Ground Transportation and Guide Dogs

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations, transit entities must permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. Entities covered under Title II of the ADA include publically-operated services such as buses, subways, paratransit services, Amtrak, and commuter railroads. Questions and complaints about public transportation should be directed to the DOT’s Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights at (888) 446-4511.

Private transportation services covered under Title III of the ADA include Over-the-Road Buses such as Greyhound; taxicabs and limos; shuttles; and tour buses. Questions and complaints about private transportation services  should be directed to The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section at (800) 514-0301. 

Check out Project Action’s information for taxi companies and drivers

Link: Listen to The Seeing Eye’s Taxi PSA featuring Betty White

The DOT’s Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice work to ensure that both public and private transportation providers offer service in a manner that does not discriminate against customers or potential customers with disabilities.  Common examples of discriminatory service include:

  • Charging extra fees for "cleaning" or higher fares to customers with service animals
  • Asking a customer to disclose that he or she will be accompanied by a service animal
  • Advising  taxi drivers that a customer will be accompanied by a service animal before a driver accepts a trip
  • Segregating customers with service animals from other passengers
  • Refusing to transport more than one person accompanied by a service animal together in the same vehicle
  • Placing restrictions on the vehicles in which customers accompanied by service animals are transported
  • Making customers with service animals wait longer than other passengers before providing transportation services

It’s important to note that the DOT’s definition of a service animal is not restricted to dogs only. Disabled passengers may be accompanied by legitimate service animals such as cats, birds etc. as long as the animal meets the DOT’s definition of a service animal. A transportation provider may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person's disability.  A service animal may not be excluded unless the animal is out of control and the animal's owner does not take effective action to control it or the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Allergies, fear of dogs and religious beliefs are not valid reasons for refusing to transport passengers with service animals.