I overheard a brief conversation between two local bus drivers recently. One of them has a regular on a certain route on a certain time who is handicapped (in what way, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it limits this person’s mobility). I believe this person uses a scooter of some kind; I don’t remember exactly. Anyway, this person consistently has trouble maneuvering the scooter (if indeed I remember the issue correctly) into and out of the bus — judging by an incident with a different person I witnessed, it’s probably because of the tight corners needed to maneuver at the entrance, but I don’t know for sure.
This person has enough trouble that it consistently (and this is key) makes the bus 15 to 20 minutes late for the rest of the leg of that route. A reminder: this person is a regular. It’s gotten bad enough that the driver has had passenger complaints.
I’m not sure what, if anything, the city metro service can do, but my question is, does the passenger have any obligations whatsoever in this department? It IS a public bus service, so (s)he obviously has a right to take it whenever (s)he desires, if (s)he doesn’t want to, or can’t, call the accessible bus/van services they have available. But is there anything (s)he “should” do?
Seems to me that the obvious answer is for the bus driver to report it to his superiors, and let them handle it.
If I were those superiors, I’d have the bus driver collect some contact information from that person, and then get in touch with them about the accessible van, and explain that they should use that service instead of the regular bus, so as to be more responsive to their needs, and not to inconvenience the other passengers.
Win-Win, unless the person in question is an ass about it and refuses, in which case, I’d tell the bus driver not to pick them up anymore, and they can ride the accessible bus, walk or hope their scooter battery holds out long enough for them to get where they’re going.
It’s up to the municipality to accommodate riders, even handicapped ones. And it’s incumbent on the municipality to have accessible buses that don’t require a 1/2 hour of maneuvering to board a wheelchair.
The access vans can be difficult to use for commuting to work in that the time window they are allowed is often too great for someone who has to commute regularly to rely on, and it has to be scheduled at least a day in advance. Our county’s buses have been modified or replaced so that delays due to scooters/wheelchairs don’t happen anymore. People with limited mobility rely on the buses to a much greater degree than able-bodied people. It’s up to the city to provide either accessible buses or access vans with a suitable departure/arrival time.
Bus driver here. Americans with Disabilities Act says transit can’t keep a disabled (ie wheelchair/scooter bound) waiting for longer than 30 minutes. But I can say, Scooters are a hassle to deal with, even on buses designed around disabled passengers. They cannot turn on their axis, and tend to have a bigger footprint than wheelchairs. There definitely is a learning curve to operating them for new users. Typically you have to drive it up a ramp, turn it around (so its facing forward) and parallel park it in the disabled passenger area on the bus. The bus driver then tethers the scooter with 4 securements (and a seatbelt, if requested).
Depending on his employer, the driver has a few options. My employer will actually provide “training” to disabled passengers free of charge, allowing them to practice. For scooters, its actually FASTER to back up into the bus (so you dont have to play bumper cars turning it around) but this takes practice. The bus driver may assist the disabled passenger if they are comfortable with it to steer/scoot the scooter in place. Depending on the agency, they may also provide paratransit service particularly if the bus is consistently being delayed by 20 minutes every day.
Edmonton Transit has free training for the disabled to use regular transit. I’ve taken their training, with my scooter (I also use a wheelchair, but friends helped me figure out how to manage my wheelchair on a bus long before I knew about the training - pretty trivial as long as the bus isn’t crowded). It is definitely tricky maneuvering a scooter onto and off a bus! It would be even trickier (and probably nearly impossible) for some of the larger scooters I’ve seen.
No real answer for the OP - we don’t have an equivalent to the ADA. I suspect up here the culprit would be told to either get a smaller scooter, get training or use DATS (our disabled transit).