On Wednesday, October 2, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) will be in Seattle to take public comments related to the design and slope of bus ramps and the space needed at the top of ramps for individuals using wheeled mobility devices.

The picture to the right is of tests Metro undertook in 1978, taking the lead in designing lifts and ordering the first accessible buses that year. A lot has changed and the transit industry is now moving away from lifts entirely and using ramps on low floor buses. Ramps have many advantages and some disadvantages. The Access Board is looking at ways to address those disadvantages with the meeting here in Seattle.

What is your experience using Metro’s ramps?

Most of Metro’s ramps have a slope of 1:4 while our new Orion coaches, ordered in 2010, have ramps with a less steep 1:6 slope. The forty foot long Orions are used on routes 16, 22, 50, 60 107, 140, 164, 166, 168, 169, 180 among many other routes. What has your experience been using the ramps on Metro’s Buses? Have you tried the 1:6 ramps on the Orions? Let us know what your experience has been like in the comments or feel free to email Metro Accessible Services at AccessibleServices@kingcounty.gov.

Please visit the Access Board webpage on the proposed rules to get more information about attending the meeting and to submit a comment. If you are unable to make the meeting, the Access Board will be taking public comments until October 31, 2012.