On Wednesday, Phoenix-based Valley Metro opened a new Mobility Center, a regional facility that will help make travel easier for thousands of passengers who may need additional assistance navigating the transit system.
There are more than 11,000 Valley Metro passengers currently eligible for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) designation, allowing them reduced fares on the bus and light rail system and access to paratransit or Dial-a-Ride services in the Valley.
“Our goal was to build a facility that simulated our actual transit environment in the metro Phoenix area,” said David Boggs, Valley Metro executive director. “The Center, which is modeled after similar structures in Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, allows passengers the opportunity to try transit before they actually ride to see if it’s feasible for them.”
Following years of research, several studies and case studies from peer cities, Valley Metro’s board of directors approved the development of a Mobility Center in 2010 that would not only provide in-person eligibility determinations but offer travel training and other programs making the transit system more accessible to local residents.
Completed this month, unique features of the Mobility Center include a full-sized 40-foot bus and bus shelter set against a backdrop of life-size photo murals depicting various transportation modes, including light rail. Various pavement and sidewalk treatments are incorporated into the assessment center giving a realistic environment for navigating local communities.
In this process, riders that are seeking ADA certification will utilize a customer focused in-person process. The intent is to improve how evaluations occur for ADA service and better match passengers with transit needs. It is anticipated that there will be 400 to 500 ADA eligibility determinations processed each month. Operations of the facility is funded by Proposition 400, the regional, half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2004 that helps build and provide transportation projects in Maricopa County.