Rolling Without Limits

Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

My Wheelchair Is a Part of Me
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My Wheelchair Is a Part of Me

As a low-income citizen, there are a handful of luxuries I cannot afford. I have to use my public local bus system, which is, thankfully, accessible for those who may be disabled (ie. those who may use wheelchairs or scooters). 

When I can't use the bus, I use the disabled transit private bus system that is designated for the elderly or the disabled. Though, in order to use it, there are certain requirements you must meet. For the disabled transit, while you may think it's more convenient, I often find that's hardly the case. You must let their company know exactly when and where you'd like to go, 24 hours prior to actually going. This might be a good option for appointments of sorts, however, if you are a spontaneous kind of person, like myself, and don't know your plans until you wake up the next day, this transit is often not a realistic choice of transportation. So, in my case, I'd rather use the public bus, as the bus stop is very close to my home.  Also, I can go almost anywhere I'd like to on short notice, as our buses can run from every half-hour to an hour.          Sometimes, though, when I get on the public bus, I'll hear a driver "complain" about how hard it is to fasten or strap me down because either the bus is not big enough or my chair is too big.

I can't help but feel like they are taking their personal dilemmas out on me. It's not my fault that the buses are not built properly, or that the hooking system isn't made to fit all sizes of wheelchairs out there. In these cases, when someone puts my wheelchair in the equation, I have to draw the line. One driver told me that the bookbag tied to the back of my chair, which is the only thing I can use for storage, is wrong of me to have. She said this simply because she couldn't reach behind me to get the straps in order lock me down, while most others can.

Another driver said my electric wheelchair is just too big and not equipped for strapping onto the bus. I just have to think, "What are the tools built into the system for, if not to accommodate disabled passengers?" Most others do just fine, once again. Then another, once more, has the audacity to tell me I'd be much better off using the disabled transit instead, as it's more equipped for my kind of chair. Um, excuse me? She even used her height as an excuse why it's hard for her to strap me down, versus others, who may be taller. Again, is that MY fault? No. Is it her fault she's short?  No.  People like this have to realize: I have the right to use the public bus like everyone else, no matter how big or small my chair is, as it's a part of me.

While it may frustrate them trying to strap me in, it does me too, as I feel for them. Even I sometimes complain along with them, as long they don't blame me nor use my chair as part as the equation. Just to add, me going on the disabled transit does not always make the complaints go away, either. There are always a couple there, too. Plus, there other issues I have to worry about with them, such as weather and being on time, etc. So, with either one, I have to deal with some kind frustration, knowing that my wheelchair is going to be a part of the equation. This discrimination needs to stop, because, like it or not, I have Cerebral Palsy and my wheelchair will always be apart of me.

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