The respective boards for SamTrans, Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority unanimously passed proclamations this week recognizing the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The three transportation agencies, which are collectively managed by the San Mateo County Transit District, have made ADA-accessibility a top priority for the customers they serve.
In 1978, SamTrans established Redi-Wheels, a paratransit service designed exclusively to carry passengers with disabilities. In 1980, the agency retrofitted its fixed-route buses to become accessible for persons with disabilities and in 2006, SamTrans inaugurated its RediCoast service on the Coastside to ensure coordinated paratransit service throughout the county.
In 1995, Caltrain trains became accessible to all passengers, and since that time, the rail agency has continually improved its features to make the service a first choice of transportation for persons with disabilities. Caltrain has increased capacity on trains for people who use wheelchairs, installed boarding assistance areas at stations and engaged the disability community in the planning and oversight of accessible services through the Caltrain Accessibility Advisory Committee.
The TA administered the original $25 million Measure A Paratransit Trust Fund in 1988, and interest from that initiative continues to help fund paratransit services in San Mateo County. Funding administered by the TA is used to improve accessibility of streets, roads, highways, Caltrain stations, pedestrian and bike facilities and other infrastructure projects.
The ADA law was enacted on July 26, 1990, when President George Bush was in office. The law was passed to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities, and established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
By passing the proclamations this week, the boards for SamTrans, Caltrain and the TA recognized an opportunity to celebrate the ADA legislation that ensures people with disabilities the right to access, mobility and independence, and to raise awareness about the role the agencies play in making it possible for people with disabilities to go about their daily activities conveniently and confidently.
To become eligible for paratransit services in San Mateo County, a passenger must show that he or she is unable to independently board or disembark, identify correct vehicle or stop, maintain balance on the vehicle, understand directions needed to complete a trip, or perform any of the usual tasks associated with using the bus. These are requirements listed under the ADA federal legislation. For more information about how to apply for the service, local residents can visit here.
About SamTrans: SamTrans operates 75 routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed nearly five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
About the TA: Created to administer Measure A, San Mateo County’s half-cent sales tax, the Transportation Authority provides funding for transportation and infrastructure improvement projects. In 2004, more than 75 percent of San Mateo County residents voted to reauthorize Measure A for an additional 25 years.