ION LRT is more accessible than buses, boasts Bombardier

The Region of Waterloo's new ION light rail vehicles will be more accessible and offer a smoother ride than the region's current network of buses, said Bombardier as the first vehicle was unveiled to the media.

'It's just like being in a big open hallway with seats,' says Bombardier's Mark MacGregor

The Region of Waterloo's light rail vehicles will be low-floored, meaning they pull up level to the platform, making them more accessible than many busses, which have to lower and deploy ramps for people with wheelchairs, mobility devices or strollers. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

The Region of Waterloo's new ION light rail vehicles will be more accessible and a smoother ride than the region's current network of buses, said Bombardier as its first vehicle was unveiled to the media. 

Though no one was allowed to board the train car, project manager Mark MacGregor told CBC K-W the ION train is a low-floor vehicle, similar to a GO train, but without stairs and no doors between the five segments – making it more accessible than the average Grand River Transit bus.

Mark MacGregor, project manager for Grandlinq, at the Region of Waterloo's ION operations facility in Waterloo, Ont. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

"When you walk on the platform, you're not going to go up any stairs, you're not going to be tripping over anything, it's a straight shot right onto there, and you'll look down the train and it's massive."

MacGregor said the cars are wide enough that a person using a wheelchair or mobility aid would be able to easily make their way through the length of the vehicle. 

"Once you're on this thing, it's just like being in a big open hallway with seats. It's really open, it's really spacious, it's comfortable, it's smooth. When you ride these things, they accelerate very smoothly, there's no jerky reaction, the slowdown is smooth. I'm really excited for people to try them out."

Take an audio tour of the ION's first light rail vehicle, in the clip below. 

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