Modifications coming to seat design layout on light rail vehicles

We’re changing the seat design on light rail vehicles

To improve light rail service for passengers using mobility devices, such as wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers, RTD is redesigning the seating on light rail vehicles to provide additional space to board and maneuver. This effort includes removing seats next to the current wheelchair areas. This alteration also provides additional standing room when not being used by passengers with mobility devices.

These changes are being made with input from passengers with disabilities and as the result of a class settlement agreement finalized in August with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, a Denver-based organization that advocates for social justice for people with all types of disabilities. The terms of that agreement call for all of RTD’s existing light rail vehicles to be retrofitted as described, as well as for all new vehicles to be substantially similar in design to the retrofitted vehicles. RTD has collaborated on this effort with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC).

We appreciate your understanding as RTD further enhances the light rail experience for all members of our community.

Video from Oct 11th Public Meeting

If you were unable to attend the recent October 11, 2017 public meeting, please view the video recording of the meeting on our YouTube channel. This is a closed-captioned video. You may also view the video below.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the seats changing?

The purpose of the new design is to provide additional boarding and maneuvering space, as well as access to wheelchair areas, for people with mobility aids. The design was completed with input from passengers with disabilities and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC). CCDC advocates for social justice for people with all types of disabilities.

How is the seating changing?

The new design required removing eight seats on each end of the train, totaling 16 seats per train. This change provides additional standing room when wheelchair locations are not being used.

When will the change take place?

Trains with this new design will begin to roll out on Sept. 11. This rollout will be a gradual process. It will continue over the next five years until the entire fleet of light rail trains has been modified with the new design. This new design will include retrofitting our existing fleet and purchasing new ones.

Can other items be placed in this area?

The new area is not intended for bikes, strollers, luggage or other large items brought aboard from the high block ramps.

Does this change affect the ability to bring my bike on the train?

No. We welcome bikes on all of our light rail trains, no permit necessary. Bikes are allowed on light rail at any time on a space-available basis and at designated doors only. Please visit our Bike-n-ride page for specific information on bringing your bike on light rail.

What are your ADA policies regarding this new design?

  • RTD will ensure passengers with disabilities have equal access to our trains via high block ramps, as well as priority seating and designated wheelchair areas.
  • RTD will make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices and procedures to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy and participate in all RTD programs, services and activities.

What if I have a disability and need to sit down? With the limited number of seats what do I do if all the seats are taken?

All of our light rail trains have priority seating designated for people with disabilities. The priority seating areas are located on both ends of each light rail vehicle and are identified with signage located just above the seats. You can ask people to move from these seats so you can be accommodated, or you can enter train at the platform and the train operator will assist you.

Why do all the trains need to be modified? Why can’t RTD just modify the front train that has access to the ramp/platform?

RTD did explore this option. All of light rail trains are interchangeable and are made up of one to four Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs). Depending on the rail line, the number of LRVs needed will differ to make up different lengths of trains needed. At different times of a day, a LRV may be the lead for one segment and the middle or end on another. Each LRV makes up trains that fit into so many different scenarios it’s unworkable to modify just a few. Maintenance is also a concern. LRVs need regular maintenance and a large number need to be available for runs individually while others are being repaired individually. At any given time, Light Rail Operations must be able to change the length of a train to meet scheduled and unscheduled run demands. No matter how many LRVs make up a train, the lead LRV that arrives at the end of the line may not be the lead LRV leaving from that location. When the train heads the opposite direction from the end of line, any one of the LRVs of that original train could be the lead LRV requiring access to the platform area.

How were the general public notified of the changes to the light rail seating as a result of the settlement? Why wasn't the public notified of these changes sooner?

Once the settlement agreement on this matter was finalized RTD notified the public through a series of public notices that appeared in newspapers, signage on trains, press releases, take-one cards on light rail, flyers, emails, home page, and a public meeting.

Does my mobility device need to be secured?

No. You are free to move and position your mobility device as needed in the wheelchair area. Due to the nature and design of light rail, securement is not provided nor is it required.