RTD enforces rules banning strollers, carts from wheelchair areas on buses

DENVER — Mothers who ride some of the 1,000 RTD buses along the Front Range are worried about a change in policy that went into effect Monday.

The Regional Transportation District is now strictly enforcing a long-standing policy that helps the disabled.

But some moms say it hurts them in the process.

Life around the home can be hectic with four kids for single mom, Ruth Wood.

But outside it, she says RTD is making it dangerous.

The transportation company is enforcing a policy enacted in 2003 requiring large items like strollers and grocery carts be collapsed before boarding. Those items must then sit, out of the aisle, and behind the front area reserved for wheelchair area.

“I usually have a 20-month-old with me every day. And I can’t have him run around the street when I fold up his stroller,” says Wood. She has to use both hands to fold the stroller because of carpel tunnel syndrome.

Plus, only the handicapped can sit in the “securement area”—even if no one is sitting there.

Wood sat in that section Thursday morning. She says there wasn’t a single disabled person sitting there. And if there were, she says she’d be the first one to move.
It didn’t matter. The bus driver kicked her off the bus.

“I feel like parents and children are being discriminated against,” says Wood.

But Scott Reed with RTD says it was the disabled who felt wronged and filed a lawsuit because for years, the able-bodied took their seats and wouldn’t give them up.

Reed says they had relaxed the rules to help mothers and those with large items sit up front. But that was only on the condition they moved if a person in a wheelchair got on the bus.

“We had situations where people did not cooperate and refused to move, regardless of the fact there was a person there in a wheelchair. That created conflicts and put RTD in violation of the law,” says Reed.

So RTD settled the lawsuit agreeing to enforce the existing Americans with Disability Act rules.

RTD is letting its passengers know about the change through a recorded message, new signs and brochures.

“One time I was on the bus with a keg taking up the securement area. So this is not just about strollers,” says Julie Reiskin with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, which filed the lawsuit.

She wants people to know this change isn’t against anyone. Rather, it’s for equality for those who need it most.

“There are only two places on the entire bus for people with mobility impairments to sit. We don’t have a choice. This (wheel) chair doesn’t fold,” says Reiskin.

RTD says its drivers are required to help a mother collapse her stroller. But the mother has to ask for that help.

It is also training its drivers on the revised policy.

It expects a few bumps in the road as everyone gets use to the change.

 

16 comments

  • Elisbeth Rooney

    Yes there are door to door busses available to the elderly and people with disabilities. However, the cost per ride on those vehicles is most often 10 times the fare charged on the fixed route busses and reservations have to be made in most places at least 48 hours in advance. What you are suggesting amounts to segregating the elderly and people in wheelchairs by forcing them to use that mode of transportation. ADA is Federal Law, maybe you should have to live your life in a chair and deal with the backlash it brings you from people with attitudes like yours. Having children is a personal choice, being elderly or in a wheelchair is not a choice.

  • Thomas Spradlin

    I’m all for giving up the Handicap Seats to the Handicapped. But to deny those unused seats to paying passengers forcing them to stand, if there’s no seats left, is outageous. As a passenger I’m paying for an available seat on the bus. Sometimes it seems more feasible to simply have a “Common Sense” clause written into some of these ordinences that are being thrust upon folks.

  • nikkala143

    I am only asking that they allow parents with kids under 2 with strollers on. My kids are already grown out of strollers but when you have a kid who can’t walk and you are forced to use public transportation they shouldn’t make you move for someone who can wait for the next bus. Or even use several other services that are out there for handicap . If you think about it kids under 2 are part of this act as they are disabled to the point a lot of them can’t walk/talk. By not allowing strollers (to a certain extent) it is a biase. And Elisabeth you are one cold hearted botch. Yea some kids on the bus out of control but those kids are ones who arent forced to listen or who have discplen. The ad a screws its self when it states people are covered by this act when they neither have the mental or physical means . Help themselves. Meaning a child under 2 is exactly this.

  • rather be skiing (@sasha809)

    Young Mothers for some reason feel so entitled to special parking spaces and now special handicapped seats…. SMH!! Women have been managing children for a while now and today’s mothers have it a lot easier then in the past and now want more. If you cant manage how ever many children you have dont have so many. So NO I will not sign the pettion, aside from the grammar and spelling make it seem written by an child.

  • Dharm Guruswamy

    Hey folks, watch the video when you ask about why people can’t use the seats. Some folks were not giving up their seats, and the handicapped sued. Yes, you are right that not everyone should be punished because some don’t behave. At the same time, if you were ever on a bus where a mother with a baby in the stroller or just a lazy person didn’t move out the wheelchair seats, so they could be lifted and you did not confront those people then you have no basis to complain.

  • Debra Duffy

    Handicapped seating for people in wheelchairs is a lot more important because they aren’t offered very many areas to sit. Whereas a mother and her children have all the seats on the rest of a bus to sit. I really don’t see why they think they need the handicapped area. People with bikes have to hang them outside the bus. So why not come up with a compartment for storing these strollers and carts?

  • Mariah Canfield-Jones

    I’m actually for this act, because i have witnessed some of these young mothers who think that their entitled to the handicap areas more so than the handicapped individual. The 21 is the worst for it, because some of these people get almost offended when the driver asks them to move and make a scene saying, “But my kids…I can’t just collapse thing!” Come on, even I move out of the way for someone who is disabled, if I have to do it, THEY have to do it too. Children are a choice, being elderly or being in a wheelchair is not a choice! So if someone is disabled and you have a stroller, tough luck, you better just get used to the rules

  • Anthony Volpe

    Here the most simple thing to help this out is plan a head. Meaning Only bring what is needed. If you are just going to take the bus or the light rail for short trip like for a child check up or something that only take like few hours There and back just bring what is needed like few diapers small travel thing of whips and a small stroller or a caring slang.Also those who have more than one child. who are very young and unable to walk on their own. Have friend and family come long to help you out.And this well save so much time and headache.And last for those who complaining about giving up their seat on the bus.First of all your not paying for the seat on city bus or light rail . It not Gray Hound or Amtrak your not paying for the use of the seat your paying for the city serves of the us of the city bus and light rail.Cause if they allow passenger to pay for the seats on city bus or light rail.Than they would only allow the maximum passenger to the number of seats that are available. So this mean if your capable of stand and walking for long period.Than give up to your seat for someone who deserve it like the handicap the elderly and small children or parents with new born Thank you

  • Kim

    RTD is simply trying to comply to federal law, the American’s with Disabilities Act. that was enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008 and signed by President George W. Bush. Disability is defined by the ADA as “…a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” Therefore children are not considered a disability. The busses are required by this law to have a wheelchair seating area and there are those of us who need it. Plus, if they break the law, they are only going to keep getting in trouble for it. That being said, if you want a stroller/baggage area, talk to RTD and petition for that.

  • candicejenkins1

    I have read many of these comments. I’m a mother I have an infant and yes he was a choice but at the same time he didn’t choose to be born prematurely but he was, he didn’t choose to have health problems, but he does, so when I ride the rtd he can’t sit any where his doctor told me to keep him in his stroller and to keep it covered well. And now I’m told I can’t bring him on the bus in his stroller. Wow this is a rule that needs to be examined because being born prematurely is a disability not a choice. And those of you who are talking down to mother broaden your horizon think about it from more than just your shoes put yourself in that mothers shoes. No ones perfect and being a young mother doesn’t make you any less of a person.

  • Tim Reed

    HATS off to RTD!! Stick to your guns on this! Its sad however, it took a Lawsuit to get this rule enforced, but I so wish ALL transit systems would do this and enforce this rule!!

Comments are closed.