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Welcome to the Rio Metro Regional Transit District Blog! Here you will find resources and information related to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Rio Metro's bus services, public transportation, transit safety, special events and more. 

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Feb 16

Transit Accessibility Part 1 – An Inside Look at the Rail Runner

Posted on February 16, 2022 at 12:00 AM by Riann Martinez

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity and access for persons with disabilities. The Rio Metro Regional Transit District works to ensure nondiscriminatory transportation; our transportation services are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

For part one of this two-part series, Rio Metro Safety Officer Stephanie Paiz provides a broad overview of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express accessibility features.

Station Features

Train Station Kiosk Emergency Call ButtonAll 15 Rail Runner stations offer ADA-compliant accessibility features, including:

  • Accessible parking spaces and aisles (at the 12 stations that offer on-site parking)
  • Station name signs located at even intervals at each platform
  • Pedestrian ramps at stations where there are stairs
  • Continuous handrails between 34” and 38” high
  • Slip-resistant and level platforms with multiple access routes
  • Tactile warning surfaces at the edge of platforms and curb ramps, featuring a color and texture that is different from that of the platform and sidewalk
  • Audible and visible message boards to notify passengers of late trains or emergencies
  • Rio Metro Customer Service and Emergency (911) call buttons located on at least one kiosk per station
  • Braille on call button signage

Boarding and Riding

  • Ramps for level boarding (called a mini-high) that connect the platform to the train to eliminate the need to step up or down for Persons Needing Assistance (PNAs), such as individuals in wheelchairs, with walkers, pushing strollers, or anyone who needs help boarding
  • Priority seating near the door at train car entrances for PNAs
  • Person in Wheelchair Boarding Train Using Mini High RampSeats near train car entrances that fold up with mechanisms for locking a wheelchair in place
  • Onboard announcements upon arrival at each station
  • Audible (“Meep, Meep!” and Conductor announcements) and visual (flashing light) warnings that train doors are closing
  • At least one ADA-accessible restroom per train set

Crew Training

  • Every Full-Scale Exercise (emergency responder training) incorporates a PNA in the body of the train to test communications among train crews, dispatch and emergency responders
  • Train crews receive an 8-hour training once each year for emergency preparedness, and are also given 8 hours of First Aid/CPR/AED training each year

Customer Service

  • Reduced fare tickets are available including for people with disabilities
  • The Rio Metro website is compliant with requirements established by the ADA
  • Individuals can request documents such as schedules and other information in an alternate format (eg. Braille, large print, audio) by contacting Customer Service at 866-795-7245
  • Persons with a hearing or speech disability can contact Customer Service by calling 711 for TTY-based telecommunications relay service

Education and Reporting

Rail Runner Crew“We are a very dynamic industry, and with that, we try to keep up with growth and change,” said Paiz.

Paiz explained that Rail Runner staff and crews work continuously to mitigate reported hazards. “We are exploring more ways for the public to report any unsafe conditions, including accessibility for all persons,” she said. This includes online reporting, texting, apps, written forms, phone messages, and other channels.   

“We try to think of the circumstances that may cause concern for accessibility. The most important thing is getting feedback from the public about their experiences and ideas for improvement. Our staff is trained to respectfully communicate with passengers, including ADA and accessibility awareness,” said Paiz.

Paiz also noted that Rail Runner staff is available to provide community presentations. “We have the capability of going out to schools and other groups to talk to people about riding the train or train safety,” she said.

For more information, or to report a concern, visit riometro.org/contactus or call Rio Metro Customer Service at 866-795-RAIL (7245).