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Settlement Agreement with BART Improves Accessibility for Riders with Mobility Disabilities

— April 24, 2024

Part of the settlement included an emergency preparedness plan establishing a protocol for passengers separated from their mobility devices during an emergency.

San Francisco, CA—A federal judge approved a class settlement that provides significant changes that will improve the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)’s accessibility for riders with mobility disabilities. The settlement resolves claims that BART has systemically failed to ensure full and equal access to its stations and services, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and California law. Read the settlement agreement and the Court’s final approval order.

Under the settlement agreement, among other things, BART agreed to:

  • Implement a strategic maintenance plan to renovate the 87 station elevators, make prompt repairs of out of service station elevators and escalators, and implement preventative maintenance plans to provide continuous, uninterrupted service.
  • A timely response to elevator and station cleanliness.
  • Communication of elevator and escalator outages.
  • An emergency preparedness plan including a protocol for passengers separated from their mobility devices during an emergency.
  • Training of BART personnel.
  • A complaint procedure to report on accessibility issues.

“This settlement brings lasting change for our staff members and clients,” said Lana Nieves, Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco.

“I am proud of what we accomplished through this settlement and happy that BART is prioritizing the needs of the disability community,” said Ian Smith, a BART rider who uses a wheelchair.

“I am glad BART’s elevator and escalator outages are being addressed,” said Betty Traynor, Board President of Senior and Disability Action.

Two elevators; image courtesy of nakataza02 via Pixabay,

“This settlement ensures that people with mobility disabilities are not excluded from the Bay Area’s mass transit system and do not receive a level of service vastly inferior to non-disabled people,” said Jinny Kim, Supervising Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates.

“This settlement secures long-overdue improvements to the BART system and ensures accessible public access that will benefit all riders. Perhaps more importantly, it reaffirms the equal dignity of people with mobility disabilities,” said Laura Alvarenga Scalia Staff Attorney at Legal Aid at Work.

The case is Senior and Disability Action, et al. v. Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Civ. No. 3:17-cv-01876-LB (N.D. Cal.) and was filed on April 5, 2017 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Senior and Disability Action and Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and two individuals with mobility disabilities who sought equal access to the mass transit system. Plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates and Legal Aid at Work.

Disability Rights Advocates 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 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 transportation, health care, voting, education and employment. Visit

Legal Aid at Work partners with people to help them understand and assert their workplace rights. It also advocates for employment laws and systems that empower low-paid workers and marginalized communities. Visit

Senior and Disability Action mobilizes and educates seniors and people with disabilities to fight for individual rights and social justice. Through individual support and collective action, SDA works together to create a city and world in which seniors and people with disabilities can live well and safely. Among other programs, SDA’s Transit Justice Group organizes for good public transit for seniors, disabled people, and all San Francisco residents. Visit

Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco is a disability rights advocacy and support organization whose mission is to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, within their families and within a fully accessible community. ILRCSF’s mission is achieved by systems change, community education, partnerships with business, community organizations and government, and consumer directed services. ILRCSF works to empower individuals and community, so that all people with disabilities have as full, productive and independent lives as they so choose. Visit

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