This opinion piece was submitted by a Bus Riders' Union member, David O'Donnell:
I am a disabled person that needs to utilize the NICE fixed-route bus and Able Ride system. Using public transportation should be accessible to all people.
Veolia promised to address and work on issues such as: inoperable wheel chair lifts, Brialle signage, audible and visual stop announcements that either don’t work or most times are simply turned off by the bus driver. The Braille signage at Hempstead Terminal is horrific. It is indiscriminately placed on different poles facing different ways, located at the wrong bus locations, and most of the Braille bumps are actually missing, making them impossible to read.
The fixed route bus drivers do not secure persons traveling in wheel chairs, and if you ask them to most times they will just tell you to "put your brakes on."
Able Ride drivers are concerned about their passengers’ safety and secure the wheel chair and the person with excellence. However, one can never tell whether you will be picked up on time or arrive at your location on time. Veolia is making disabled riders wait sometimes for hours!
There is so much more wrong with the NICE bus/Able Ride system but these things must be addressed now for the safety of all bus riders. I know of these things I speak of, as I am legally blind secondary to Multiple Sclerosis, and have a degenerative spinal condition. I only wish to be treated with some dignity by my public transportation system.
Submitted by David O’Donnell
David is a member of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union.