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Accessibility Barriers Continue to Plague Some Metro Systems

Most metro systems in the United States tend to score high on accessibility, while European systems have mixed results.
September 28, 2017, 5am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Simon Smiler

Of 270 London Tube stations, only 50 provide full accessibility to people using wheelchairs without assistance. Reporting in The Guardian, Nick Van Mead, Harvey Symons, and Aghnia Adzkia write that older systems, including the London and Paris metros, have some of the worst accessibility ratings of the systems looked at. In Paris, only nine out of the system's 303 stations were identified as fully accessible (15 stations provide elevator access, but six of those require ramps and assistance). The New York subway system also falls well short of being accessible; however other systems across the United States, including Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, are 100 percent accessible. The article notes that the Los Angeles Metro system started operation in 1990, the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.

Despite being the third busiest subway system in the US after New York and Chicago, and with large sections built in the 1970s and 80s, DC’s metro is widely lauded as one of the most accessible in the world.

All 91 stations – including the brutalist masterpieces of Harry Weese – and all trains are accessible, according to operator WMATA (the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority).

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Published on Thursday, September 21, 2017 in The Guardian
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