The Service Network
its trip planning services with a focus on making CAT more accessible to priority populations. New technologies and transportation services will open opportunities to improve accessibility of all services, provide paratransit trips that are more convenient, have lower operating costs, and could complement or reduce demand for some existing paratransit services. Metro could pilot on-demand paratransit trips. Metro’s use of wheelchair-accessible vehicles in its Via to Transit pilot program is an example of how Metro will improve accessibility of all of Metro’s services and bring people of all abilities to the fixed-route system. The Via to Transit pilot also provided a call center for people without smartphones, interpreter services for riders with limited English proficiency, and pick up options where riders with disabilities made their request (rather than needing to meet their vehicle a few blocks away) to address other barriers to accessing mobility.
What will it take?
Use inclusive planning to make the entire transit network more accessible. Continue improving how Metro involves people with disabilities in planning, to ensure Metro understands their challenges in using transit. Partnering with local jurisdictions to ensure sidewalks and pedestrian infrastructure are accessible. Implementing changes such as capital improvements to make buses more accessible and training for operators and riders can make all services more accessible.
Pilot and start new service models to reduce costs and improve service quality. Potential approaches include same-day Access Transportation service and public-private partnerships to expand accessible taxis or transportation network companies. Pilots should include evidence-building plans for how these services will be evaluated for impact.
Make customer information and support available to customers who have limited English proficiency or disabilities. Strategies might include enhanced availability of interpretation services and translated materials, audible announcements on vehicles and at facilities, tactile wayfinding options, and use of universal and intuitive symbols.
Partner to provide service. Continue to partner with community organizations to provide cost-effective transportation for people with disabilities. This could include expanding the CAT program, which is less expensive to operate than Access service or piloting partnerships with community-based organizations to provide ‘cultural navigators’ to help customers with limited English proficiency navigate the Access paratransit eligibility process.
King County Metro Long Range Plan