Senior Says Strollers Make buses unsafe

Author: Michele Lawson, STAFF
Date: Jan 14, 2010

BARRIE - Disrespectful young mothers with strollers are making Barrie Transit a hostile and unsafe environment for mobility-impaired seniors, says frequent rider Kay Gibson, 69.

"They are scared to go out and get on the bus because of the jostling and because they can't sit at the front," she says, having heard from many neighbours in her Blake Street seniors' residence.

"The law states (the front accessibility seats) have to be accessible for wheelchairs and people with disabilities."

Those with walkers don't have the option of moving further back in the bus, she says, because most aids simply don't fit between the seats. And, if the bus starts before they're seated, impaired balance can lead to a dangerous fall.

Taking exception to comments from a young woman in a recent Barrie Advance story, Gibson has little sympathy for mothers with strollers who refuse to be more flexible in their approach to shared ridership.

"It's been a bone of contention with people with disabilities and seniors for ages," she says. "You know the girls are able-bodied and yet they refuse to move."

Complaining to the City of Barrie about the lack of respect on the buses, Gibson said she gave the municipal office, which oversees the contracted transit service, the idea for its 'Observe the 3Cs' campaign to promote courtesy, consideration and co-operation.

City transportation technologist Rob Lamanczyk has said it has been an ongoing issue, which is left up to the drivers to resolve on a case-by-case issue.

"We take it for granted when we have our two legs and our mobility," says Gibson, who refuses to stay off the bus since it's her lifeline to freedom, and to the therapeutic exercise that keeps her out of a wheelchair. "It can happen to anybody at anytime. If everybody here had to use a walker for a week, then they would see and have a little more thought for others."

She suggests a return to the smaller umbrella strollers that rarely caused a problem, even if several women were on the bus at the same time.

"The buses weren't designed for (the larger) baby carriages," she says, adding the problem isn't with all young mothers. "Some of these girls, even with the smaller strollers, get on and tell seniors they have to get up and move."

She warns young people that they'll be seniors eventually and things will only get worse for them.

Reproduced from http://www.barrieadvance.com/barrieadvance/article/153930

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