It’s always a good time when my cousin from Maryland comes to the New York. She arrives, we party and then she goes home. Now, traveling can be a significant hurdle for her due to inconsistency with the incapability to provide the proper accessibility. To face that every time you’re traveling can be very discouraging to someone with a disability. It makes you want to just stay home and hide from the world.
My cousin and I don’t let our disability prevent us from being independent and going beyond despite limitations that come forth. We even traveled to Miami by ourselves on a airplane and managed to get around with the county’s paratransit. Both of us were born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which causes our muscles to become weaker overtime. Sadly, my cousin Kiana moved out of New York City some years ago. Despite her busy work schedule, she manages to come at least once a month to visit. From having unreliable source of transportation in Delaware to travel with Greyhound/Megabus that don’t have fully functional wheelchair lifts on buses
Every time my cousin Kiana makes a reservation for a round trip with either greyhound or Megabus, she makes sure to notify that she is traveling with a wheelchair. A majority of the time, they fail miserably to accommodate whether it’s the lift isn’t working, driver’s uneducation to take out lift, or the bus not having a lift at all. It was early Monday morning after long weekend, when Kiana arrived by the Jacob Javitz Center to take the Megabus to find out 15 minutes before departure that the lift wasn’t working. Then soon after another came…to be broken again. It was not until a supervisor placed her on a bus headed to Washington DC that would make a stop for her in Delaware.Despite successfully making it home, there could’ve been so many ways to avoid the run around. She sat there for almost 2 hours in the cold while everything unfolded and arriving to work extremely late.
Why is it so difficult to check if the lift is functioning before a wheelchair user is picked up? It would make sense because when a ticket is purchased a prompt comes up to ask if a person with a disability is traveling. Also divers need to learn proper etiquette when it comes to asking questions to a wheelchair user. Never ask if that person can walk when it seems that is the only option for that individual to travel. If I can walk…where would my oversized motorized wheelchair go. Think before you speak and prepare.