Lawsuits like the class-action recently filed by Long Islanders with disabilities against the Long Island Rail Road are about a great deal more than just bridging the gap between the train and the platform. At issue are the very civil rights of people with disabilities. At stake is our dignity — Our right to live, work, learn, and undertake any and all of life’s pursuits on a playing field equal to our peers and neighbors without disabilities. The time is now to eliminate the gaps in service and safety that have hung like a shadow over every trip and marginalized commuters with disabilities for far too long.
People with disabilities are entitled to ride the train with the same level of service, safety, choice and convenience as those without disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made that clear when it was signed into law 28 years ago this July. At long last, the LIRR must pledge to work together with citizens with disabilities and community leaders to create a commuter landscape where customers with disabilities can travel with confidence — not fear that they may end up stranded or injured because there is no bridge-plate to close the gap.
On behalf of the constituents with disabilities we represent, the Long Island Center for Independent Living, Inc. stands in solidarity with the plaintiffs and with all concerned and interested stakeholders. We look forward to an outcome that will result in full and unfettered access to an LIRR transit system that effectively welcomes and serves ALL its passengers, disabled or not.