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NYC Transit Riders Council Releases Report on Subway Platform Accessiblity

The New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) surveys accessible subway platforms to determine wheelchair user’s ability to easily board and exit subway cars.

The Council’s analysis examines how accessible New York City Transit’s accessible subway platforms are for wheelchair users.  In this report the NYCTRC assesses four issues that undermine the efforts of wheelchair users to successfully use New York City’s subways:

  • Train to platform vertical gaps that exceed federal standards.
  • The inconsistent location of raised platforms in accessible stations on a specific line.
  • The lack of clearly defined wheelchair boarding areas.
  • The lack of clearly defined wheelchair boarding areas.
  • The inability of wheelchair users to board and exit from the same door of a subway car because of physical obstacles on the platform such as columns or stairways.
  • The NYCTRC hopes that by highlighting these issues and recommendations, NYC Transit will improve the accessibility of the subway system and instill confidence in wheelchair users that the subway system is a safe and efficient way to travel.

The major findings and recommendations of the report are listed below:


Vertical Gap Issues

The NYCTRC identifies 20 platforms with 3” or greater vertical gaps, impacting 13 lines.A Division stations have 2 platforms with 3” or greater vertical gaps that impact 4 lines.

B Division stations have 18 platforms with 3” or greater vertical gaps impacting 9 lines.

Raised Platform Alignment

The Council found raised platforms on the C, D, E, F, M, N, Q and R lines are not fully aligned to ensure wheelchair users the ability to enter and exit a train.

Blocked Subway Doors

The Council identifies 7 doors in accessible waiting areas blocked by columns or stairwells.A Division stations have 6 doors blocked by columns or stairwells.
B Division stations have 1 door blocked by columns or stairwells.

Boarding Area Boundaries

The Council found boarding areas did not have clearly marked boundaries.


Remove Excessive Gap Issues

At least 20 platforms need to be raised in boarding areas to eliminate excessive vertical gaps that prevent wheelchair users from boarding and exiting trains.

Align Raised Platforms

Raised platforms on 8 lines the C, D, E, F M, N, Q and R must be aligned to guarantee wheelchair users the ability to enter and exit a train.

Reduce Blocked Subway Doors

Train operators need clear stopping markers for the type of cars they are driving to assure that doors align properly with designated boarding areas.

Use Two Boarding Areas when Needed

Place two Boarding Areas on platforms when two lines share a platform, but boarding areas must differ, to align with the other line stations.  Each boarding area sign should identify the line it serves.

Locate on-board conductors in Center of All Boarding Areas

Place boarding area signage on or adjacent to the striped conductor boards to clearly inform all riders specifically where the conductors will stop on the platform.

Paint Boarding Areas to Establish Boundaries

Paint boarding area platforms to clearly designate the full area of the boarding areas.

Increase Communication in Accessible Stations

Install Help Points in all accessible stations.

Install On-The-Go Kiosks in all accessible stations to display important wheelchair accessibility information.

Printed copies of the full report are available upon request from the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) office at 347 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor.  The report will be available on the website at