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Mobility Devices and Mobility Aids

Metro provides accessible transit services and facilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state, and local regulations.  Metro is committed to serving individuals with disabilities; including those who use mobility devices and aids.

What is a wheelchair or mobility device?

Wheelchairs and other mobility devices or aids are designed specifically for assisting individuals with disabilities in their personal mobility. A wheelchair is the most common mobility device used by individuals with disabilities. The ADA defines a wheelchair as, “a mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered.”

Any wheelchair which can safely fit on the bus ramp, enter the bus, and be positioned in the wheelchair securement area without blocking the aisles or doorway, regardless of size or weight, will be transported.

By definition, scooters are also considered wheelchairs. Metro encourages individuals using scooters to transfer to a seat; as scooters have a high center of gravity and can be prone to tipping under normal operating conditions.

Metro buses and trains accommodate a variety of mobility devices, including the following:

  • Manual wheelchairs
  • Manual sport wheelchairs
  • 4-Wheel power wheelchairs
  • 6-Wheel power wheelchairs
  • 3-Wheel power scooters
  • 4-Wheel power scooters
  • Pediatric wheelchairs
  • Pediatric wheelchair strollers

Most wheelchair types can be secured on Metro buses using the wheelchair securement devices. For the safety of both the customer using the wheelchair and other customers, Metro Bus Operators are trained to secure wheelchairs.  Securement is not necessary or available on rail cars.

Metro buses and trains also accommodate a variety of other mobility aids, including the following:

  • Walkers (folding and non-folding)
  • Rolling walkers (“Rollators”)
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Leg braces
  • Segways

Please remember that individuals using walkers may not sit in their walker-equipped seat while on Metro buses or rail cars.  Bus Operators will provide assistance in finding a seat if asked.

When might a Customer Using a Wheelchair be Unable to Board a Metro Bus?

Overloaded bus - An individual with a disability using a wheelchair may be prevented from boarding if the bus is overloaded with standing customers and when wheelchair securement areas are occupied.  Please remember the law provides that Metro operators may only request, not require, that customers vacate that wheelchair securement area.

Too many bags - When a wheelchair / mobility device or mobility aid has bags or other items attached, Metro Bus Operators may decline to board them if the attached items prevent safe boarding, when items take up extra seats or block the aisle or a doorway, or if they interfere with the travel and safety of other customers.

Device not being used as intended - Mobility devices and mobility aids are designed specifically to assist people in their mobility.  When they are not being used according to its design and purpose, such as using a wheelchair to transport only belongings, then Metro Operators may decline boarding.

Weight - The ADA allows transit operators the ability to prevent a customer using a wheelchair from boarding if the combined weight of the individual and the wheelchair exceeds the ramp design load specifications of a vehicle.  In such cases, customers are allowed and encouraged to board separately from their wheelchair.

Size – The size of a wheelchair could be a determining factor in whether an individual with a disability using a wheelchair is able to board and/or ride Metro buses.  One such factor is if a wheelchair is too large to enter through the bus doors.  Another factor is if the wheelchair, once in the wheelchair securement area, creates a safety hazard by blocking the aisle.  The ADA requires that wheelchair securement areas be no less than 30 inches X 48 inches.  Devices that exceed these measurements and/or block the aisle, with or without bags, may be prevented from using Metro bus services for certain trips.  Metro’s bus fleet is made up of different types of buses; some of which have wheelchair securement areas larger than the ADA minimum.

Assistance for Individuals using a Wheelchair / Mobility Device on a Metro Bus

Customers using mobility devices such as wheelchairs or scooters are to be boarded first and allowed to exit first on Metro buses.  Metro recommends that individuals using wheelchairs accept the Bus Operator’s offer to be secured and wear vehicle–mounted lap and shoulder belts. However, lap and shoulder belts must not be used if the wheelchair itself is not secured. If you do not wish to be secured, our newer buses are equipped with rear-facing positions that do not require attaching any tie-down hooks to your wheelchair.  Simply back up against the safety barrier, attach the anti-tip belt and set your wheel locks (if equipped) or turn off the power.

For your convenience, Metro Bus Operators will:

  • Attempt to allow customers using mobility devices to board and exit the bus first
  • Provide assistance in boarding the bus
  • Attempt to clear the wheelchair securement space when occupied
  • Prepare the securement area for your use
  • Request that your wheel locks be set or power turned off (if equipped)
  • Quickly and safely secure your mobility device
  • Should securement be chosen, offer the lap and shoulder belt for increased safety
  • Quickly release securement equipment and assist you in exiting the bus.

Placement of Walkers and Other Mobility Aids

Mobility aids (i.e. walkers, etc. ) which can be folded must be folded and kept secure with the customer without blocking the aisle or doorways, or depriving another customer of a seat.  On Metro’s newer buses, mobility aids can be accommodated in a special area with a single, side facing, flip-up seat, near the front of the bus.  Walkers which cannot be folded may be secured in any available wheelchair securement area on buses, and the customer may sit nearby, as seating allows. Customers who cannot find a seat may ask the Operator for assistance.

What is not a Wheelchair,  Mobility Device or Aid?

The best example of devices that are not considered a wheelchair or mobility device, and may be preventing from boarding Metro vehicles, are shopping carts, non-folding strollers and wheeled-baskets, bicycles, and other devices not specifically designed to assist an individual with a disability with their mobility.

Carts, strollers, luggage and any other large item brought on board a Metro bus or train must not block the aisle or doorways, or deprive another customer of a seat or a wheelchair customer from use of the  securement area.  Folding carts must be folded and kept under control by the customer while on board the bus or train.

Metro recognizes that walkers and rolling walkers, canes, crutches and similar items are designed for, and used as, mobility aids. Based on the definition of mobility equipment, carts are not intended to be used as mobility aids or devices.  While some people do use commercial carts for this purpose, Metro does not support carts for such use on buses or trains.

Metro is aware of the special construction and sturdiness of mobility devices and aids, including weight tolerances, pushing and gripping facility, resistance to slipping and rolling, walking clearances, and many other safety and support features that go into their design and manufacture.  Often, the devices are prescribed by medical professionals.  These considerations make them safe and reliable for those who rely on them as mobility aids.

Free Securement Marking  or Straps for Wheelchairs and Scooters!

Metro offers expert marking or securement strap placement for your mobility device...and it’s FREE.

Securement markings and/or straps can help you experience faster securement and a safer ride on Metro buses.  All Metro buses are outfitted with seating areas to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices.  On all buses and most rail cars, seats must be flipped up to access the spaces reserved for wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Securement straps enable quicker equipment attachment and release.  And bright yellow tape marks ideal locations for tie-down hooks and enables faster securement, where separate straps are not needed.

For FREE securement straps or marking installation, please call 213.922.8800.

Please note:  Metro encourages individuals with disabilities who will be acquiring a new or replacement wheelchair to choose, if possible or available, a WC19 compliant wheelchair.  WC19 compliant wheelchairs provide a safe and visible location for Metro Bus Operators to attach wheelchair securement tie-downs.