[Nfbc-info] Blind couple barred from bus

rcubfank at sbcglobal.net rcubfank at sbcglobal.net
Tue Dec 30 21:25:21 UTC 2014

This was a very interesting article. When I was a Leaderdog user in the late 
70s and 80s, I rairly sat in the front of the rappid transit busses because 
I always felt there was a little more room a little bit further to the back. 
It seems we are going back to the dark ages on the belief of blindness based 
on this article.

Rob Kaiser, President National Federation of the Blind of California Orange 
County Chapter cell#(760)792-0525 email;
rcubfank at sbcglobal.net
-----Original Message----- 
From: Tina Thomas via Nfbc-info
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 12:43 PM
To: 'NFB of California List'
Subject: [Nfbc-info] Blind couple barred from bus

Here is the article from komonews.com.

SEATTLE -- A blind Seattle couple says they were barred from a bus by a
driver who insisted the seats for people with disabilities were full.

Cindy Bennett and Michael Mello were trying to catch the bus on Capitol Hill
Sunday when they say the driver insisted they get off the bus and wait for
the next one because no priority seats were available.

"He was making an assumption that the only seats we could sit in were those
designated as ADA seats," Bennett said. "We felt that it was a pretty clear
indication that we were not welcome on that bus."

"He started kind of getting louder and more irate with me and saying, 'the
ADA section is full.' I said, 'that's fine. We can sit anywhere else on this
bus. It's no problem,'" added Mello.

King County Metro Transit, which operates buses in Seattle, apologized to
the couple Monday and said it would investigate what happened.

The Americans with Disabilities Act <http://www.ada.gov/>  says that people
who are blind and visually impaired have the right to use public transit but
that they do not have to ride in special seating, said Marci Carpenter,
president of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington.

"For us, it's the same as African-Americans being told they have to sit in
the back of the bus. Mike and Cindy were told, 'you have to sit in the front
of the bus or you cannot ride,'" Carpenter said. "It's a civil rights

"What happened is unacceptable and we apologize," said Jeff Switzer, a
spokesman for Metro Transit, in a statement. "Blind passengers are not
required to use the ADA priority seating area. We've identified the operator
and his chief will be working with him on this issue and will take
appropriate action."

Switzer declined an on-camera interview.

Bennett and Mello, who live in Seattle, were catching the number 11 bus
Sunday near the intersection of Pike and Broadway on Capitol Hill. They had
just left brunch with friends, they said.

"We were so shocked when we got off the bus because we hadn't experienced
that before and we didn't know what to do," said Mello. "I mean, the point
of public transit is to provide us with more independence. That's what it
does on a regular basis."

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