WUFT News

Gainesville’s Handicapped and Disabled Riders Finding It Easier to Take the Bus

By on December 21st, 2013

Nancy Garcia knows the routine.

Wait for the bus to lower, wait for the lift to come out, get on the bus to where the driver is waiting to strap her in, get strapped in, and hand the driver her money so that they can depart from her stop. But Garcia, a Gainesville resident for 10 years, said the routine is what has helped her get out of her house and around the city.

“I take the bus everywhere.” Garcia said. “I just wave my hand and the drivers stop. The lifts don’t get stuck as much anymore, and people don’t stare and point when the driver uses the lift, because they are used to it.”

Taking a bus is now a normal everyday part of disabled people’s lives because the service seen dramatic improvements in the last few years. RTS reported in their yearly ridership report that they had over 40,000 handicapped and disabled riders from October 1, 2012 to September 30,2013. The public transportation service has taken steps to ensure that their buses are fully equipped for handicapped and disabled riders.

Chip Skinner, marketing and communications supervisor for RTS, said RTS has made many changes to help facilitate all passengers.

“All of our buses can accommodate wheelchairs.” Skinner said. “They are able to ‘kneel,’ meaning that the front end would come down which would help someone who is ambulatory or (using) a cane.”

These services are offered on the city routes of the RTS bus system, but there is also a service that allows riders that qualify for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Paratransit service is offered through RTS, which is a shared ride door-to-door service. Skinner explained that while the service is more personal, the service still runs like any other RTS bus.

“They still do only provide service like we do.” Skinner said. “On a Sunday, they start at 10 a.m., like we do, and stop at 6 p.m., like we do.”

While Garcia has used both services, she stated that she still had one issue with the RTS service in the city.

“Some of the bus stops are not paved.” Garcia said. “This does make it a little more difficult. I think that if they were able to pave the bus stops, it would be a lot easier for me to move around.”

Skinner also pointed out the unpaved stops and the issues that this would cause with passengers. But Skinner added that RTS was working on paving these bus stops, but warned that it would take some time.

“All bus stops should be ADA-compatible.” Skinner said. “However, this is an unfunded mandate by the state, as well as the federal government, so we have to wait for available funding.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Rodrigo Guerrero, 21, watches his older brother, Alfonso Guerrero, 30, brewing coffee using a "pour over" technique. Know Where Coffee specializes in providing artisan coffees that are made to order. Bradley Williams / WUFT

Third-Wave Coffee Culture Popularity Rises In Gainesville

Know Where Coffee opened its doors this month. The new establishment proves the third-wave coffee culture is rising in popularity, especially across local coffee shops in Gainesville.


Luke Watkins, the 28-year-old partner of Black Hog Farms, is working toward creating a weekly farmers market along the St. Johns River in Palatka. The Saturday market will feature local farmers, musicians, artists and food trucks.

Local Businessperson Plans Farmers Market For Palatka

While Palatka’s government hopes to attract visitors to their area with the riverfront development project, a local business owner has his own idea for bringing in more people.


Robert Yard performs a song for a toddler using a Lakota love flute at the Cedar Key Fine Arts Festival in Cedar Key, Florida. Yard held impromptu music lessons throughout the day for patrons that were curious about playing an instrument. (Photo by Sydnei Cartwright)

Patrons and Artists Pack Cedar Key for 51st Annual Fine Arts Festival

Cedar Key held its 51st annual Cedar Key Fine Arts Festival this past Saturday and Sunday, and experienced a large turnout from supporting counties and out-of-state visitors. The Festival showcased a number of different arts including jewelry, photography, wood making, and mixed media.


A group of 'dirty kids' fly a sign on the corner of SE 1st St and SE 2nd Pl while one patches up a jacket and another plays guitar on Jan. 23, 2015 in Gainesville​. Photo by Andrea Sarcos/WUFT News

‘Home-Free’ Squatters Find Community In Gainesville

An abandoned house in Gainesville became a home for a group of individuals that call themselves “dirty kids.” The dirty kids feel that they are different from homeless people.


IMG_8377

Chicken House Fire Kills 24,000 Chicks

Chickens die in a chicken house fire at Saavedra Farms on Wednesday night.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments