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Mistakes Hotel Shuttles Make That Lead to ADA Non-Compliance

By Nor Cal Vans Team | December 13, 2019

woman in wheelchair at hotel receptionImagine how you feel after a day of air travel. You land at the airport, jet lagged but running on adrenaline, collect your luggage, and navigate to the pick-up location for your hotel shuttle – only to find out it’s not wheelchair accessible and you’re stuck at the airport until alternative transportation can be found.

Hotels that offers guests complimentary shuttle service as a convenience to their customers are required to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles or to have a plan that provides an accessible alternative. The Americans with Disabilities Act states:

Some businesses provide transportation for their customers as a convenience that supports their primary business. Examples include hotels that provide courtesy shuttle vans for guests going to or from an airport or other local destinations…Companies that provide transportation services on demand (such as a hotel that sends a van to an airport to pick up a customer when the customer calls the hotel) can acquire vehicles that are equipped with a lift or can contract with another company to provide accessible service for the customers who need it. For example, a small hotel might hire a local transportation company that has a lift-equipped van to transport a hotel guest who uses a wheelchair.”

If you’re in the business of transporting people as a convenience that supports your hotel or resort, and you’re not providing the same service for passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters, then you could be putting the company at risk.

Here are a few examples of what inaccessibility and non-compliance looks like:

  • When only one of the shuttle buses is accessible, causing extra wait time and delays for guests with disabilities, while able-bodied guests are being accommodated. The ADA calls this a violation of the right to equal access. All of the shuttles should be compliant.

  • When a hotel claims to offer accessibility shuttle service but fails to communicate that 24 hours advance notice is required because the hotel doesn’t actually have an accessible van – they have to make arrangements with a separate contractor.

  • When a hotel doesn’t have an accessible shuttle at all and fails to even care about finding a solution to accommodate. This leaves guests with disabilities in a predicament, causing them to have to pay out of pocket for alternative transportation (if it’s even available) or leaving them to roll in their wheelchair between the hotel and airport all on their own.

When customers inquire about wheelchair accessible shuttle services you can make sure they have a positive experience by clearing communicating your process.

Here are some key points to communicate:

  • If the shuttle service is provided by the hotel or a private service. If it’s the latter, make sure the customer knows the name of the shuttle service and what the vehicle looks like.
  • The pick-up time and location.
  • The destination drop-off time and location.
  • Any documentation needed, such as a special ticket or additional fees and payment methods accepted.
  • Any special requirements they have.

It’s one thing to meet requirements, but it’s another to offer your guests a truly exceptional experience. If you’re looking for wheelchair accessible vehicle options, the recommended vehicle for paratransit is the Ford Transit. It’s American-made to be versatile, fuel efficient, and offer low operating costs. 

The Ford Transit is ideal for tourism, hotel transportation, casinos and even airports, but the van can be configured to meet the needs of multiple industries with an eye to impressing your customers with your attention to their comfort.

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Nor Cal Vans designs and builds transportation solutions that change people’s lives. We serve a broad range of industries with our innovative new and used van conversion options including government, education, airport/group transportation, non-emergency medical, secure transport, and refrigeration. We’ve been solving transportation needs for nearly four decades and strive to hold true to our values of teamwork, trust, accountability, growth and a positive attitude.

Posted in Paratransit