Last month students from the Braille Institute’s Los Angeles Center spent the morning with Metro for a special event called “Getting Around Town with Metro” as part of Braille’s Solutions in Sight public education campaign.
A group of thirty visually impaired students had the chance to ride the Metro Red Line from the Vermont/Santa Monica station (just blocks away from the Braille Institute’s Los Angeles Center) to Union Station to meet at Metro headquarters for a safety presentation with Metro ADA Compliance Administrator Chip Hazen.
Hazen’s presentation focused on the safety features for people with vision impairments on Metro Rail and tips on how to effectively use these features to travel safely.
A few of the many safety features for visually impaired people on Metro Rail include:
- Braille and tactile Station ID signage
- Truncated domes tell visually impaired people where the tracks are
- Bollards that act as barriers between train cars
- One-button emergency call boxes (Braille/tactile)
- Ticket vending machines that are tactile and audible
- Stations with fare gates all have at least one accessible gate that is 36″ wide to accommodate wheelchairs
Hazen responded to students’ questions and concerns about certain challenges faced when riding Metro with a visual impairment. One student complained of rarely being able to find a seat on buses and trains, noting that often times even the seats marked for disabled passengers are occupied. Hazen told the students that Metro is aware of the issue and is currently working to change disabled-priority seating to disabled-only seating. Metro is also working on a public education video that reminds passengers to give up their seats to disabled passengers. The video will air on Transit TV on Metro buses.
Another student asked about stop announcements on Metro buses. Hazen noted that while Metro has not reached its goal of calling stops 100% of the time, they are called out about 85% of the time – far above the average 15% for the rest of the nation’s transit systems.
After the presentation students were split into groups and taken on a tour of the Metro Rail safety features that were discussed. Students were then given the opportunity to try out many of the tips they had learned – including navigating stations and buying tickets from vending machines.
Upon completing the tour, Braille students boarded the Red Line equipped with new found knowledge of the safety features provided for visually impaired riders and Metro’s continued dedication to accessibility for all riders.
For more information on riding Metro with a disability, read Metro’s Accessibility FAQ on Metro.net
The following video was produced by the Braille Institute: