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D.C. Metro Inaccessible for Deaf

By January 4, 2012

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This morning, inaccessibility on the Washington, DC Metrorail system was responsible for my being thirty minutes late for work. They were single-tracking, and that information was posted on the electronic boards. My delayed train arrived at the Pentagon and I got out to switch trains. I waited patiently on the platform, and while waiting patiently I noticed many people running downstairs. The electronic board still said "yellow train coming soon" so I kept waiting...and waiting.

Finally after almost a half hour of waiting and no yellow train, I asked someone on the platform where was the yellow line? He said "downstairs." Downstairs??? They must have made a voice-only announcement that all the yellow trains were being moved downstairs! That must have been why all those people ran downstairs all of a sudden! Needless to say, I was quite upset about inaccessibility on the Metro for deaf and hard of hearing people as I ran downstairs to get my train.

Nor was this my first experience with Metro being inaccessible to deaf and hard of hearing people! In the past, I have missed the stop for my work place TWICE because of voice-only announcements that the train would not be stopping there. I was upset those two times also.

Another time, I was on the train and then at a certain stop, a lot of people got off. I didn't know why, and a hearing person standing on the platform tried to tell me. By the time I realized that I needed to get off, the doors had already closed and I was trapped. The train turned around and went in the other direction! I was late for work that day, too.

Have you had any experiences with inaccessibility as a deaf person on the DC Metro system due to their total failure to make voice-only announcements accessible to deaf and hard of hearing via a text display? If so, please share them!

January 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm
(1) SK3 says:

I hope you filed a formal complaint with WMATA. Go to http://wmata.com/about_metro/transit_police/cc_form.cfm and file a complaint.

January 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm
(2) Jean Boutcher says:

I dio not think I would have any problem if I had cochlear implant.

January 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm
(3) Whitney says:

That sucks….especially because there are so many deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the DC metro area. It’s hard to know where to begin when complaining about metro. I definitely agree that you should file a complaint, though.

January 11, 2012 at 9:21 am
(4) Maxine says:

I read lips. I am hard of hearing. I study the metro maps and the schedules. The train schedules are online. I have a train arrival application on my phone. I had to learn NOT to rely on hearing people to help me when i am riding METRO. Never been late. Always early:)

January 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm
(5) Mary Yamada says:

Jean, you might still have a problem even with a cochlear implant; I know I would.

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