Make accessing public transport safer for people with disabilities

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After my recent experiences whilst boarding the McGills bus service and experiencing personal discrimination towards my disability I have decided something needs to be done about the way disabled people are treated when accessing public transport. 

My wife and I tried to get on the bus from outside our home, the driver refused to put the ramp down or lower it the step for me to allow me to get on as I was in my wheelchair due to a flare up of my fibromyalgia. The driver began shouting at me in front of passengers on his bus how I used to be able to walk and why can’t I get out chair and walk onto bus instead of him putting the ramp down. I was extremely embarrassed and in order for me to get on that bus I had to struggle to pull myself out of my chair using the hand rail and in front of the other passengers push myself onto the bus and pull myself up whilst shaking with embarrassment and anxiety due to the drivers comments and other passengers staring at me getting onto the bus. My wife was forced to lift my wheelchair up onto the step where I then was able to slowly sit myself back onto it whilst the driver continued to go on about how I should just be able to walk.

These events led me to have an anxiety attack and break down once I got off the bus. I now go into a state of panic when getting onto a bus with my wheelchair as I fear being harassed by this driver once again when I am using my wheelchair.

This bus service can be very dangerous to those of us suffering disabilities and using mobility aids as we on a daily basis are subject the questioning “why am I in a wheelchair?”, the struggle of getting on and off buses, getting thrown about due to how hard the drivers are hitting the brake and the speed they go when going around corners and racing through traffic lights. Not only this on numerous occasions the driver has insisted that the ramp is not working and can’t put it down and also if using an aid the ramp is to steep meaning you would have to jump on to the bus with the walking aid as you are not able to get on or off safely. We have on numerous occasions seen the elderly coming close to being trapped in the doors trying to get off the bus or being thrown into chairs and poles with the force the driver has braked at. 

Mcgills policy on conduct of passengers states; “Passengers must do nothing which endangers or causes discomfort or offence to any other person on the bus.” Thus meaning passengers should feel safe whilst on board the bus from threats of endangerment, discomfort or offence cause by other passengers as well as the driver.