FTA releases Civil Rights compliance review of Metro

The Federal Transit Administration on Monday released its Civil Rights Title VI compliance review of Metro; the review can be downloaded here as a Word document.

The review found that Metro did not fully follow federal regulations and guidance when the agency made service and fare changes. The review dates back to 2009.

Here is the corrective action plan that Metro has assembled in response to the review and has sent to the FTA, which helps fund some Metro projects and programs and therefore conducts periodic reviews. And here is a report from Metro staff to the agency’s Board of Directors.

The release of the compliance review is the reason that Metro decided Friday to postpone service changes that were supposed to go into effect Sunday. Agency officials said that some of those changes need further analysis to ensure they followed FTA rules.

Below is the statement that Metro released about the FTA’s review on Friday, when the Los Angeles Times first reported it.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently audited Metro for compliance with federal Title VI Civil Rights regulations. The review is similar to those conducted at other major transit agencies around the country as FTA increases its focus on Title VI with the expectation that the transit industry must do a better job of compliance.

The FTA audit of Metro was not an investigation to determine the merit of any specific discrimination complaints filed against Metro. However, it did find deficiencies with the methodologies and processes that Metro uses to assess impacts of fare and service changes on minorities and low-income people.

Metro is working closely with FTA to ensure that it is in full compliance with all federal civil rights regulations. These apply to instances where Metro raises or even lowers fares, such as recent action to shave a dollar off the day pass price, cutting or adding bus or rail service. There are numerous technical and procedural regulations imposed by the federal government that have led to some confusion not only in Los Angeles County but across the nation. The FTA, which has audited Metro in the past without finding fault, has recently clarified the requirements.

Last May the Metro Board of Directors approved a budget that reassigned the agency’s Civil Rights unit to the CEO’s office and created a new full-time Civil Rights compliance officer position that reports to the CEO. Since the Civil Rights compliance officer was hired in September 2011, he has been working with Metro executives, sector governing councils, the FTA and others to thoroughly review and modify all Metro policies and procedures or adopt new ones as appropriate. This effort is well underway. Many of the changes should be in place by March. The remaining issues identified by the FTA audit involve improving communication with customers who have limited English proficiency and these should be resolved within a year. In addition, all Metro executives and staff and consultants involved in any aspect of Title VI will be retrained so they have a thorough understanding of all Civil Rights regulations and will be held accountable for full compliance.

2 replies

  1. Does this part of the “Corrective Action Plan” mean what I think it means?

    “Metro understands that a service equity analysis is also required for the Expo LRT Phase I line and the Orange Line BRT Extension. An equity analysis based on actual planned service and including both Title VI and EJ considerations will be completed prior to the lines opening using the methodology for service equity described in 5(b) above. The Expo Phase 1 Equity Analysis shall be completed and presented at the February 23, 2012 Board meeting. The FTA will be provided a copy of the report in advance of public release and allow time for comment.”