Updated: 05/14/2014 5:19 AM
Created: 05/13/2014 6:13 PM KSTP.com
By: Jay Kolls
Metro Transit is modifying new light rail transit (LRT) cars, primarily for the Central Corridor Line, to make improvements for disabled passengers.
The Minnesota State Council on Disability was not happy with 59 new LRT cars when they did not have similar features for disabled passengers as the Hiawatha Line. The new LRT cars did meet federal guidelines, but the Council on Disability wanted to see the LRT cars have companion seats and did not like the cumbersome, flip-down seats.
The Council on Disability lobbied Metro Transit to make the modifications on the new LRT cars and transit officials agreed.
The modifications cost for all of the new LRT cars is $300,000, but Metro Transit says the cost will not put the $213 million purchase price over its total budget.
Transit officials say they can use money from their spare parts budget to cover the modification cost and then use the chairs they remove down the road when older chairs need replacement on the Central Corridor Line.
The Council on Disability is pleased with the modifications and appreciates the effort Metro Transit made to help make LRT cars more accessible for disabled passengers.