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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that will prohibit New Jersey Transit from denying entry or use of any vehicle to a person who uses a guide or service dog was signed into law.

The law stems from an old NJ Transit policy that excluded guide dogs on sedans, including its Access Link fleet, which serves the disabled population. NJ Transit amended its policy, and the law establishes the changes in statue.

“This law ensures that going forward, this kind of discrimination is clear cut and will not be tolerated,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “We should be doing everything we can to prevent discrimination and support those with disabilities and this law is a step in the right direction. Allowing commuters who use guide or service dogs the same access to transportation as everyone else is really a matter of fairness and common sense. All our residents who use public transportation should be entitled to the same rights.”

The law, S-1379, amends the “New Jersey Public Transportation Act of 1979” to prohibit this kind of discrimination. Moreover, it allows anyone using a guide or service dog to keep the dog with them while riding on any bus, train or other form of transportation operated by the Transit agency. The dog would have to be appropriately controlled while in transit.

In addition, the law requires NJ Transit to designate an Access Link Customer Service Group to receive and act on any complaints regarding Access Link service to people with disabilities. The law would establish procedures by which complaints would be processed and resolved. Access Link is the paratransit service implemented by New Jersey Transit for purposes of complying with the “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”

The bill cleared the full Senate 38-0 and cleared in Assembly 79-0. The law takes effect immediately.

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