During the official release of the Toward Universal Mobility report last week at the Union League Club, transit officials and disability right activists argued that Chicago area transit providers have a long way to go to make public transportation accessible for everyone. And they said they are determined to make sure that the report’s recommendations will actually become reality.
The study, which was put together by the Metropolitan Planning Council, highlighted several weaknesses in the way both local fixed-route bus networks and paratransit systems fall short. Riders face a patchwork of paratransit services, with rules and requirements that often vary between municipalities and/or providers. Many ‘L’ and Metra stations don’t have elevators, rendering them inaccessible to people with mobility issues, and many Pace and CTA bus stops have accessibly issues as well. Technology is lagging behind, and while ride-share companies have added new mobility options, the vehicles drivers use are unlikely to be ADA-compliant.