Aug. 21, 2001 --
Reports by major newspapers in the past few months show that people with disabilities still have great difficulty obtaining equitable service from our city's bus systems, even after the 11-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act's Title II mandated nondiscrimination and access.
"Ask any disabled person or a member of his or her family in Allegheny County [PA] how the law has improved transportation and chances are you'll get a horror story, or two, or five," writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Mackenzie Carpenter. "In fact, more than a decade later, many cities have failed to comply fully with federal transportation regulations issued in the wake of the ADA." Read her story from the Aug. 14 Post-Gazette at http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20010814waiting0814p2.asp
"I want answers," Karen DiNardi, told Philadelphia Inquirer Jere Downs, who reported July 19 that disabled people had blocked a SEPTA paratransit bus for 5 hours in frustration over continual late -- or nonexistent service.
Linda Richman of Liberty Resources, a Philadelphia independent living center, told Downs the protests were the latest events in a year in which SEPTA has been coping with a federal court mandate to drastically reform how it transports the disabled. Read the story at http://inq.philly.com/content/inquirer/2001/07/19/local_news/PPARA19.htm?template=aprint.htm
"Diana Stewart rolled her wheelchair out of her Chevy Chase office and parked on the sidewalk, waiting for her 6 p.m. ride home. Three hours later, her ride pulled up. Nancy Webb sat on a friend's porch in the District, expecting her noon ride to Prince George's County. It came at 5 p.m."
"MetroAccess does not pick people up on time, does not deliver people on time [and] schedules the same vehicle to be in two places at one time," Linda Royster, executive director of Washington, DC's Disability Rights Council told the Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton. Layton's story, "Disabled Riders Weary of Waiting: MetroAccess Users' Complaints Help Lead To Federal Review," ran in the July 16 Washington Post, and is available online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1165-2001Jul15.html
On July 18, the Chicago Transit Authority settled a suit brought by Chicago's independent living center, Access Living, and 11 individuals. CTA employees will now face disciplinary action for passing customers with disabilities and refusing to stop; failing to report broken lifts or elevators, "failing to call out stops where required"; "deploying a lift in inappropriate locations" and "insolence" to customers. Read more about the settlement at http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/drn/drnctasettlement071701.htm
On May 15, the Chicago Tribune's Gary Washburn reported on the results of a sting operation conducted by the Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and the Multiple Sclerosis Society which learned that 60 percent of disabled people who tried to get rides from the city-contracted Yellow Cab service were unable to; those who succeeded had to wait up to 2 1/2 hours. The story, "Yellow Cab feels sting, vows end to dispatch for disabled," is no longer online free of charge but can be found in the Tribune archives at http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/