MTA Sued Over Platform Gaps

Riders with disabilities say that vertical and horizontal gaps of as much as 7 inches between trains and platforms prevent many riders from safely entering and exiting trains.

1 minute read

October 31, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A lawsuit filed by three disabled New York City transit riders calls on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to close the gaps between platforms and trains that prevent many people using wheelchairs from safely accessing trains.

As Alissa Walker writes in Curbed, “The complaint argues that the MTA and the New York Transit Authority ‘have not formulated any kind of plan to address the gaps that prevent people with mobility and visual disabilities from using the subway,’ despite spending more than $100 billion on capital improvements to the system since 1982.”

While the agency has committed to installing elevators at more of its stations thanks to other recent lawsuits, repairing the vertical and horizontal gaps on platforms would make train travel safer for not just wheelchair users, but also people with visual impairments.

According to Walker, “Many transit agencies have what’s called universal-level boarding, where all train floors are completely flush with all platforms.” But “In New York, due to variables in rolling stock and station design, the MTA would have to standardize all its train platforms and train cars line by line in order to achieve this.”

The plaintiffs in the suit against MTA say that stair-free access isn’t enough to ensure universal accessibility. Other agencies are implementing temporary or permanent solutions such as retractable bridge plates, portable ramps, and universal platform doors.

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