Shuttle bus owner faces suit on ADA violations
By David Flaum
flaum@gomemphis.com
February 22, 2003

Federal officials filed suit against Memphis-based Bette Bus Shuttle Inc. for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Memphis on Wednesday said the company, which runs 15-passenger van trips from Memphis to Little Rock National Airport, discriminates against people with wheelchairs.

The suit cited a June 1, 2001, incident in which a wheelchair-bound Memphis woman with a muscle and bone condition was prevented from bringing her wheelchair with her on a van ride.

The woman, who flew to Houston from Little Rock, had trouble getting around while she was in Texas because she didn't have the wheelchair, the suit said.

Bette Bus owner Scott Beem said he considers the suit "a formality." He said he has been discussing the matter with the U.S. attorney for about a year.

"We're having discussions next week and then I'll know something," Beem said.

Asst. U.S. Atty. Gary Vanasek, who is handling the case, said he was unaware of a scheduled meeting.

However, Vanasek said a meeting would be appropriate because the government tries to settle such cases.

Bette Bus's vans are inaccessible to people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs, and the vans have no level changing mechanism or boarding device for disabled people or wheelchairs, according to the suit.

In addition, the company has a policy of refusing to allow travelers to take wheelchairs on vans, the suit said.

Federal officials are asking the court to declare Bette Bus's practices in violation of ADA and federal regulations, end the no-wheelchair policy, order the company to provide accessible vehicles and to train employees how to help people with disabilities get on and off vans.

The suit also asked for unspecified money damages for the woman traveling to Houston and others who may have been discriminated against.

http://www.gomemphis.com/mca/busines...762253,00.html