In October 2023 Katy and Eric joined GoodMaps in Seattle for Round 2 of User Testing for the new app being developed for Sound Transit’s light rail system. The GoodMaps app will provide indoor and outdoor navigation to users along with real-time transit schedule and maintenance updates. Between Rounds 1 and 2, over 30 people have tested the app including users with vision loss, hearing loss, neurodiversity, and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. The pilot launch for the GoodMaps app is scheduled for the end of this year for use at the International District/Chinatown Station and the Westlake Station in Seattle.
Anyone flying through Portland International Airport can try out their newly updated GoodMaps Explore app which now covers the entire PDX Terminal and is available for free on iOS and Android devices.
ADA Customer Service Training
Open Doors Organization, provides ADA customer service training for Amtrak employees. We travel nationwide to hold these trainings, with the hope that we are able to educated Amtrak employees on policies and procedures in regards to their passengers with disabilities, as well as giving the employees the confidence and knowledge to provide the highest quality of customer service no matter the passengers needs.
Metrolink, the commuter rail system serving Los Angeles and neighboring counties, is actually operated by Amtrak. As a result, 75 Metrolink conductors will be taking part in our nationwide “Training for Access” classes for Amtrak. While all stations except LA’s Union Station are unmanned, the Metrolink trains are quite accessible with 4 wheelchair spaces per car and an accessible restroom. Boarding to the first “cab car” is via a mini-high platform and bridge plate. If additional capacity is needed, the Metrolink conductor respots the train and deploys the ramp to a second car. Metrolink also has two cars without seats that can accommodate large groups of passengers in wheelchairs. Travelers with disabilities receive a 50% discount and a Personal Care Attendant rides for free. Seniors 65 and older also receive a 50% discount (Shown above: Metrolink conductors demonstrating the bridge plate during a class break at San Bernadino).
New Amtrak Trainsets
On December 9, 2021, in a meeting with the its Disability Community Advisory Group, the Amtrak Accessibility Office revealed design changes that will improve Amfleet trainsets for passengers with reduced mobility. The new trains will feature built-in mobility lifts, and five of the train’s wheelchair positions will have direct access to the fully accessible cafe car. A number of cars in standard and business class will have two co-located wheelchair positions. Gangways between cars will also be accessible, and train vestibules and accessible restrooms will all have a 60″ turning circle. Other major changes include hand holds on each seat and an induction hearing loop system. In 2022 the Disability Community will be invited to visit and provide further feedback on mockups of the new, improved facilities. For additional information, email David Nelson, Manager, Passenger Accessibility.