For those of us with disabilities, BART is often the best option we have to get around. And although the service isn’t perfect, the BART cars have generally been accessible to people with disabilities. However, with the new BART cars that have been designed and scheduled for release in a few years, that will not be the case.
The two biggest issues with the new design are the floor-to-ceiling poles by the entrance doors and the segregated area for users of scooters and wheelchairs.
“For more than a year,” says Fiona Hinz, Systems Change Coordinator for the Independant Living Resource Center of San Francisco, “we have been advocating for a redesign. Yet, BART has not been responsive.”
Fiona, who has joined forces with other agencies to spread the message, says that the federal government can revoke funding for BART’s new fleet if they do not make the cars accessible. She encourages everyone to write to the transportation agencies listed below to inform them of the poor design.
Here are some action items included in an email distributed by the Disability Organizing Network:
Attached is a sample letter that can be used as a template to send to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Federal Transit Administration Office on Civil Rights, and Department of Transportation. Please email your letters to the:
Please also email a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Belo Cipriani?
Belo Cipriani is the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the “Get to Work” columnist for SFGate.com, and the author of Blind: A Memoir. You are invited to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.