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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Here's a Chance for Riders With Disabilities to View the New BART Cars

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Last week, we reported some exciting news: BART is getting a whole new fleet of cars that will look, feel, and hopefully, smell nicer. The transit agency sent out a formal invite to all riders, asking them to come check out their new ride.

Now, the DOnetwork is organizing chance for BART riders with disabilities to also view the train cars so they too can provide feedback about how the new fleet does and does not work for them.

So far, here's what we can tell you about the new BART cars:

  • Micro-plug doors will help seal out noise, which means it won't sound like a roller coaster derailing as you ride through the Transbay Tube

  • Cooling systems will distribute air directly to the ceilings, making it more comfortable for standees on hot days.

  • Padded seats will have lumbar support and will be covered with wipeable fabric, making it easy to clean. In short: that fecal matter won't soak in.

  • And finally, there will be color-coded routes like the BART system map, including "next stop" information that will be available via automated announcements and digital screens. That should help lost tourists and maybe even drunk Bay Area riders.

But how will these new cars be better for riders with disabilities? On April 29, BART will hold a special event for passengers with disabilities at the North Berkeley BART station parking lot on the East side of the station, near the street elevator.

"This is our opportunity to advocate to maintain and increase accessibility for people with disabilities on one of the nation's largest public transportation systems," DOnetwork said in a statement. "The decisions being made now on these new cars will affect the next generation of travelers with disabilities. Don't miss this opportunity to ensure equality!"

There are two ways to participate in the special event at North Berkeley:

1. sign up for a one-on-one interview with BART staff (time slots available between noon and 2 p.m. when the train car model will be closed to the general public).

2. Just drop-in between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to tour the fleet with the general public. There will be staff assigned to assist people with disabilities. No advance sign up required.

If you plan to do a one-on-one session with BART staff, you have to sign up in advance. A scheduled interview means you'll get tour the BART train with a staff member who will also ask you to get on and off the model and provide feedback on accessibility.

After your tour, you'll take a quick survey and hopefully, you'll stick around for a group discussion about the new cars. And yes, refreshments will be there.

There are a total of 18 interview slots available. If you want to sign up, email or call 1-877-879-2278 and leave a message.

Members from DOnetwork can also register for this event here.

If you are unable to attend the special event for people with disabilities described above, here are some other locations and times when the train car model will be available.

All events will have a wheelchair lift (weight limit 750 pounds), except North Berkeley, which will have a ramp. If you need language or ASL assistance services, please call (510) 464-6752 at least 72 hours prior to the date of the event. Braille materials will also be available.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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