By Karen Morfitt
DENVER (CBS4) – RTD is starting to reconfigure the space on all of its light rail trains in an effort to better accommodate people with disabilities.
Lyle Templer is confined to a wheelchair and uses the light rail every day to get to and from work.
“There’s just not enough space for the disabled passengers to get their wheelchairs in the spaces safely,” Templer said.
In 2014, those issues and claims that RTD was violating requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act prompted Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition to file a lawsuit.
In August, RTD reached a settlement with the coalition that calls for changes across the board.
Laurie Huff, a spokesperson for RTD, says they have agreed to have the work finished on 172 new and existing cars by 2022.
“We’re going to be removing 16 seats per train which will be eight on each end,” Huff said.
The redesigned seating provides more boarding spaces for people using wheelchairs, scooters and walkers.
Templer is happy with the changes but says they cannot come soon enough.
“It needs to be addressed and sooner than later,” he said.
RTD officials say when not in use by someone using an assistive device, the additional space can be used as standing room.
However, they want to make it clear that the additional space created by the removal of seats is not meant for bicycles, strollers, luggage or other large items that are brought aboard.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.