The LightHouse is now offering Transit Route Orientation Guides for BART, Caltrain, and selected Muni and Samtrans routes to make it easier for blind and visually impaired transit riders in the Bay Area to travel independently.
When a person is blind or visually impaired, traveling independently is a crucial aspect of maintaining a high quality of life. That’s why The LightHouse has been teaching travel skills to blind and visually impaired Northern California residents for more than 60 years. Part of this training consists of familiarizing individuals with buses and other modes of public transportation.
Because the San Francisco area has one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the United States, travelers who are blind or visually impaired have access to most locations in the region. Unfortunately, some aspects of bus and train travel can be challenging for a person with low vision. It can be difficult to keep track of the order of stops along a bus or train route, to know which stop one should use to transfer from one route to another, or to know which stops have shelters for use on rainy days.
The LightHouse has come up with a solution for these particular challenges. Transit Route Orientation Guides are Braille pamphlets which contain lists of the stops along a bus or train route with information about the transfers available at each stop, and the orientation of each stop. For bus routes, the Guides indicate whether the stop is placed before an intersection, a nearside stop, or after the intersection, a far side stop; whether the stop is placed near the corner, in the middle of a block, or on a bus island in the middle of the street; and whether there is a bench or shelter at the stop. For train routes the guides indicate the layout of the train platform; center platform, side platform or complex platform; and whether the train platform is underground, at ground level, or elevated.
Low vision and blind travelers receive orientation and mobility training at the LightHouse to familiarize themselves with the routes for which we provide Transit Route Orientation Guides. For example, if an individual living in Berkeley wants help learning a route from her home to her new job in San Francisco, we’ll supply her, free of charge, with the Guides for BART and for the Muni routes she’ll use to get to her workplace. She can also partake in free orientation training for those transit routes, too.
Funding for these much needed guides is provided by a New Freedom Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Transit Guides and the related training are available free of charge for Caltrain, BART, about three dozen San Francisco Muni routes and several Samtrans routes. To order a Transit Route Orientation Guide, or to request orientation training to help you make the best use of these guides, contact Frank Welte at 415-694-7363, or firstname.lastname@example.org.