[IMAGE]mobility-bus-boarding-passengers-resize1.jpg[/IMAGE]In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), based in San Jose, Calif., recently took a look back at its accomplishments in ensuring transit accessibility and providing paratransit services.
VTA has worked in partnership with community stakeholders, customers, the Committee for Transit Accessibility (CTA) and paratransit services contractor Outreach Inc. to ensure accessibility of VTA bus, light rail and paratransit services, GM Michael Burns wrote in a recent newsletter.
[IMAGE]mobilitybus-1-resize1.jpg[/IMAGE]VTA buses are equipped with lifts to ease boarding for those persons who use mobility devices, mobility device securement equipment to ensure safety once inside the vehicle, and GPS-signaled bus stop announcements. The agency has retrofitted all light rail station platforms to provide level boarding for customers, while transit facility design improvements include large print signage, visual display boards, automatic announcements, tactile signage and Braille signage at bus stops for persons with visual impairments.
In addition, VTA recently received a Federal Transit Administration New Freedom Grant that has funded the agency's Mobility Options Program, a travel training program for seniors and persons with disabilities who want to use fixed-route services.
[IMAGE]paratransit-resize1.jpg[/IMAGE]The Committee for Transit Accessibility has played an integral role in advising the VTA Board of Directors and staff on bus and rail accessibility issues, paratransit service, public facilities and programs, and VTA's efforts to fully comply with ADA, Burns noted.
"I recognize that none of these accomplishments could have been achieved without the hard work and collaboration of our partnerships and staff," he said.
Throughout the years in which VTA has offered ADA-compliant transit services, operators have called out stops, assisted with boarding and ensured mobility devices are secure; mechanics have provided prompt repair of accessibility equipment; and administrative staff has ensured that documents and information are readily available in various accessible formats through the agency's Customer Service Call Center, at public meetings, and on the newly improved "Service Accessibility" Webpage.