The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace join the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law, signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, ensures the civil rights of people with disabilities. The legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and has expanded opportunities for people with disabilities including the provision of accessible public transportation services that help to eliminate barriers and enable full participation in community life.
“The RTA, along with CTA and Metra and Pace, is committed to ensuring that riders with disabilities in our region have safe and convenient access to transit,” said Leanne Redden, Executive Director of the RTA. “The RTA issues about 600,000 permits a year to riders with disabilities and older adults and we are proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the ADA with them in mind.”
Highlights of the accessibility features of the region’s transit system include:
- Pace has a fully accessible fixed route bus fleet, and was the first transit agency in northeastern Illinois and the second in the state to achieve this status.
- Buses “kneel” and are equipped with ramps for accessible boarding.
- Buses have designated priority seating areas for people with disabilities and older adults, as well as wheelchair securement areas. Bus operators will assist riders with disabilities to board and exit vehicles, and will assist with securing wheelchairs and other mobility devices, if needed.
- Buses have automated audio and visual route identification and stop announcements.
- Pace’s bus shelter program provides for the ability to install new shelters that are fully accessible as well as retrofitting old shelters for accessibility.
- Pace’s ADA Paratransit service, which includes both the Pace and CTA ADA service areas, is among the largest in the country and covers the largest geographic area in the U.S.
- Pace received a perfect score in a recent enhanced review of Pace’s ADA Paratransit policies and operations conducted by the Federal Transit Administration.
- CTA has a fully accessible fixed route bus fleet and ‘L’ trains also are accessible. A total of 100 ‘L’ stations are accessible for people with disabilities.
- Buses kneel and are equipped with ramps for accessible boarding.
- Buses have designated priority seating areas for people with disabilities and older adults, as well as wheelchair securement areas. Bus operators will assist riders with disabilities board and exit vehicles, and also assist with securing wheelchairs and other mobility devices, if needed.
- Buses and ‘L’ trains include audio and visual route identification and stop announcements.
- The CTA ‘L’ trains provide designated priority seating areas for people with disabilities and older adults, including areas for people using wheelchairs and power scooters. Bridge plates are available when needed to span the gap between the platform and railcar. Rail operators will assist passengers with disabilities when boarding and exiting trains, if needed.
- To improve customer information, CTA has added audio and visual bus arrival information at more than 330 shelters that are served by multiple routes.
- Before traveling on the CTA ’L,’ people with disabilities who require station accessibility should first determine which stations are accessible or check a regional transit map. Customers who require an elevator can call the CTA Elevator Status Line at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) to make sure the elevators are working at the accessible stations that are needed during travel.
- Metra has 173 fully accessible stations and 22 partially accessible stations, representing its busiest stations that are used by more than 94 percent of its customer base. Customers who use wheelchairs at partially accessible stations can access train platforms from the street.
- All 11 train lines in the Metra system (plus the South Shore Line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District) are fully accessible to customers with disabilities.
- Cars on the Metra Electric are equipped with roll-on bridge plates that cover the gap between the vestibule and the high-level platforms. The diesel-powered lines have at least one lift-equipped car per train to provide access from low-level platforms.
- Each accessible car has three wheelchair areas for riders who prefer to remain in their chairs. Customers can also transfer to standard seats. Stations outside the downtown area have accessible boarding areas where the lift-equipped train car will stop for boarding.