at Five Stations

An Acela train passes through New Brunswick, New Jersey, in April 2018. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

NJ Transit will modify five stations on the northeast corridor line to improve accessibility for residents with disabilities as part of a settlement resolving a civil rights suit lodged by federal authorities, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced Tuesday.

Under the settlement, the transportation network must make various changes to the Trenton, Princeton Junction, New Brunswick, and MetroPark stations, plus Newark Penn Station, to remedy breaches of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

The violations noted in the settlement agreement include vertical gaps that could make areas inaccessible to wheelchair users, a lack of signs and audible tones to assist visually impaired people, and missing restroom grab bars, among numerous others.

“In ways large and small, people with disabilities were denied full access to transportation services,” Sellinger said in a statement. “Whether it was the lack of access to restrooms, no signs, bad ramps, poor access to elevators, or that parking spaces were just too small for those who needed wheelchair access.”

The settlement gives NJ Transit up to three years to resolve issues noted in the 51-page settlement agreement, though it requires the agency to complete some remediations within as little as 120 days. The deal allows the transportation network to request extensions, which must be approved by federal authorities.

The agreement is the second over disability services NJ Transit has accepted in as many years. In August 2021, the agency entered a consent decree with federal authorities after a lawsuit charged its disability transportation services violated portions of the National Voter Registration Act by failing to offer voter registration services to their riders.

Under federal law, offices administering state-funded programs geared primarily to residents with disabilities must be designated as voter registration agencies.

— by Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, October 19, 2022

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