I have to say I am shocked by the MBTA’s plan for accomodating people needing elevator use including persons with disabilities at the Tuft’s Medical Center Orange line stop. According to posted signs, there will be no elevator acccess at the medical center stop from now till May 2018 (half a year). The accommodation is to bus from Back Bay station. I took this route at noon time today and it took 25 extra minutes. This adds at least an hour to a persons doctor visit just to get from the subway level to the street level round trip. I find this accommodation total inadquate and a violation of federally protected civil rights. I have witnessed and have pictures and video of people using walkers, canes, and limping down stairs to get to the platform and street. Included, is one instance of an elderly couple hobbling down the long stairs and being met with a construction workers electrical line strung at the bottom of the stairs, a clear tripping hazard. Directional sings are wholely inadequate. This is an injury and ADA lawsuit waiting to happen. Please look into this issue. There are several things that can be done to improve this poorly executed accommodation.
We forwarded this question to the MBTA and received the following response.
Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. This morning, I held a conference call with the team responsible for this effort. We agreed that we need to improve on our communications for those necessitating access to the elevators at Tufts New England Medical Center. Safety is one of our top priorities and we certainly do not want customers jeopardizing their safety and trying to navigate the stairs with a disability. A bus shuttle is in place during this necessary improvements project and we hope our customers will utilize this shuttle. We will make sure our Customer Service Agents (CSA) are available to assist customers using the shuttle between Back Bay and Tufts.
The MBTA is going to deploy a Customer Service Agent (CSA) on the platforms of the Tufts Station to assist customers that are unaware of the project and get off the Orange Line at Tufts. In addition, there will be posters displayed in every orange line train as we did for the Comm Ave bridge project (we found this effort very informative). Also, we have instructed our Operators to make announcements along the line more frequently (instructing passengers to utilize BB for the shuttle service). I am forwarding the Advisory Notice to Tufts New England Medical Center and ask that they inform customers making appointments that the elevator project is underway.
We apologize for the inconvenience during this very necessary elevator project. Thank you.
Keep us posted on how this goes!