With the opening of SEPTA’s Accessible Travel Center, the first multi-model training center of its kind, the freedom of traveling independently on public transportation became possible for more people with disabilities. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region III Deputy Administrator, Reginald Lovelace and officers of SEPTA’s Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation (SAC) were in attendance for the official ribbon cutting ceremony of the new center.
“Creation of the Accessible Travel Center demonstrates SEPTA’s commitment to accessibility,” SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said. “The disabled community asked for this facility, we listened and we responded. Suburban Station is an ideal location for the center as it is served by multiple accessible transportation modes and is reachable by both city and suburban residents.”
Funded in part by a $140,000 FTA New Freedom Grant, SEPTA’s Accessible Travel Center is located in the concourse of Suburban Station (adjacent to Au Bon Pain) in Center City.
The center features a mock-up of the front one-third of a ramp-equipped SEPTA bus complete with fare box, wheelchair berths and stop announcements. Replicated subway and regional rail platforms provide SEPTA’s disabled passengers, their aides and companion animals the opportunity to practice safe boarding procedures. Realistic graphics make it appear as though the center’s users are riding a bus or waiting on a station platform. Disabled riders can also utilize audiovisual teaching materials in the center’s classroom to familiarize themselves with SEPTA vehicles and services.
“There is no part of our society more dependent on public transportation than people with disabilities,” Rod Powell, chair of SEPTA’s Advisory Committee for Accessible Transportation said. “The ability to use public transit opens the door to opportunities for employment, increased independence and mobility, more access to community activities and additional independent living skills for the disabled community.”
The Authority is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of its paratransit service, CCT Connect. During this 30 years, SEPTA has invested several billion dollars to make its vehicles, facilities and services usable by and accessible to its riders. With the exception of trolleys, all SEPTA modes of transportation are now accessible and SEPTA has nearly 100 accessible stations. SEPTA’s elevator maintenance and repair program, a critical issue for wheelchair users and others with limited mobility, has established a national standard for excellence.
SEPTA’s Accessible Travel Center is available for use by professional travel trainers, orientation and mobility instructors and service animal trainers throughout the authority’s service area. To schedule an appointment, complete the online form at www.septa.org or contact a CCT Customer Service representative at 215-580-7145.