Monday, February 11, 2013

Metro Rail in Buffalo did not provide any text scrolling screens-this is unfair to the deaf riders

This morning wasn't as cold as the other days, so I decided to take the Metro Rail to work instead of driving. At most times it's convenient for me as it saves money on gas and I get to rest and read the paper instead of driving. By now I thought things would of changed. Usually when the weather is warm, I like to travel by train instead of driving. It's been cold, so I have been too lazy to take the train every week as I usually did in the summer. So I happily parked my car in the parking lot which is free, then I walked to the station. Price is same, 2 dollars each way, 4 dollars for a round trip. Not bad at all. Seems cheap to me. It's better than having to pay 15 dollars in gas getting to work and back all in one day. There are no bathrooms in this station, and I don't know why. I grabbed my ticket, went down the escalator to the tunnel underground. My cellphone does not work down there, not at all, no service. Then I waited for the train. It comes every 10 minutes which is good.

I hopped on and did some observing this morning. There were no screens at all in the train displaying any of the stops.
As you can see on the picture above, there's nothing in the train close captioning anything up on the wall. This was bad news for deaf people like me. As the train approached each stop, I had no way of knowing what stop we were at. I did hear a faint announcement over a microphone at each stop, but I couldn't understand what it was saying. There are times when it rains and snows and I can't see out of the windows at all. The windows sometimes get fogged up, or completely covered in snow and I am unable to look outside the window to see where we are. This has created a problem for me last year, as this has happened many times. Since I can't hear the announcements of each stop, I have no way of knowing when to get off. And if the windows are fogged up, I can't see where we are. Luckily today, it didn't snow or rain, so I was able to look out the window and tell when it was time to get off by reading the signs outside the window. Then I took the train home and it was the same problem, no closed captioning screens displaying the stops. This has got to change, this is no good for deaf people and it does not work for those who can't hear. So what I did next was write a note to NFTA about this problem. They told me I was on the old train and that new trains coming out will have screens that will tell us where the train is stopping. Something like that. What I am going to do is attend some more NFTA and find out what is going on and why nothing has been done to the trains I was on today to display the announcements on a text screen. I think they should display these on all trains. Even if they are old until the new trains are out. This just isn't right for deaf people to not have any access to being able to understand where the train is stopping. How will deaf people know when to get off the train if they can't hear the announcements at each stop? This is an ongoing problem and it's very unfair to the deaf population.

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