New Consent Agreement Opens Another Door to Mexico

I get a lot of questions about access in Mexico. Truth be told, it’s a large country and it pretty much depends on where you go. I have seen some nice accessible hotel rooms south of the border, but the infrastructure is somewhat lacking, especially in regards to accessible transportation. Still if you can go with a sense of adventure and be willing to accept a little help, Mexico may be doable for you.

But what about getting there?

Sure you can fly, but many folks don’t want to endure the hassles associated with flying. Driving is a possibility, but then you have to get Mexican automobile insurance if you venture outside of the Free Trade Zone. And yes, you can certainly walk across the border in many towns, but you may run into some access obstacles in many Mexican border towns.

So what’s a traveler to do?

How about taking the bus? That’s right, I said the bus. Admittedly it wouldn’t normally be my top choice, but because of a recent Consent Agreement between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Omnibus Express, things may be looking up for accessible bus travel to Mexico.

It all started on January 11, 2011 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discovered that Omnibus Express had zero accessible buses in their fleet of 85 leased vehicles. They also learned that 22 of those buses had been leased in the past year. Current ADA regulations require at least 50% of a carrier’s fleet, as well as all new buses (leased or purchased) to be accessible. And in this case, accessible means lift-equipped.

With such an egregious violation the FMCSA could have revoked Omnibus Express’ motor carrier registration and operating permit; but instead they choose to work with the DOJ to make Omnibus more accessible. To that end, under the terms of a March 9, 2011 Consent Agreement, Omnibus Express agreed to make 50% of their fleet accessible by July 1, 2011 and to pay a $55,000 fine to the DOJ.

And although we’re still several months away from that deadline, today the Omnibus Express fleet includes 25 buses, four of which are accessible. So it appears we are headed in a positive direction.

So if a trip to Mexico is in your future you might want to check out Omnibus Express. They run routes from Dallas and Houston to Monterrey, Mexico. Of course remember to make your reservation at least 48 hours in advance, and be sure and request an accessible bus. And if they can’t accommodate you, I’m sure the DOJ would love to hear about your experience.

 

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