I use a power wheelchair, and I want to take a tour of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. I called up a tour company and tried to book one of their tours and they told me that they didn’t have any accessible space available. I thought all tours had to be accessible. Why are these people refusing to take me? What can I do?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), over-the-road bus tours are required to provide an accessible bus given at least 48 hours notice. An accessible bus is defined as one that has a wheelchair lift and tie-downs. There is a catch though, and it may be the reason that the tour company couldn’t accommodate you.
Since a wheelchair space takes up six seats, if they have five or fewer seats available, they are not required to accommodate you, as they are “sold out” to wheelchair-users. I’m not sure if this is the case in your situation, but I would call the company back and clarify things. Perhaps they have wheelchair space on a different day.
If they just don’t want to accommodate you, even though they have the space, then I’d talk with the manager about your rights under the ADA.
And if all else fails, you can always file a Title III complaint against the company. Just write up a brief description of the incident, including dates and names of employees, and send it to the address below.
US Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Disability Right Section – NYAV
Washington DC 20530
This process won’t provide immediate relief, but if the Department of Justice decides to pursue the complaint it may ultimately change the policies of the offending company. And to be honest, that’s about the only way the ADA is enforced, through consumer complaints. So although it’s not a quick fix, it may help others down the road. Good luck.