Angry Riders Confront MBTA Officials
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 15, 2004
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS--A lot of former and current users Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority gathered to voice their anger Tuesday about the accessibility problems that continue to plague riders.
The Boston Herald put the number gathered at "nearly two dozen", while the Boston Globe estimated the number at "about 70" attending the public meeting at MBTA headquarters.
The meeting with MBTA officials was organized by Bill Henning, director of the Boston Center for Independent Living Inc.
Many of those attending talked of being late for work and appointments, and being refused service. Some told of dangers in taking their wheelchairs on MBTA buses and trains, such as six-inch gaps between trains and platforms.
"What really motivated people to speak is that they had some real difficulties," said Henning. "They were aghast that certain problems continued, that they still will get caught between a subway car and subway platforms."
MBTA General Manager Michael Mulhern appeared to sympathize with the crowd.
He said he would appoint a safety official to act as a liaison between the group and other MBTA officials. That person would ride buses and trains with passengers that have disabilities, to learn about the problems from their points of view.
"We have issues to address," Mulhern said. "These people have legitimate gripes. They're not going to take time out of their day to come all the way here if their concerns aren't legitimate."