The best bus ever

The best bus ever
Jason Sievers' awesome Art in Transit bus

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Through the eyes of others

One rewarding - sometimes sobering - aspect of riding the bus is getting a glimpse of what it's like to live as a person with a handicap. Of course, people with disabilities are much more reliant on public transportation than the general public. Imagine trying to coordinate your daily routine to match a bus system that runs less than 12 hours a day, and only once an hour midday on many routes ... one on which some transfers are all but impossible - unless you want to wait another hour. It's not pretty.

Yesterday, a man with a wheelchair got off the Vista bus with me at the northwest corner of Overland. I'd never before realized this, but there is no curb cut on the Vista side of the northeast corner at that intersection, though there are at the other three.

In other words, had the man wanted to transfer to the westbound Overland bus at the northeast corner, he would have had to cross first to the southwest corner, then to the southeast, then to the northeast. Of course, he probably would miss the Overland bus at that point anyway, since the schedule has it arriving at the intersection about a minute before the Vista bus.

How silly is it that a major intersection like Vista-Overland doesn't have curb cuts on each corner? Drivers don't notice things like this, and able-bodied pedestrians don't either. But people who use wheelchairs or walkers or guide dogs are all too aware. Yesterday, for a moment, I was, too.

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