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  • Acts
  • 1998
  • Chapter 303 AN ACT PROVIDING ACCESS TO CERTAIN COMMUTER RAIL STATIONS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, rule, regulation or agreement to the contrary, a platform constructed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority at commuter rail stations in the towns of Ashland, Southborough, Westborough and Grafton may consist of low platforms and mini high platforms.

SECTION 2. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall guarantee priority seating for eight wheelchair passengers on all trains on the Worcester line of the commuter rail. Said authority shall make said priority seating accessible on all departures from the stations listed in section 1 and shall provide signage on all trains using the Worcester line directing passengers without disability to give up seating for wheelchair passengers.

SECTION 3. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall modify all necessary cars so that wheelchair seating will be available on the first day of service at the stations listed in section 1. Said authority shall initiate a promotional campaign and outreach program to encourage disabled ridership by informing the disabled community of the expanded and user friendly service.

SECTION 4. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall conduct a study, in collaboration with the office on disability and as articulated in a memorandum of understanding, to be completed within one year of the completion of the station construction, to assess disabled ridership and, if it is determined that additional modified seats are necessary to meet the demand for seating for wheelchair passengers, said authority, without further legislative action, shall modify seats to meet the need as determined by said study within one year of the completion of said study.

SECTION 5. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall establish an advisory committee whose members shall include representatives from the Center for Living and Working, the Center for Independent Living, the office on disability and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Said advisory committee shall be established within 30 days after the effective date of this act and shall exist for a period of not less than one year after the implementation of service at the stations listed in section 1.

SECTION 6. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall conduct a study for the purpose of establishing a plan for assessing fines against commuter rail contractors who fail to meet the rights of disabled passengers under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and applicable laws of the commonwealth, including the amount of said fine and the use of the proceeds of said fines for the benefit of an appropriate disabled advocacy group. Said authority shall report to the general court the results of its study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out such recommendations, by filing the same with the clerk of the senate within six months after the effective date of this act.

Approved August 14, 1998.