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.
Maybe there should be a way for them to call BART on the phone and let them know that they are on their way and need assistance?
Do You really expect BART station employees to walk the blind up to the train? They hardly move when I ask them for help with a broken ticket machine.
Helping disabled patrons when requested/necessary is a high priority for agents. I'd say each one does it at least once a week on average.
During Station Agent training, we spent a day in training learning to assist the blind and disabled. In fact we were blind folded and walked around a BART station and tried to find our way around.
As I an agent, I have walked blind passenger to their trains, Buses, given their dogs water, on hot days, I have used my cell phone to call their rides. I have run tickets in and out not only for the blind, but the disabled.
Just because, you do not see something, does not mean it does not occur. Not all station agents are assholes, although I know a few that are. I have seen many of my co-workers go out of their way for passengers, for not so much as a thank you. Yet, many of you feel the need to come to internet to bitch and complain. I would love to have a website where I can go and complain about you and want you do or do not do at your JOB!
BART takes helping the disable seriously and every agent I know, will assist them without being asked
Whoever wrote this...
Just because, you do not see something, does not mean it does not occur. I would love to have a website where I can go and complain about you and want you do or do not do at your JOB!
Please re-read my blog. I specifically said that just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. This entry is meant to ask questions, and you've answered them. The tone was never accusatory...we just wanted to know answers.
Hi, I was the one who wrote that comment. My comment was aimed at those, who say things like:
"Do You really expect BART station employees to walk the blind up to the train? They hardly move when I ask them for help with a broken ticket machine. " (As a matter of fact, I do expect them to get out of the booth and many of them do!)
My comment was not aim at you or the wonderful postings you write about and the food for thought you give. I am sorry for the misunderstanding.
Oh, I'm sorry for misunderstanding!! Please don't apologize. Just know that I don't ever mean to accuse anyone...I try to be as objective as possible and my posts are really limited to my own experiences on BART!
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