Joanne Daniels-Finegold, the lead plaintiff in the Daniels-Finegold case, and Nora Nagle, Co-Chair of the RTAG Executive Committee, joined Annie Arguello from the MBTA Better Bus Project to assess the accessibility of new bus route map designs.
February RTAG General Meeting
This is a forum where riders can provide input and feedback regarding accessible transportation. The group meet with the MBTA, Department of System-Wide Accessibility and The RIDE.
Date: Thursday, February 22nd, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing Zoom access information about joining the meeting.
RTAG meetings are accessible to people with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. American Sign Language (ASL) will be provided for this meeting. Other accessibility accommodations and language services will be provided free of charge, upon request, as available.
If you have any questions or to request a reasonable accommodation or language services, please contact Kat at email@example.com or by phone at 978-893-8100.
Upcoming MassDOT Virtual Design Public Hearing
Date: February 27th, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.
Register here: Webinar Registration - Zoom
MassDOT will be doing work in the area of Cambridge. This Project will include replacing the bridge superstructure which carries Alewife Brook Parkway, US Route 3, Route 16, and Route 2 over the MBTA Redline tunnel.
MassDOT invites members to attend the Design Public Hearing to learn more about the need for the Project, the work to be performed, the schedule, potential impacts to the public (including vehicular and pedestrian/bicyclists), and the next steps.
Uber/Lyft Service Animal Refusals
In November, RTAG, the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL), and the Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) hosted a public forum on rideshare refusals of service animal users.
Nearly 100 community members collectively requested that representatives from the MBTA, Uber, and Lyft enforce strict measures to prevent driver denials of service to individuals with service animals, including instituting monitoring and disciplinary actions. We also advocated for the sharing of driver deactivations between Uber and Lyft, transparent data on trip refusals, driver warnings, and disciplinary actions, and regular updates on the progress and outcomes of community-driven initiatives.
A couple of wins and updates:
- In response to our concerns and other advocates across the country, Lyft is establishing a national standing work group dedicated to addressing service animal refusals.
- In response to our concerns and other advocates across North America, Uber has developed a video as a step to improved training on transporting riders with service animals.
On February 5th, representatives from RTAG, Disability Law Center, BCIL, and BSCB met with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, which regulates transportation networking companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, to discuss possible solutions to these concerns, which could include mandating training for drivers.
RTAG is continuing the conversation with Uber and Lyft representatives and the DPU and will update members about upcoming meetings and advocacy efforts.
Snow Removal and Bike Lane Updates
In December, RTAG hosted a public forum on the concerns of snow removal, which stems from the main issue of the lack of coordination and communication between municipalities and the MBTA. Community members met with the MBTA, MassDOT, and municipality representatives to share their experience with snow and submit feedback.
On January 11th, plaintiffs from the Daniels-Finegold settlement and RTAG Executive Board members met with MassDOT representatives to ask for continued collaboration on snow removal for sidewalks and bus stops and clear guidelines that clarify responsibilities and penalties for snow removal at bus stops in all municipalities. The group also discussed bike lane infrastructure and asked MassDOT to work with the MBTA's System-Wide Accessibility to ensure that they include the perspective of pedestrians and riders with disabilities in updated design guidelines for bike lanes adjacent to bus stops. Many safety hazards have been documented.
RTAG is now in the process of collecting narratives and data on specific bus stops and subway/train stations to better understand the extent of the issue.
If you have encountered snow-related problems at a specific bus stop or subway/train station, even in previous seasons, or faced safety risk because of bikes, scooters, or motorbikes in bike lanes, we kindly request that you share this information with RTAG. Your input is invaluable in helping us compile a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced by riders within our transit system.
Orange Line Platform Gaps
RTAG has continued to be in touch with the MBTA regarding efforts to address platform gaps throughout the Orange Line. Within the past week, the MBTA received a draft report regarding findings from the comprehensive audit that was conducted in the late fall. SWA and other departments are currently reviewing the findings to determine the next steps and will be providing a full update at this month's general meeting.
Follow RTAG on Social Media!
RTAG is looking to expand outreach to different platforms. Follow RTAG on Instagram and Facebook @rtagboston
Who Are We?
The Riders' Transportation Access Group (RTAG) is a community-based group that advises the MBTA on transportation matters impacting people with disabilities and older adults.
Our goal is to ensure that all people with disabilities and older adults have every opportunity to be fully participating members of our community, noting that fundamental to this opportunity is the right and ability to use public transportation in an equal, effective, and dignified manner.
Anyone is welcome to become a general member. Please join us for our upcoming RTAG meeting.
If you would like to become more involved and help the Riders’ Transportation Access Group (RTAG) create a more accessible and equitable public transportation system, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.