Transportation Around Town
Pumps. The Department of Justice ruled that gas stations
with self-service gas pumps must provide equal access to customers
with disabilities. Upon request, an attendant must provide
refueling assistance and the disabled customer must still
get the self-service rate. Gas station management must display
signage to let disabled patrons know they may request
assistance either by honking or signaling a gas station employee.
A gas station or convenience store that sells gas is not required
to provide such service at any time it is operating on a remote
control basis with a single employee, but is encouraged to
do so, when possible.
Programs offer freedom to many people who thought their
driving days were over. Adapted equipment of all kinds (not
just hand-controls) compensate for many types of deficits,
from siren detectors for hearing loss, to quad key-holders,
to steering knobs and grips. Besides all the new modifications
that can be made to cars, rehabilitation specialists who facilitate
driver's rehabilitation programs, re-train drivers
to give them a better sense of timing, to estimate distance
accurately, to steer accurately, and replace whatever skills
are needed for safety and efficiency. Drivers are trained
in specially modified cars and vans and adaptations accommodate
most physical impairments, even telescopes for reading street
signs. Driving rehabilitation specialists will not put a driver
on the road until he or she can demonstrate complete competence.
For more details, see Infinitec's section on Adaptive
Under title III of the ADA, businesses that operate shuttle
systems on a "fixed route," (including hotel shuttle
services) are required to ensure that any newly acquired or
leased vehicle large enough to carry more than sixteen persons
are made accessible to passengers with disabilities. Avis,
the nation's second largest rental car company, provides accessible
airport shuttle buses at all of its airport locations across
the country, under a settlement agreement reached with the
U.S. Department of Justice, following an ADA, Title III violation.
A directory of accessible van rentals is available from Twin
Peaks Press, P.O. Box 129, Vancouver, WA 98666-0129; 1(360)
|Public Transportation in Chicago
The Taxi Access Program gives "ADA Paratransit
Certified" customers equal access to public transportation.
In other words, customers with disabilities can use
a wheelchair-accessible cab for the same price non-disabled
customers pay for CTA busses and trains. But you must
be an ADA Paratransit certified customer in order to
be eligible for the Taxi Access Program. To begin the
certification process, call the RTA at 1(312) 663-4357
voice or 1(312) 913-3122 TTY.
For information about the Taxi Access
program, call 1(312) 917-4357 voice or 1(312) 917-1338
TTY. Taxi vouchers cost $1.90 each and are worth
$13.00 towards the fare, so you pay anything over $13.00,
plus the driver's tip. Vouchers expire within 6 months.
When calling for a cab, you must let the dispatcher
know you're paying with a voucher.
Accessible Taxi Service
If possible, call Centralized Dispatch at least 24 hours
in advance, to request a lift-equipped taxicab: 1(800)
281-4466. Each accessible taxicab comes equipped with
a ramp or lift, shoulder belts, seatbelts, and wheelchair
Authority (CTA) Buses. CTA buses throughout Chicago
are about 95% lift-equipped, including routes to all
major museums and points of interest. (Certain bus models
are easier to use than others.) Always call ahead to
plan your trip: 1(888) 968-7282 or 1(888) YOUR-CTA,
or use the Internet: http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com.
This Web site covers travel information for the CTA,
Pace, and Metra trains.
Both airports in Chicago have direct CTA train
service into downtown from their own stations. Catch
the Blue Line train inside O'Hare Airport
to downtown, or the Orange Line train from Midway
Airport to downtown. Both public buses and private
motor coach companies (some provided by downtown hotels)
travel into and around the Chicago area. To plan a trip
from the airport, call your hotel concierge, or 1(888)
968-7282 or 1(888) YOUR-CTA, or use the Internet: http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com.
Ground transportation options from O'Hare Airport.
Ground transportation options from Midway Airport.
Airport Express (CAE)
A shuttle is probably the most practical option after
accessible taxicabs. CAE shuttles leave O'Hare and Midway
Airports several times an hour. To make a reservation,
call 1-800-654-7871; Continental requires a 48-hour
advance notice for a lift-equipped vehicle.
A very useful option is to contact the hotel where you'll
be staying and ask if they provide lift-equipped shuttle
service for guests to/from the airport—many Chicago
hotels do and there are many hotels located in the loop
and north loop.
Trains in Chicago. This is easy and very do-able
so don't worry! CTA riders with a wheelchair or a scooter
can board an elevated train with a gap-fillera
portable ramp that is locked into place by a customer
assistant (C.A). It's very simple: Go to any "el"
station that has an elevator . (both airports have wheelchair
accessible train stations) and request a gap-filler.
Your C.A. will ask you where you're headed and will
insert the gap-filler into the train's doors before
it departs, so you can board. Ask for the head car so
you can communicate with the conductor, if necessary.
The CA. will radio ahead to the C.A.
at the other end who will also meet your train with
a gap-filler, so you can deboard. The C.A. can tell
you whether or not the elevator is working at the other
station, or whether you must choose another station
to deboard at. Should the C.A. at the other end fail
to meet your train, just press the call button
to notify the conductor that he or she needs
to get the gap-filler. That's not usually necessary
since the conductor is usually watching to make sure
the C.A. shows up and you have time to deboard before
the train leaves the station.
Another useful resource available
to riders is CTA phones at all elevated platforms.
Just dial *1 to be connected to the CTA travel information
line: (1(888) 9627282). (Elevator status is updated
three times daily.)
Bus Access Laws:
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issues
specific regulations for wheelchair accessibility on over-the
road, fixed-route, and charter buses. See the DOT Web site:
Since October 2001, all newly acquired or
leased over-the-road buses large enough to carry more
than sixteen persons, such as national bus lines, private
motor coach bus companies, and other charter companies, must
provide a lift-equipped vehicle within 48 hours of a traveler's
request. At all rest stops, bus companies must
also provide time and assistance for passengers to leave the
bus, use the facilities and re-enter the bus. If the bus company
owns, leases, controls, or contracts with a rest stop facility,
it must ensure that the rest stop meets ADA accessibility
Fixed-Route Buses, such as buses
used in public transportation systems, must provide lift-equipped
vehicles to most of their fleet for on-demand requests by
travelers in their own wheelchairs
Accessible Bus Service, a fact sheet from the U.S.
Department of Justice
Serving Bus Customers with Disabilities from Easter Seals
Greyhound Lines: Contact the Greyhound
Customers with Disabilities Travel Assistance Line at 800-752-4841
at least 48 hours prior to your departure. For information
about routes, fares, or other travel information, visit http://www.greyhound.com.
Access Amtrak: Amtrak offers a 15
percent discount on tickets, as well as special reservation
policies and publications for people with disabilities. The
discount extends to the disabled traveler's companions, and
there is a 30 percent discount on accessible bedrooms. Access
Amtrak, a 24-page booklet, outlines policies and programs,
such as assistance with oxygen transport, handling service
animals, and any other accommodation necessary to make travel
by rail easy. A comprehensive list of station accessibility
is available by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. For travel information,
also visit: http://www.amtrak.com.
Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible
Community Transportation In Our Nation)
Project ACTION works with transit, disability and consumer
organizations and federal agencies to improve transit accessibility.
The site includes a database of accessible transit services
throughout the United States. It also provides materials to
train transit personnel to work with customers with disabilities.
U.S. Department Of Transportation
The DOT's online resources on accessible transportation, and
contacts for inquiries or complaints.