Lake Country Coun. Bill Scarrow wants more transit bus stops accessible to physically disabled bus passengers. Image Credit: Contributed

Wheelchair bus rider falls

Lake Country councillor says bus stop accessibility for physically disabled needs attention

A Lake Country councillor says he regrets not doing more to allow bus transit stops on Davidson Road and Okanagan Centre Road East from being accessible for the physically disabled.

Bill Scarrow recounted at last week’s council meeting an incident where a wheel-chair bound passenger, a regular bus rider, fell out of his chair while being transferred off the bus.

It took the efforts of several people to get the individual back in his chair, all the time not sure if any injuries he might had sustained were being made worse by trying to move him.

“This is someone who all we bus drivers know and is a very personable man, someone we as drivers make exceptions for at bus stops along Okanagan Centre Road East that are not wheelchair accessible,” said Scarrow, himself a transit bus driver.

Technically, the drivers are not allowed to let the man off, but they have done so over time to help him out.

In this instance, an incident occurred and the bus driver was not equipped to properly get the individual back in his chair.

“He (the driver) was kind of frozen in his footprints over what to do without causing further harm to this individual,” Scarrow said.

Scarrow was called to the scene and along with others nearby eventually all worked together to reinstate the man in his wheelchair.

“There was an initial response in this case to attach blame. But as I told the bus driver, it was nobody’s fault this happened. Not transit, not the district, not the driver,” Scarrow said, although he noted the bus driver involved was ultimately reprimanded by Kelowna Regional Transit for his actions.

“But I feel ashamed in retrospect that I haven’t been more effective in dealing with this issue of access to bus stops for disabled people,” Scarrow continued.

“And I want to start now working towards getting something done. I don’t think we can plan to make all transit stops along Okanagan Centre Road East accessible all at once, but I want to start working towards this now.”

Scarrow asked district staff to follow up with Kelowna Regional Transit about who is responsible for making bus stops accessible for the physically disabled and then draw up a plan on how to proceed.