Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Step back!

There is one thing that I always see at bus stops that drives me absolutely insane; I'm not sure, however, if there is anyone to blame for it. Sometimes there is, sometimes there is not. What annoys me so much? People who do not realize that the wheelchair ramp on a bus swings out.

Why is this such a big deal? I will give you a scenario. Imagine you are at a bus stop. A wheelchair user is waiting there and the bus arrives. The front door opens. The wheelchair moves back a few feet. You assume that means that the wheelchair user is not getting on, so you step forward to board...

...only to be staring at a half-deployed ramp. You are now caught in an awkward position between a ramp that is threatening to smush you and a wheelchair user who is wondering what exactly you are doing (and perhaps several other bystanders staring at you).

Remember to step back: the ramp swings OUT.
(Photo credit: US Department of Transportation)

I see this too often when taking the bus. The weird part is that there are plenty of warnings: the loud beeping noise coming from the bus, the fact that other passengers nearby are standing back as well, me calling "WATCH OUT" repeatedly, and so on. (Strangely enough, nobody ever heeds my warnings, either on or off the bus. It is quite frustrating sometimes.)

So for able-bodied passengers who see a wheelchair user waiting in front of a bus with its front doors open, that person might be getting on. Just remember that the ramp swings outwards. Listen for the beeping noises.

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