Submitted by Fiona Watson on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 11:15

The plot thickens…

I received an email from the manager of Mobility Plus. In it, I was told that the difference between them and Toronto’s TTC Wheel Trans is that Wheel Trans buses do not have seat belts. I am not sure where Mobility Plus is getting their information, but someone isn’t doing their homework. Wheel-Trans vehicles have seat belts. Attendants who are “non-registered riders” are permitted to stand, without a seatbelt, just as they would on a conventional service vehicle (TTC bus).

Mobility Plus says that they are following the guidelines of the Highway Traffic Act regarding seat belt usage, but if they are bound by it, then why isn’t Wheel-Trans?

TTC buses do not have seatbelts for passengers, but do have tie-downs and seat belts for persons with mobility devices (wheelchairs and scooters). Few drivers offer to fasten a person’s mobility device. They are supposed to do so if asked. Since seat belts are provided for persons with disabilities on TTC buses (and subways) are they contravening the Highway Traffic Act by not using them?

Mobility Plus has offered two options: have the driver stop whenever needed (totally impractical since he or she would need to stop every few seconds), or have an OT evaluate me and make recommendations (yet another example of fixing the person with the disability instead of the inaccessible, unaccommodating transit system).

In closing, Mobility Plus talks about wanting to ensure the safety of everyone concerned. They have repeatedly said that my attendant standing endangers other people on the vehicle. It is interesting to note that Mobility Plus has acknowledged that customers who can provide a letter of medical exemption are not required to wear a seat belt when on the bus. Following their logic, doesn’t that mean that anyone on the bus with such a customer is at risk? What is the difference?

I’ve sent them my thoughts and have requested a face-to-face meeting. Stay tuned.

(P.S. I have noticed that someone has commented on my blog and asked whether or not I have someone beside me 24/7. I would like to respond and say no, I don't, but then again, when I am in a room it usually isn't moving and turning corners repeatedly.... but thanks for asking.)