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2011 News Releases

ACLU Opposes Photo ID Requirement for RIPTA Reduced Fare Bus Passes

Posted: November 29, 2011|Category: Discrimination Category: Rights of the Disabled

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The RI ACLU submitted testimony today objecting to regulations proposed by the RI Public Transportation Authority that would require the elderly and patrons with disabilities to present photo identification in order to obtain a reduced-fare bus pass. Presently, individuals need to only provide written documentation of their age or disability status.

In its written testimony, the ACLU noted that "photo identification is not readily available for all, and seniors and disabled individuals are among those least likely to have access to photo identification or the documents required to obtain it."  In pointing out the potential hardship, the ACLU emphasized that "where they once only had to provide proof of their age, seniors will now be required to possess citizenship and other documents necessary to obtain a state or federal identification, to pay to obtain a photo ID, to take time off from work and other responsibilities, and to secure transportation – which RIPTA’s own policy now limits for them – to get to a DMV office to obtain this identification."  The ACLU testimony also objected that new language regarding certification of disability "is vague and provides no methods for review."

Earlier this year, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted a law, over the ACLU's objections, requiring photo identification for people to vote. Ironically, proposed Secretary of State regulations establishing procedures for residents to get voter ID cards list RIPTA bus passes as an acceptable form of non-photo ID to qualify for a voter ID card.

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