Group wants to make public transportation easier for disabled riders
Though riding the city bus may just be a mode of transportation for the majority of Grand Forks residents, for people with disabilities, it's a necessity.
Though riding the city bus may just be a mode of transportation for the majority of Grand Forks residents, for people with disabilities, it’s a necessity.
“Without city buses, we could not go anywhere,” said Rhonda Anderson, a member of Self-Advocacy Solutions (SAS) in North Dakota, during a meeting Monday with local transit officials.
For many people with disabilities, activities others take for granted, such as going to work, the grocery store or to church, can be much more challenging, and dependable public transportation such as the city bus is crucial, participants said at Monday’s meeting.
SAS members met in cities across the state to discuss wants and needs for disabled individuals with public transportation officials.
“The people who ride are the people who need to be talking,” said the group’s project director, Carla Tice.
During the meeting, participants said their concerns included the cleanliness of bus shelters and safety of bus shelters, which sometimes have intoxicated sleeping inside them, as well as making sure bus stops are convenient for riders.
Group members said they wanted to make improvements with bus system that could benefit all of its users.
“It’s not just the disabled, we’ve got a lot of people using the bus,” said City Area Transit Superintendent Dale Bergman. “We try to improve it every year.”
Though Grand Forks has already made some changes in the past to assist disabled riders in the Grand Forks area, Bergman said there are more to come, including a new wheelchair-accessible bus.
“Right now we have 10 wheelchair-accessible vehicles running every day. They get 200-300 calls per day,” he said. Soon, there will be 11, and this time, the vehicle will be much larger. “It can hold up to seven wheelchairs or two wheelchairs and 20 people,” said Bergman. Until then, Transit will do what they can to accommodate SAS members and other people with disabilities across Grand Forks.
“It’s key to have this relationship with (The City Area Transit),” said Tice. “It’s hard not to see that transportation and SAS already made a good connection,” she added.
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