WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Some Metro train passengers consider it a critical safety issue, but the transit agency says it's complying with the Americans with Disabilities law.
At issue, those bumpy tiles, known as truncated domes, along the edges of the train platforms. If you're visually impaired, there's a good chance you rely on those bumpy tiles to help alert you to the edge of the platform. But not every station has them.
"We have 24 people working here who are blind," said Tony Stephens. Stephens and his colleagues at the National Industries for the Blind work right next to the Braddock Road Metro stop. But the station does not have the bumpy tiles that indicate the end of a platform.
"Anybody that's ever dealt with a crowded platform on the train, it's not just being the person who's blind. Anybody. You feel it on your feet. You feel it with the cane that I have. It lets you know that you're almost on the edge," Stephens said.
Sixty five of Metro's 86 stations have the tiles already in place. Ten others will have them by 2015, including the Twinbrook station where the installation is underway. The eleven remaining stations still need funding.
"The bumpy tiles need to be in all of our key stations. These are stations, transfer points and stations that have the most activity," said Christian Kent, Metro's GM of Access Services.
Metro points out that it is already in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA.
"That requirement was met a long time ago, so everything that we're doing now is over and above what's required, and it's basically being done in the interests of our customers," Kent said.
Metro insists its intent is to have the bumpy tiles installed in all of its stations. Since that takes funding and construction work that's disruptive to customers, it will be done in phases.
"They have to be safe and accessible for those who are blind and everybody. The faster they can do that, the better," said Tony Stephens.
Metro has a second warning system in place at all of its stations: the granite and flashing lights at the edge of each platform.
The list of which stations will get those bumpy tiles and those still awaiting funding:
Stations with funding for completion by FY15
**Work currently underway on tile installation
Stations awaiting funding for bumpy tile installation