Week In Wheelchair Opened Eyes Of Transit Manager To Access
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 29, 2003
LUBBOCK, TEXAS--After a week commuting in a motorized wheelchair, John Wilson said he was pleased with the city's buses and drivers, but found the sidewalks and conditions at bus stops frustrating and dangerous.
Wilson, who is the general manager of the public transit service Citibus, accepted a challenge by Lubbock resident Allen Bryant to experience life -- and transportation -- for one week as a wheelchair user. According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Wilson used standard bus routes as well as CitiAccess, the on-demand accessible van service.
While Wilson praised Citibus and CitiAccess Tuesday, he was unhappy with the lack of curb cuts on city streets.
"There are no curb ramps for wheelchairs in my neighborhood," said Wilson, who explained he often had to wheel into yards and onto the street during his 11-block commute. "Driveway entrances created curbs which could turn a wheelchair over."
Wilson said he also experienced problems when his wheelchair was unloaded on soft soil. The wheels sank into the dirt, so he had to be loaded back onto the bus and taken to a grassy area to be unloaded again.
Wilson said the transit service will train drivers to recognize areas that are safest to unload wheelchairs.
He suggested commuters with wheelchairs call the city engineer's office to report dangerous sidewalks.