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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

February 12, 2003

Mr. Bob Carroll
King County Metro Transit
Accessible Services
Exchange Building
M.S. EXC-TR-1340
821 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Dear Mr. Carroll:

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) would like to thank you for attending our December 11th meeting and updating us on King County Metro Bus Service's policies and procedures regarding hydraulic lifts for wheelchair passengers. We were only sorry to have had such a short amount of time to hear the valuable information you brought forth.

The common policy with Metro buses is that persons using wheelchairs are the last to board as well as exit. It has been brought to the board's attention that on occasion, when buses have been full, wheelchair passengers have been forced to wait for the next bus. This can mean a wait up to an hour, depending on the day of the week. It is our suggestion that when a stop contains a large number of passengers, including one in a wheelchair, the driver should allow the wheelchair to board first, allowing enough space for that entry. We are not asking that these passengers board first at all times; only if it appears they may be left behind or may have difficulty boarding due to crowded conditions.

The following are recommendations our board proposes for significant improvements for Metro passengers using wheelchairs:

  • Wheelchair passengers be allowed to board first if it appears the bus will be too crowded for them to board after pedestrians
  • All new Metro buses contain a low-floor kneeling ramp, replacing the lift mechanism
  • Wheelchair information be included more frequently in Metro's weekly operations bulletin
  • Metro drivers attempt to make eye contact with disabled passengers in chairs to verify whether or not they wish to board his/her bus
  • Wheelchair passengers never be forced to wait for the next bus if there is space in the disabled section

As you brought to our attention, only .2% of Metro's customers are wheelchair lift users. However, with the excellent service King County Metro Bus Service provides for our city, we are certain you would insist these passengers, at all times, receive the same. Thank you again for your support and cooperation.


Suzanne Anderson
Vice Chair, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Rob Ketcherside
Chair, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Rick Walsh, Director of Metro King County Transit
Pat Cleary, King County Transit Advisory Committee
Tom Randall, Supervisor of Customer Services, King County Metro Transit
Jeff Bender, Seattle Department of Transportation