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More than 600 people with disabilities left behind at Metro Transit bus stops

Updated: October 21, 2019 10:13 PM

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained new statistics from Metro Transit that showed 628 people with disabilities were left behind at bus stops between January and August of this year.

Claudia Fuglie told KSTP she's been left behind 10 times over the past four months. Fuglie also said there were times the Metro Transit bus driver told her the fare was full but she saw some openings.

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"I move up to the ramp and I can see open seats in the back of the bus," Fuglie said.  "But then I look up front where the accessible seats are, and I see baby strollers bigger than my wheelchair, furniture, luggage and even young people who refuse to move out of their seats."

Fuglie said the bus driver sometimes relays information to Metro Transit dispatch alerting them to the fact a person has been left behind.

But she also said there are times the driver pulls away without telling dispatch and she then has to wait for the next bus.

Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla told KSTP one person left behind is too many. Padilla said the goal is to make sure a ride arrives for that person as soon as the bus driver notifies dispatch.


More from KSTP: 

Metro Transit ridership down after record-breaking 2018

Metro Transit makes changes to overnight Green Line services


"We look at the busier routes that have more buses full and we reassess every quarter," Padilla said.  "On those routes we add extra services to help make things run smoother and our drivers know to notify the communications center right away so the next bus knows there is a person waiting for them."

Padilla said Metro Transit bus drivers do not have legal authority to make people leave the bus to make room for a person with disabilities and they cannot force someone to give up a seat to accommodate another rider.

"We have millions of bus routes running, and to have that number of people left behind is relatively good," said Padilla.  "But always our goal is to make sure no one is left behind. And if it does happen, we address the situation as quickly as possible."

Fuglie said part of the solution comes from the public.

"Show some respect, really, it is as simple as that," Fuglie said.  "If you are able to get up and move to an open seat, then do it, because it really isn't that hard."

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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