People With Disabilities Value Light Rail To Navigate Metro Phoenix

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 3:40pm
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 9:22am

empty seats
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Each Valley Metro light rail vehicle can seat 66 passengers.

Phoenix voters said "yes" Tuesday to expanding the light rail system. Thousands of people ride the light rail each day, according to Valley Metro, including people with disabilities.

Loren Worthington is with Ability 360. He said light rail is often the best option for people with disabilities because, while buses are sometimes good, "you don’t know exactly where that bus is going to stop, and you don’t know if it’s six inches from the curb or two feet or where do they line up, but the light rail is so consistent, you know exactly where it’s going to stop, you know exactly how the behavior of the train works," he said.

And Worthington said that’s a big deal for someone who is visually impaired or uses a wheelchair.

The principal of the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf also talked about light rail’s impact on her students. Courtney Fritz is the principal of the school, which is located on 19th Avenue, just south of Northern Avenue. She said for older students light rail is in some ways a classroom.

"So once they graduate, how are they going to get to or from where they need to go as an adult? So, part of their goals or their transition plan focuses on public transportation," she said.

Fritz said many of the students’ families rely on public transportation to attend meetings or school events.