Saturday, June 2, 2012

Unhappy driver

As a person with a disability, there are often moments when something happens and it bugs you. You may not know why but that feeling usually does not go away. This is one of those times.

The other day, I was headed to the University of British Columbia's bus loop. I had a connecting community shuttle bus right before; because of the boarding procedures for wheelchair users on those vehicles, I was racing to catch my connecting bus.

The bus was still there and people were boarding. Several others were chasing the bus as well. The front doors were still open. I got there and some of the people chasing the bus cut in front of my and hopped on. The driver let them on, no questions asked. He then realized that I wanted to get on too, and lowered the ramp. He was visibly unhappy.

For the first minute or so after I got on, he kept mumbling about how he was about to leave and I'm making him late, and how I should've waited for the next bus (even though the front doors were still open and the bus did not pull away).

I usually would understand the frustration but he proceeded to let other "chasers" on to the bus, both at the bus loop and for the next few stops – none of them got the third degree like I did. And in fact, one of the "chasers" got to the bus AFTER the doors had closed and the bus was pulling out. The driver stopped and let him on without giving him any sort of comment or remark.

I am not sure if I have a case here but this situation bothered me a lot. He was letting able-bodied late-comers get on the bus but because I'm in a wheelchair, he thinks I should be denied the ride and forced on to the next bus. It felt as if everyone else has a higher priority to board than I do, even though the bus was quite empty at the time.

I think I would've been less bothered by this if all the other late-comers got the same treatment.

So... Should this situation even bug me?


  1. I think it should bug you. You were the only person who received negative comments from the bus driver, just because it takes you a little longer to board. I can understand being less bothered if everyone got the same treatment, for sure. It should be an all or nothing situation, either he's going to give everyone a break, or no one. What drivers don't seem to understand is that they're in a customer service position and should be polite at the very least. I had a similar experience when I was on crutches and the driver threatened my fiancee when she asked if he would wait the 15 seconds it would take for me to get there. They were still arguing when I arrived, but we were denied access to the bus.

    Situations like that are so frustrating. I hate the feeling that I get from bus drivers all the time that I'm wasting their time needlessly. It's always so hostile, and all I need is to have the bus lowered and a moment to fight for a seat. I'm really sorry to hear that this happened to you.

  2. Hell yes it should bug you. Jerks. :(

  3. It's interesting that one month after this was posted, there has been some developments in the accessible public transit realm involving other situations where people with disabilities are "singled" out like this.

    Stay tuned for the new blog entry. Hopefully I'll get around to it in the next few days.