City Should the Handicapped Be Banned from Express Buses?
posted by November 9 at 10:23 AMon
This morning, the ride on my express bus from Rainier Valley, which is supposed to take 30 minutes, was delayed four times for the entry and exit of two handicapped people in wheelchairs. The first wheelchair took a full 10 minutes, as the bus driver scooted a few inches forward and backward repeatedly to line up with the curb. Thus a ride that was supposed to be “express” ended up getting me (and maybe 100 other people) to work 20 minutes late.
So I’m just putting this out there: Is it fair for one or two handicapped individuals’ right to public accommodation to trump the right of dozens or hundreds of others to have reliable transit service that gets them to work on time? Is it fair for two people in wheelchairs to make everyone else on the “express” bus late?
For the negative: The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees reasonable accommodation to public facilities to all handicapped people. The bus system is a public facility. Therefore it’s unjust to exclude people with the misfortune of being handicapped, who may already face significant discrimination in their daily lives, from the same service I, as a non-handicapped person, enjoy.
For the affirmative: Express buses that aren’t fast and reliable aren’t really express buses. Given that the bus system in Seattle is already slow, unreliable express buses make people disinclined to take the bus. I won’t take transit unless I know it will get me to work on time. Furthermore, there are plenty of alternative, non-express buses that run along express routes. The greater good dictates that people with special needs should be restricted to buses that aren’t specifically devoted to fast, reliable service. And there are plenty of exceptions to the ADA: Equal accommodation doesn’t require me to hire someone who isn’t physically capable of doing a job, for example. (Added after original post: Metro’s Access program provides door-to-door van service for handicapped riders; fare for this service is just 75 cents.)
What do y’all think? Should Metro ban the handicapped from express buses? Or should I get over it and accept unreliable “express” buses as a side effect of equal access for everyone?