The agreement resolves complaints that customers of Honolulu’s paratransit service, TheHandi-Van, who called to make or change reservations for rides, had very long telephone hold times or did not have their calls answered.
A Justice Department investigation substantiated that the City and County “failed to provide paratransit service that is comparable to the level of designated public transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities using such system,” according to the Department’s report.
Under the agreement, the City and County will take immediate steps to lessen hold times and within three years will answer 95% of calls to TheHandi-Van within three minutes and 99% of calls within five minutes.
The City and County will also provide regular reports to the department on its progress under the agreement, which includes hitting specific performance markers for its phone system both 12- and 24-months from now.
“Ensuring easy access to booking paratransit is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This agreement will allow users to reserve and use paratransit in Honolulu. The Justice Department is committed to ending discriminatory practices in paratransit, because accessible transportation is critical to independence and engagement in civic life.”