Michael Harris, and his motorized wheelchair, got off the 5 train in Brooklyn last week only to find that the elevator to street level was out of service. First of all, big freakin’ surprise. Anyway, he went to the station agent to told him to get back on a train and go back three stops. From there, he should have been able to find another station with a working elevator.
Harris got so pissed that he instead called 911. Firefighters showed up to carry him and his wheelchair to street level. First, they strapped him to the stretcher, and carried him up. He got a little dramatic with his description saying that they strapped him to gurney that “they use to carry out dead bodies.” A bit much we think.
They then went down to lug up his 300 pound wheelchair.
Mixed feelings about this story. Did this guy take it a little too far?
After all, it is no secret that the subway system is not at all handicap accessible. Only 23 stops in Manhattan have ramps and elevators. The whole system only has about 50 of the 400+ stops that have been converted.
Here’s a stat for you: There were over 1,000 service outages per year reporter for the 23 elevators in Manhattan from 2002 to 2005. Holy crap! Did they ever work?
Apparently the problem is that the homeless and drunks use them as toilets. And they tend to get vandalized a lot.
Here’s a solution. Install MetroCard swipes at all the elevators so that only the elderly and handicap can use them. That’s fair, right? If for some reason you have a temporary need to use them, go to the token booth agent and get a temporary card to swipe. That way, the bums and drunks can’t get on the elevators. Maybe then they will last longer.
Otherwise, the handicap get a special fare, and all the busses are handicap accessible. So don’t complain too much. You might have a case sometimes, but don’t push your luck.
Nice, comfortable wheelchair gloves can be very important for those who use them.
2 thoughts on “Guy in wheelchair calls 911 to get out of subway”
There is absolutely no way a “gurney”, which is actually called a stretcher, would be used to carry someone up out of the subway. They would use a stairchair if it were an ambulance. Worst case scenario if it was an engine would be a backboard. A stretcher would never be brought into the subway.
Mike Harris should use Access-A-Ride… it’s reasons like this the city provides that service.
Access-a-Ride comes with its own set of problems, including but not limited to; can’t travel with more than one guest, including children; having to book in advance; often getting your requested trip denied; long waits outside after which the van may or may not show up; the longest most circuitous routes possible because the contracting company gets paid by the length of the trips they provide, not the number of them; if you get stranded and have to take an accessible car service home, you have to pay up front, which may be hundreds of dollars. I daresay Mike Harris probably takes the subway to avoid dealing with Access-a-Ride.
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