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Mason Hess October 2, 2013 Title: Public Transportation for the disabled Ever since we watched the first

documentary in class this year, something has stuck with me. It is far too complicated for disabled or handicapped individuals to get around using public transportation or taxis. I recall the paraplegic individual from the documentary who could not find a cab to see President Clinton, who was speaking at an anniversary rally for the A.D.A. (American Disability Act). He was stranded without a prompt ride to the convention. As I thought, I recognized that the only thing separating him from his desire, was his wheelchair. I believe no human should have to go through this, especially for something as simple as a ride. After doing some research, I found that handicap accessible features do exist in the world of public transportation today, and are constantly used to their fullest potential. Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) is a para-transit service that provides transportation for people whose disability or condition prevents them from using Community Transit regular route buses. DART para-transit service can pick up or take a qualified customer to or from locations within 3/4 of a mile of a Community Transit local, non-commuter bus route, during the hours that the bus route runs in that area. A DART trip will take about as long as that bus ride. This

transportation feature is only available in select locations throughout the country, however most regions have similar features. Nowadays, it is rare to see a D.O.T. bus or van that is not wheelchair accessible, I even read on the department of transportation website that they are even getting a new fleet of 70 more buses within the next year. All of which having major accessibility improvements from the previous models. They have made boarding easier for customers by making slight modifications to the boarding ramp and adding a new ramp guard to help direct mobility devices farther into the bus before turning down the aisle. Though we are gradually making improvements in this area and are making small steps in the right direction, there is still an evident problem in my eyes. In my research I found a law suit that was placed against the T.L.C. which is the Taxi and Limousine Commission, in New York City. The lawsuit says that the commission's failure to require that taxis be accessible to the disabled is a violation of multiple civil rights laws. With only 231 of more than 13,000 New York City taxicabs accessible to people with disabilities, the complaint argues that the TLC ignores the needs of the disabled. To spare the lengthier details of the law suit, the TLC defense that that they were not required by law, but were specifically exempt from the law and were bound by no legal obligation to provide handicap accessible services. Attorneys with the group Disabilities Rights Advocates, who represent the plaintiffs say that the defense was

mistaken, and I quote, "The ADA exemption applies only to private entities not government entities like the TLC," said attorney Kara Werner. "The TLC regulates the vehicles and has a responsibility to ensure that all New Yorkers can use taxicabs." The law suit seeks no monetary gain, only that rules be implemented by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to ensure that as all taxis are replaced, they are replaced with wheelchair accessible taxis. Though we are greatly improving in this area, we have a ways to go. Public transportation is unreliable enough, I cant imagine how hard it would be to stay mobile should I be handicapped and forced to use public transportation. In all, we should strive to make life as easy for others as it is for us, whether that be physically or emotionally.