Hollywood Sightseeing Tours Violate ADA, Suit Alleges
The Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant is suing a prominent Hollywood, Calif. tour provider alleging that its buses are inaccessible in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday against Starline Tours of Hollywood comes after pageant officials attempted for four years to arrange tours when the reigning Ms. Wheelchair America visited Los Angeles.
In each case, employees of Starline either told pageant officials that their buses were not accessible or suggested that visitors could participate only if they left their wheelchairs at the tour bus company’s offices and were carried onto the bus.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
“Instead of relegating people with disabilities to the back of the bus, Starline does not even let them board. This is bad for business and in clear violation of state and federal law,” said Shawna Parks, legal director for the Disability Rights Legal Center, a Los Angeles nonprofit that filed the case on behalf of the Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant and thousands of other people with disabilities.
In addition to inaccessible buses, the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles also suggests that the company misrepresents its ability to accommodate those with disabilities.
Officials at the Disability Rights Legal Center say they urged Starline Tours to take corrective action for almost a year before filing the lawsuit. They want the tour company to modify its buses or buy new, accessible ones, alter its policies and train staff on disability rights.
Those behind the lawsuit say Starline, which services 1 million Los Angeles-area tourists annually, is not the only offender in Hollywood, but they’re hoping that by taking action against one tour provider that others will be compelled to mend their ways.
Ms. Wheelchair pageants are conducted in more than 30 states and at the national level. They are not beauty contents, but instead honor the achievements of women who use wheelchairs, according to the organization’s website.
Calls to Starline Tours seeking comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.