ABLE, DRO file federal lawsuit seeking changes to Dayton Mall bus stop policy

December 15, 2015 / public transit

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) today filed a federal lawsuit against the Dayton Mall and several of its anchor stores--Macy's, Sears, and Elder Beerman--seeking a policy change that would enable people with disabilities who ride public transportation to have effective and equal access to the Dayton Mall.

The complaint alleges that the present policy of the mall, which requires that the RTA keep the bus stop more than 600 feet from the mall entrance and which significantly limits the buses that can use the stop, severely impacts people with disabilities and discriminates against them, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In April 2015, DRO and ABLE began advocating on behalf of individual and organizational clients for a reasonable modification of the Dayton Mall's policy of locating the bus stop over 600 feet away from the mall entrance. They requested that the mall allow the RTA to move the stop close to one of the mall entrances and that the seven bus routes that serve the mall area be allowed to stop there. These changes would eliminate the unnecessary access barriers that the mall's arbitrary policies have created, but the mall refused.

"As a result, people with disabilities continue have to make a long, difficult, and dangerous trip through the parking lot just to get in the mall entrance--and they have to endure unnecessary transfers just to get to that stop," says Ellis Jacobs, lead counsel from ABLE.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has worked for years to get a bus stop located closer to the entrance and to increase the number of routes that stop at the Dayton Mall, without success.

According to Attorney Jason Boylan of DRO, "The ADA prioritizes access for people with disabilities to get in the front door, but if they cannot even get to the front door, that right does them no good. With this lawsuit, we are asking the federal court to require that the Dayton Mall change this discriminatory policy and practice."

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