On the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) on July 26, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) commemorates the critical role public transportation plays in providing independence and opportunity for people with disabilities. The public transportation industry has improved and expanded accessibility of public transit services and facilities for persons with disabilities.
Since 1994, improvements that have made communities more accessible across the board include:
• The percentage of buses that are accessible increased from 51 percent to 99.8 percent;
• Heavy rail/subway vehicle accessibility increased from 83 percent to 100 percent;
• Light rail and streetcar fleet accessibility increased from 41 percent to 88 percent; and
• Commuter rail and hybrid rail fleet accessibility went from 32 percent to 87 percent.
“On this 25th anniversary of ADA, let us not forget that our transportation system is a lifeline for millions of Americans, and especially those individuals with disabilities,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Public transportation provides freedom, independence and access for millions of Americans. As a result, Americans with disabilities can travel to work, school, the doctor, the store, or go out to dinner.”
“The industry has made great strides in improving and expanding accessibility over the last 25 years, but there is much more to do. Future progress is dependent on Congressional action to fund a surface transportation bill. This funding uncertainty impacts the ability of our country to continue to expand and improve services for people with disabilities,” Melaniphy stated.
Congress must act by July 31, 2015 to continue transportation funding. APTA is calling on Congress to find a dedicated funding solution and to pass a long-term sustainable bill that increases funding for transportation including public transportation. Failure to provide long-term investment will have a negative impact on our economy, jeopardize critical public transit projects, and limit options for people with disabilities.
# # #
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.