Letters to the Editor

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BUSES: Pierce Transit dropped the ball

Letter by Joseph (Peter) Bowman, Tacoma on Sep. 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm with 25 Comments »
September 8, 2011 1:18 pm

This year, Pierce Transit is not transporting people to the Puyallup Fair. Instead, they have contracted with a private company. The problem is that these private buses aren’t wheelchair accessible. In lieu of this, they tell the disabled to use Pierce Transit SHUTTLE. But it takes three weeks to register with SHUTTLE and in those three weeks the Fair will be over. I’m a paraplegic and am not currently registered with Shuttle because its a thousand times easier to take the bus, so what am I to do?

And why didn’t anybody except me think about this beforehand? Why didn’t the government do its job? Who dropped the ball?

There are lots of paraplegics who don’t use SHUTTLE. I’m not the only one.

Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. itwasntmethistime says:

    Call a cab. There are plenty that are wheel chair accessible. Oh wait, I get it now. You want the rest of us to spend tens of thousands of dollars so a select few don’t have to pony up $20 for a cab ride to the fair.

  2. tree_guy says:

    “Why didn’t the government do it’s job?’

    The governments job is to make sure you have an inexpensive and convenient way to get to the Puyallup Fair?

  3. surething says:

    Good Lord, are you serious? Get a cab.

  4. Dave98373 says:

    If someone is parapalegic and confined to a wheelchair then a regular cab is not going to help.

  5. igotdabombfool says:

    All cab companies have ADA cabs. Nice try Dave.

  6. A321196 says:

    If you’re near a bus line, you can take the regular Pierce Transit runs to the fair. The buses are wheelchair accessible. This is the manner in which many non disabled persons get around town. If you’re not currently registered as a user with Pierce Transit, how do you currently get around? There are Pierce Transit buses which will leave wheelchairs off near the fairgrounds. If you used the Pierce Transit shuttles from the parking lot at the South Hill Mall, you had to get there somehow. There have been many times that I have driven wheelchair bound friends and family to the fair and medical appointments and shopping, if they also had a fold up wheelchair in addition to the motorized wheelchair.

    With the voters not voting for additional sales tax monies (revenue), then it is logical Pierce Transit cannot operate their shuttles at a loss for a recreational activity.

  7. Wow, I can see a lot of people here haven’t entered the 21st century, let alone the 20th.

    Try spending 20 dollars when you have to survive in $660 dollars a month. Able bodied people have to spend 2 dollars to go to the Fair. So why should the disabled have to spend 20 dollars? Its not fair.

    Public transportation should be for the whole public. Not just those who can walk. Or are you also against accessible busing too?

    Third, the Government is required to do this. I don’t see why they haven’t been sued already.

    May be we should do away with Social Security while were at it? Maybe everybody should fend for themselves? Is that the kind of world you guys want to live in? Good luck if you do.

    Obviously none of you are disabled. If you were disabled you’d see things differently.

  8. Sroldguy says:

    I guess it is time to get a lawyer and sue Pierce Transit and the private company. I have a feeling you could probably get enough to buy your own van and driver!

    Actually a three week wait is rather ridiculous. Seems they could give you a temp pass right away to keep the lawyers out of the situation.

    Of course for the future there is always the plan ahead strategy.

  9. crusader says:

    Is anyone really surprised that the mentality that says health care is an inalienable right also believes a free ride to the local fair is too?

  10. surething says:

    “Try spending 20 dollars when you have to survive in $660 dollars a month. Able bodied people have to spend 2 dollars to go to the Fair. So why should the disabled have to spend 20 dollars? Its not fair.”

    My question would be “why are people living on $660 dollars a month going to the fair in the first place?

  11. alindasue says:

    Looking at many of your comments, I decided to do a little research. First, let’s clear up a few incorrect figures:

    The shuttle to the fair is $3 one way, $4 round trip – not $2.

    A STITA cab from Tacoma to Puyallup runs closer to $35 each direction (about $70 round-trip) – not $20.
    Yellow taxi’s fares work out about the same as STITA’s, but there was no mention on their site of ADA accessible cabs in their fleet.
    Para-Transit only makes Medicaid covered runs.

    Pierce Transit buses will be running, but will not be able to service the usual stops near the fairgrounds due to Puyallup’s traffic control measures during the fair.

    Mr. Bowman, the reason Pierce Transit’s fair express buses were discontinued is because a majority of voters voted against the tax increase needed to maintain the current levels of service (although the majority of us in Tacoma voted for it.) I didn’t agree with them, although many people did have a point in questioning why PT would create such special event runs for commercial events. (I feel the same way about Sound Transit’s sporting events runs.)

    What it comes down to is that it is up to the the fair’s board to arrange for an shuttle. It was they who failed to take into account ADA needs when hiring a charter bus service. I know of at least one other charter-able bus system in the area that does have ADA compatible buses if First Student does not.

    I recommend that you go ahead and put in your application for Shuttle service, even if you don’t generally use it. It may not be in time for this year’s fair, but it’s still good to be on record as eligible for Shuttle service when you need it. (My son’s ridden the Shuttle once in five years, but we keep his paperwork up to date just in case.) It’ll be easier next year.

  12. alindasue says:

    surething said, “My question would be “why are people living on $660 dollars a month going to the fair in the first place?”

    Why would anyone go to the fair? To have fun.

    With discount tickets available, it is possible for one person to have fun at the fair for under $20, not counting transportation. When transportation is between $4 and $12, the going to the fair is still a possibility. When $70 is needed just for a round-trip ride to the fair by ADA capable cab, it becomes no longer possible to go.

