I'm always amazed when I see blind passengers master BART, sometimes with a seeing-eye dog, sometimes without. On the most part, I'd say passengers are pretty good about giving up their seats for the blind, as they should be. I've once talked to a blind passenger who informed me that there are great programs out there that trains the blind and the disabled to master public transit systems. I was quite impressed.
However, there are times when I see blind passengers who aren't so good yet at navigating within the stations or on the trains, and I can't help but wonder whether BART owns the responsibility to escort the blind when they need assistance? These blind passengers often go towards the down escalators when they want to go up, bump into the train when they are trying to enter, or worse, walk way too close to the tracks.
Fortunately, there are always some good people around who are willing to escort a blind passenger to the platform, into the right train, and to a safe seat. Some even go as far as forgoing his ow her own train just to assist the blind. I've witnessed that and it's comforting to see there are still decent people left in this world. I've assisted the blind around stations and on the platforms whenever I see one in need but I've never actually let my own train pass just so I can wait with him/her to see him/her through safely.
But what happens when there are no good samaritans around? What happens when a blind passenger seeks assistance from people who are in the mood for a practical joke? I've witnessed that once where a bunch of high school aged kids directed the blind to face a wall. Luckily, a bunch of us re-directed him to the line and scolded these idiotic kids.
Can these blind passengers look to BART for assistance? Will station agents actually escort the blind if requested? Or can they not leave their square ticket window? I've not yet seen a BART employee escort a blind passenger in need of assistance BUT that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.
Thanks to a reader who voiced his concerns for the blind BART passengers in an email. We've all seen blind passengers around BART and when one is in need, I know that most of us do jump to offer assistance, at least I'd like to believe that.