Metro's ADA ridership growing rapidly

A rendering of how new wheelchair areas will be marked.

A rendering of how new wheelchair areas will be marked.

Thanks to past improvements such as the implementation of low-floor buses, Metro currently boards the most wheelchairs in the nation with over 80,000 per month. This is a huge jump from the 3,500 wheelchair boardings per month just ten years ago! With the Metro system covering more and more ground each year, Metro is taking the initiative to go above and beyond ADA requirements to make sure it stays one of the most accessible transit systems in the U.S.

Some recent changes include language and signage. Priority seats will now be identified as “reserved” for seniors, persons with disabilities or those using a wheelchair. These seats will be identified by improved pictogram decals and new seat fabric designs, making them easy to distinguish.

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Other changes include designating dedicated space for mobility devices. The new CNG New Flyer buses Metro has ordered will include a special area for those who use walkers; these buses will begin entering service early next year.

Metro is also working with suppliers to increase wheelchair positions on articulated buses. In addition, more choices for wheelchair patrons will be offered in terms of securement and positioning. New buses will come with two Q’PODs, a three-point securement system which makes securing front-facing wheelchairs easier. This will hopefully encourage more wheelchair patrons to choose securement when riding. Another new option is rear-facing wheelchair positions, which allows the patron to ride safely without securement.

As for trains, new areas will be reserved for wheelchairs, and they will be marked by blue floor decals and an International Symbol of Access (ISA) graphic. These spaces will be separate from the areas allotted for bicycles, luggage and strollers. New light rail cars will have space for four wheelchairs in each articulated car. That’s up to 12 locations per 3-car train!

A PDF of the full board report regarding accessibility improvements is available on

7 replies

  1. It is good that all of these accessibility changes are being made for seniors and disabled. But one improvement, that would not require any capital outlays, would be to give seniors and the disabled time to find and get to a seat before the bus or train gets under way.

    I recently boarded a Gold Line train with a blind friend, at Union Station I believe it was. The car was very crowded and before we could find a seat or a good handhold, the train lurched forward throwing him off balance and falling back onto me. Fortunately, neither one of us went down.

    The blind can’t move as quickly as us sighted folks and also have a poor sense of balance due to their vision loss. They have to be “shown” where to sit or where to hold on. This all takes time. So, if a the train or bus can be accelerated more smoothly, possible accidents like what could have happened here can more likely be avoided.

  2. Is there a test railcar making the rounds on the Red and Purple lines? Because I could swear I saw this “in the wild” somewhat recently.

    • Hi Alika,

      The last one was shown at the CicLAvia event in June…I haven’t heard about it being out and about more recently than that. Snap a picture if you happen to catch it!

      Anna Chen
      The Source, Writer