  13. tree_guy says:

    ” the reason Pierce Transit’s fair express buses were discontinued is because a majority of voters voted against the tax increase needed to maintain the current levels of service”

    I would call that a lie. The discontinuance was a result of Pierce Transit’s vindictiveness. They could easily have continued the Fair service by cutting back on the frequency of some of the less popular routes for the 17 day fair run.

  14. Pierce transit didn’t drop the ball because it’s not their responsiblity to get you to the fair. The fair is not something that you have to go to. If you absoutly have to go get up early to park in the fair parking.

  15. alindasue says:

    tree_guy said, “I would call that a lie. The discontinuance was a result of Pierce Transit’s vindictiveness. They could easily have continued the Fair service by cutting back on the frequency of some of the less popular routes for the 17 day fair run.”

    Aside from the fact that you can’t just shut a whole route mid schedule to divert buses for 17 days, all the “less popular” runs had already been cut prior to the proposition even coming up for a vote. However, since you don’t seem to pay attention to (or care about) the actual bus schedules and ridership figures, you probably didn’t know that.

  16. tree_guy says:

    alindasue wrote@

    “Aside from the fact that you can’t just shut a whole route mid schedule to divert buses for 17 days, all the “less popular” runs had already been cut prior to the proposition even coming up for a vote”

    Well, I would call that a lie as well. My office overlooks a popular bus stop. The number of buses arriving and departing all day long with no passengers is astonishing.

  17. There are many options that would have been better. We use a private company (Transpro in Tacoma) to do ADA transportation all the time. In fact when you ride PT Shuttle many times you end up on a Transpro vehicle since PT even uses them to do Shuttle trips for them. Those of us that are in chairs have the same rights as those that are not. The Fair is wide open for a suit for providing transportation for able body folks and not for us. They should have contracted with Transpro in addition to the charter used. Once again we are an afterthought. My buddy next door can get to The Fair for $4 and I should have to pay over $50 just because I cant walk? The WWF should pick up the phone and call Transpro and make things right!

  18. KARDNOS says:

    “crusader says:
    September 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm
    Is anyone really surprised that the mentality that says health care is an inalienable right also believes a free ride to the local fair is too?”

    Yeah….let’em suffer in silence, crusader

  19. KARDNOS says:

    tree_guy says:
    September 9, 2011 at 4:33 am
    alindasue wrote@

    “Aside from the fact that you can’t just shut a whole route mid schedule to divert buses for 17 days, all the “less popular” runs had already been cut prior to the proposition even coming up for a vote”

    Well, I would call that a lie as well. My office overlooks a popular bus stop. The number of buses arriving and departing all day long with no passengers is astonishing.

    Tree misses the point by a mile again. PUBLIC TRANSIT isn’t designed for the purpose of operating only for the enjoyment of a full bus/profitability. Much like the Post Office when founded….it was a service to the community

    I’m guessing that Tree’s next analogy will be an empty cop car or a fire engine not in use could be cut also.

  20. Thank you all for your comments and your concerns regarding transit service to the 2011 Puyallup Fair. We want to clear up some confusion about what the Puyallup Fair is offering in regards to ADA transit service. Because Pierce Transit is no longer able to provide “Fair Express” bus service, the Puyallup Fair has privately hired First Student Charter to provide bus service from four locations in Pierce County. Wheelchair accessible buses are also available through First Student and the Puyallup Fair Express bus service .Those in need of a wheelchair accessible bus should check in with Park and Ride lot attendant to request pick up (available at all four locations). For more information on the Puyallup Fair Express bus service, please visit our website at http://www.thefair.com/bus. Thank you and we hope you all enjoy the Puyallup Fair!

  21. That message from Puyallup Fair Transit is interesting. I contacted the Puyallup Fair and they said the busses weren’t accessible. They either changed their busses or somebody is giving out incorrect info.

  22. Hopefully some fair goers will report back this evening and let the general public know whether or not there is handicap service to and from Pierce Transit drop off points and at the PRICE of the service.

    Hopefully the Fair has considered disabled persons in their contract with First Student.

  23. itwasntmethistime says:

    Hey Hulk — Nuthin’s fair. It’s just that most of us don’t have anybody bending over backward trying to make every little thing fair for the rest of us. So it’s not fair it costs you more time or money to get to the fair? Well, it’s not fair I don’t get my government-issue $660 per month.

  24. alindasue says:

    Today I noticed that this is now on the fair’s website regarding the Fair Express:
    “ADA Accessible Buses
    First Student Charter will operate wheelchair accessible buses. Check in with Park and Ride lot attendant to request pick up.”

    Apparently someone got the message and decided to fix the situation. You know what they say, Mr. Bowman, about the squeaky wheel getting the grease. You, and probably a few others, “squeaked” and the right people heard you.

    Have fun at the fair!

  25. alindasue says:

    tree_guy said, “Well, I would call that a lie as well. My office overlooks a popular bus stop. The number of buses arriving and departing all day long with no passengers is astonishing.”

    tree_guy,
    That is twice now that you have accused me of lying. Just because your perception disagrees with what I have seen does not make me a liar.

    I have been on several of the Pierce Transit and Sound Transit buses and very rarely have the buses been even remotely close to “empty”. The only time I have entered an empty bus is when my stop was right at the beginning of a route. I suspect that if the buses are truly empty when people board them at the “popular” bus stop then that is probably the case.

    However, I have to wonder… if the bus stop is truly “popular”, as you say, then doesn’t that indicate that a fair number of people are boarding and departing those “empty” buses right in front of your eyes? How can people depart a bus that has no people on it? How can the bus be empty once people have boarded the bus?

    Or… maybe the buses aren’t empty after all. Try coming down from your office sometime and actually look inside a few of the buses, eh. It’s a good way to meet people.

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